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/