Buskers fear bylaws will end entertainment in Galway city centre

Two year old Libe Munie Carraso, from Spain who was on holiday in Galway with her family, dancing to the music of buskers on Shop Street.

Buskers and street performers fear draft proposals to introduce permits for busking could bring the curtain down on Galway’s long and proud tradition of street entertainment.

Musicians and entertainers, who work on city centre streets, have also voiced alarm about proposed restrictions on the sale of items such as CDs will have on their livelihoods.

The concerns were raised at a meeting at the Galway 2020 hub in the Cornstore on Tuesday, which was organised by Galway City Community Network (GCCN).

As many as 60 buskers, street performers and people who described themselves as their audience, attended the meeting.

The group has now vowed to meet again at a workshop to formulate an official submission to the draft bylaws, which are due to go out on public display in the coming weeks.

Under the proposed bylaws, which are still at an early draft stage, every performer will have to apply annually for a street performance permit, which faces outright opposition.

“It is fair to say that there was consensus at the meeting against a permit system. Nobody in the room spoke in favour of it. There were buskers and performers who have experienced the permit system in other cities and what they said was that a permit system tends to kill the practice of busking. They said that busking tends to die out in those cities,” said Ms Irwin.

The draft by-laws also propose restrictions on the size of amps, and the complete prohibition of drum kits, along the ‘protected streetscape’ which is defined as Quay Street, High Street, Mainguard Street, Shop Street, William Street and Williamsgate Street.

Ms Irwin said many of those who attended Tuesday’s meeting said they had no problem with restrictions on noise levels but curtailing the size of amplifiers was not the correct way to achieve it.

There was a “mixed response”, she said, to the proposal in the draft bylaw that states that, “After one hour, the performer will have to relocate to a different place not within 35 metres of the previous place and not return until the following day.”
For the rest of this story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. Buy a digital edition of this week’s paper here, or download the app for Android or iPhone.