October 10, 2016

Busking Success for Winnipeg 2016

I will update this soon, but wanted to quickly say to everyone that the City of Winnipeg has indicated they will produce a communication plan by the end of 2016 on Busking in Winnipeg. This is, to my best understanding, following the Edmonton model of clearly communicating existing by-laws, via our city website, and promoting the diversity of the arts in the Peg.

Select qoutes from City Council Standing Policy Committee on Protection, Community Services & Parks- October 14th/2016:

Direction 1: Continue to develop Winnipeg’s unique artistic identity and diversity of expression.
Direction 6: Promote awareness of the richness of Winnipeg’s arts & culture within and outside Winnipeg.
Direction 8: Establish Winnipeg as a city of choice and desired destination for artists and creative professionals.

In short, I do believe this is an excellent outcome and win for buskers IN and travelling through Winnipeg. Happy Thanksgiving! #winnipegrocks

May 11, 2016

Busking Radio Silence Update, NO Busking Bylaw & Next Steps

My apologies for the radio silence the last two days. If you have been following my busker proposal this past week then here is the update. If not, in one sentence or less, I have had a fair amount of local media reaction to my proposal to Winnipeg City Council to implement guidelines for busking in Winnipeg; with the intent to have more freedom and more buskers performing in Winnipeg public spaces! #moreofagoodthing (Skip to the end of you just want the Winnipeg City Council Update)

GOAL: NO BUSKING BYLAW… FOLLOW THE EDMONTON BUSKING GUIDELINES…MORE BUSKERS IN THE PEG

So, after writing an open letter to the mayor/city councillors, I spent time explaining my proposal to multiple media outlets (CBC, CTV, Metro, Bell Media, etc.). Here is a short interview with Richard Cloutier (CJOB Radio Winnipeg) so you get the gist.

Youtube Link: https://youtu.be/O6s6fK5GlVE

CITY COUNCIL UPDATE: On May 9th, a few hours after the CJOB interview, I found myself patiently waiting at City Hall (Committee on Protection, Community Services and Parks) to state my case. Unfortunately, I didn’t book the entire morning off and ran out of time, due to another local issue running WAY longer than expected.  After excusing myself, I did leave behind the Edmonton Busking Guidelines and learnt later that City Council committee unanimously agreed to  review busking guidelines in Winnipeg. I did request to speak at a future meeting, and kinda promised I would bring my guitar next time! 🙂

My intent is to follow up with the committee in the next couple of weeks and ensure that they are considering all the angles/facts when it comes busking in Winnipeg. The ultimate desire is to make busking easier, more transparent, and the most street performing friendly city in Canada.

April 27, 2016

Busking By-Law Open Letter to Winnipeg Mayor & City Council

Recent Press: 

May 6th Winnipeg Sun Article http://www.winnipegsun.com/2016/05/05/winnipeg-musician-wants-busking-bylaw
May 7th Metro News Article http://www.metronews.ca/news/winnipeg/2016/05/07/winnipeg-musician-wants-bylaw-for-buskers-.html?cq_ck=1462630484718
May 8th Global News http://globalnews.ca/news/2688190/winnipeg-musician-wants-better-rules-for-buskers/ & Winnipeg Free Press http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/local/busker-wants-to-play-by-rules-378591086.html

Original Open Letter Below

————————————————————–

Dear Mr. Bowman,

I appreciate in advance you taking a moment to read and comment.

We have a problem in Winnipeg that is easily solvable for our fine music & art friendly city.

No Busking in WinnipegProblem:  We do not have a busking bylaw. Instead, police warn artists they are soliciting or hand out fines and lump in buskers with panhandlers. I blogged about this last year, after hearing about a local busker being fined. I know handing out fines isn’t the norm. Yet, if a busker/street performer were to have  a concrete by-law or defined set of rules in place, they would know how to play within the fence posts.

Fire Works Winnipeg PermitIt is beyond my comprehension that Winnipeg , who has and continues to create some of the world’s best musicians, in the absence of a bylaw, will not at least allow an artist (musician, juggler, mime, etc.) to get a permit or business license to share their passion & talent in public places. It is relatively easy to get a Winnipeg business license to give body rubs or a (no cost) permit to discharge fireworks. Does this make sense to you, that we are not so Friendly Manitoba when it comes to street performers & buskers Mr. Mayor? 

