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City starting busking pilot program

Monday, November 20, 2017 by Chad Swiatecki

The city appears to have made an important step in a years-long effort to legalize busking by musicians in public places. A partnership with Trammell Crow Co. developers will fund the ATX Busking Pilot Program and allow for street performances at designated points on the Green Water Development property. A $150,000 payment will support guaranteed pay for musicians from March 2018 to 2021, and the city’s Music and Entertainment Division hopes through the program to develop best practices that can be used to expand the program to other areas of the city. The performances will be scheduled and curated through the music office, rather than open to all hopeful street performers. Busking, or the public performance of unamplified music in a public space, is illegal in Austin because the city’s legal department interprets the practice to conflict with peddling and panhandling ordinances. Music proponents and several members of the city’s Music Commission have tried multiple times in recent years to craft a law that will allow busking, which is seen as a valuable tourism and cultural attraction in major cities like London, New York, Seattle and San Francisco.

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