We all want a vibrant city and are constantly looking to improve downtown. Musicians and performing artists, like in 1000’s of cities worldwide, can add a positive, fun, cultured atmosphere, well beyond the buskers who have to apply for Portage Alive Busking (Jun-Sep) & the limited buskers & performers permitted at the Forks (annual busking license via competition).

Solution: I have provided links below to Kenora &  Edmonton’s Busking Bylaws (although Edmonton doesn’t technically have a bylaw). I would propose Winnipeg City Council copy either of their progressive approaches to providing direction to street performers in their city. I’m sure if you call either Mayor for permission to copy they would give you two thumbs up!

Kenora Busking Bylaw ~http://listview.kenora.ca/Files/ByLaws%5C2015/066-2015%20Busking.pdf 

Edmonton Busking Bylaw ~ http://www.responsiblehospitalityedmonton.ca/street-entertainment-busking/  In Edmonton you do not need a permit to busk/street perform. They have simply put together rules, publically displayed on their website, and have listed  all the relevant bylaws that apply.  This could be a very quick way for Winnipeg City Council to approve busking & street performing in Winnipeg while still protecting citizens.

In conclusion, we elected you for a reason Mr. Mayor; agility, transparency and accessibility! I do look forward to hearing from you Mr. Brian Bowman & any or all of City Council.

As with any open letter, this one is no different. I invite any and all to respond, no matter your opinion. I would especially ask the music/arts/performing community to weigh in too.

Best Regards,

Raito

Ref: City of Winnipeg Permits http://www.winnipeg.ca/Services/permits/

September 7, 2015

Dark Matter Over Mind- Song In Progress

The long weekend has been productive. Ed Legal & I worked out a little more creative magic. I think it’s got legs! Hope you enjoy.

 

August 29, 2015

Just Keep Creating

Sooooo….Love the movie Finding Nemo… ‘just keep swimming’, ‘just keep swimming’!!!! This popped into my head today, after a 2-hour long songwriting session, with the infamous lyricist/vocalist Ed Legal.

Here are three video highlights. Please only watch if you want to see raw creativity at inception! This is the raw beginning of the creative process …

Please don’t watch if you are expecting Top 40…

Pull The Pin happened last  10 minutes of session:

Mason Jar  (was a song I wrote called Slept In Days… Ed has come up with something I never could have imagined).

Turn  (a song the Ed magically had lyrics for :))

Was a productive 2 hours 🙂

Cheers,

Raito

June 28, 2015

Not The Only One

Was able to get together last week for a 2nd writing session with Ed, from The Midnight Move. After a long hiatus, feels pretty amazing to get back to writing. I’ve always enjoyed just being the rhythm guitarist at times, and especially finding the right groove for a song. Having said that, I feel some wicked back up vocals coming up soon. (Save that for later 🙂

Ed has written some wicked lyrics here. Hope you enjoy & stay tuned…

April 14, 2015

Busking is Not Panhandling

eric-pyleIn some cities in Canada, busking is artfully encouraged and not considered panhandling. In some cities, for example, in parks, near transit, the music and performances can be enjoyed by many, and clearly defined by the city posting their BUSKING rules.   In Toronto, buskers can fill out a permit application. In Calgary they are a little more anal, but at least they have a Busker By-Law.

In Winnipeg last week, we opted to hand out 3 tickets to local busker Eric Pyle, for singing near the arena during a Jets game. It flies in the face of common sense.  Kinda of like the fact we have NO formal busking policy, other than we consider it panhandling.

Maybe its because I am a PT musician. Maybe I don’t know the Winnipeg Police Cadets side of the story (please do tell).  Maybe it is because Eric isn’t exactly a clean cut, non-smoking kinda guy.

OR

MAYBE, just MAYBE busking is freaking not panhandling. The words singing, playing guitar, public performance nor the word busking or busker are anywhere to be found in the City of Winnipeg Panhandling by-law.

Pure personal opinion, but I would love to see Winnipeg have a thriving downtown, and be a progressive enough city to create the most liberal busking rules in Canada. Create a busking by-law that encourages public performance, and brings music, magic, and awe inspiring art to our citizens. But hey… thats just me!

Nuff said. Although, I would love to hear an opposing view point. That always makes my day 🙂

#supportlocalmusic