Buskers Challenged to Unify in Ottawa

Speak with one voice or all bets are off for influencing decisions in Ottawa warns city Councillor Mathieu Fleury.

Well right now there seems to be one voice and it is that of performer Paul Perreault, Paul Perreaultwho has challenged the bylaw by using voice amplification in his acrobatics show in over 20 performances in recent weeks after he lost his voice last year. To him the whole concept of buskers being one thing with one point of view is incorrect when really there are three types of buskers.  Ask him on his Facebook page what the three types are.

The main bone of contention for Councillor Mathieu Fleury, Paul Perreault merchants, buskers and property owners is the prime real estate in the ByWard Market  section of Ottawa. The issues are space, fees and noise. Paul Perreault has a problem with the limited space of only 12 spots allowed in the bylaws for ByWard Market. He has a point. If you zoom into the 360 degree camera view on the ByWard Market link, and move about the area it is evident that possibly more than 12 areas suitable for performance in the streets around the market easily exist.

Another ByWard Market bylaw provision has to do with the fees and amplification requirements there. Paul Perreault may be able to pay the fee but he needs amplification to perform. When you look at the ByWard Market camera views and move around you will see that room is tight and limited amplification would probably suit this area well. I noticed however a few spots that looked great for amplification. York and Byward was one intersection where it would work.

They want a lot of money for a performer to busk everyday. $10.45-$200 per day plus the general $45 per year licence.The reason seems to be to create a financial threshold through which you must busk, in order to perform there. This means from the merchant point of view that you will get performers that are appreciated enough by shoppers to go there and spend some money. The high fees also allow the city to bring in more money to spend on what they want. City governments usually like that option.

If the Street performers are expected to speak with one voice in addressing space, noise and fees it should be expected that the City Government should be required to justify its position with one voice. The current bylaws raise serious questions for the use of funds by generated by fees on buskers by Councillor Mathieu Fleury and the City.

What are the fees actually designed to accomplish? Do they help the neighborhood in any way? Do the merchants, business owners and performers have a voice in where the money goes? Does the fee structure allow developing talent  a space to grow in a more mainstream environment? Could the fees be used to create a plan for performance space based on pedestrian safety, noise rules based on actual noise level optimization using db measuring instruments?  Can fees be based on aiding excellence without limiting free speech and originality?  Should there be free spaces in Ottawa to allow new buskers a place to earn enough to by a licence?

The bylaw will be up for debate in June.

To Amp or Not To Amp

That is the question for cities all around the world as street performing and regulating street culture finds its way on the government issues list. Even as the public’s view of street performing has been evolving from public nuisance to public asset the excessive noise in areas of heavy busking continues to draw criticism. Amplification is the biggest target and has been banned only with a great deal of protest from performers and also some merchants and community groups.

Stephanie Pilon Stephanie Pilon video of an acoustic performer in Byward Market Ottawa Canada

In Ottawa, the Ottawa Citizen reports that the performers in the prime performance area of Byward Market are themselves divided on the point of amplification. Understandably they break down along highly predictable lines with non-amplified performers having no problem with the no amplification law and those who need amplification being understandably upset.

Sarel Alafi Sarel Alafi Street acrobats and dancers such as the troupe pictured in this video also performing at ByWard Market will be totally out of business if the anti amplification law is enforced. Do you think that the large crowd enjoying this performance are being bothered because of the amplification?

A lot of times the problem is possibly a matter of musical taste and not the actual volume of the performance. as with this amazing guitarist  featured in this video by bigsugar999 bigsugar999 If you love loud virtuoso guitar playing while you shop or dine however if you are looking to get a little peace and relaxation or are the merchant who wants to clearly hear the customer talking in the store where this musician is playing, it could be a problem.

The solution in many places cities like Copenhagen Denmark, York UK and Raleigh North Carolina among others is to find places where amplification is appropriate desired and workable. We hope Ottawa will find the compromise it needs to advance in street culture regulation.

Audio meters needed in Camden

WHAT WILL MARTIN DO? Street Performance Struggle; Camden, London, UK

Martin is an endangered species in Camden these days because he and a bunch of other buskers are simply making too much noise.  I want you to listen to this performance which is as good as anything of its kind as you will see and hear on any stage or experience through any medium. The only problem with this video is that it is too short and only a small portion of the song Martin is playing.

 GiveMondays GiveMondays shot this video and gave Martin a wonderful gift. Click this to see their YouTube channel

Will Martins presence on Camden end as suddenly as this video? Well if these folks have their way and if no one has a better plan for Camden street culture, then Martin is gone and so will be an undeniably, life enhancing feature of life in Camden. Why must he leave, you ask? Street I Am asks, why not give him a place on the street where people could gather around?

It is because, (from left to right), Chief Inspector of Operations Penny Mills, Councillor Chris Naylor, Camden Town resident Judith Clute, Cllr Abdul Hai, Cllr Maryam Eslamdoust and Lazzaro Pietragnoli, think things would be better that way.You see they say Martin’s music uses amplification and they say some people around the area are complaining that this sort of thing goes on into the night, beyond all hope of reasonable tranquility and proper sleep.Their duty and solution are suddenly clear to them. The only way to ensure this supposedly highly prized form of tranquility they aspire to, is to proclaim NO AMPLIFICATION EVER! is the best for all concerned. And then make it, THE LAW!

This next video therefore should be seen as an example of the kind of busking that would be allowed under their proposed framework. Peter Lee Peter Lee

Also very pleasant to experience. Why not both at the right time in the right proportions.

If Camden is not careful they will be facing some of the same opposition that is going on in Ottawa Canada SEE OUR  ARTICLE, where chess champion and busker Daryl Bertrand would rather fight a similar law than go away quietly and accept the leniency of the judge who recently waved his $260 fine..He is presently preparing a case to be heard before the Ontario Superior Court.

Both Ottawa and Camden need to take it down a notch and do it more like they do down south in the USA. That is where Glen Orange, a visionary busker of Charleston North Carolina and a reasoned and relentless advocate for street culture, helped to create a law for Street Culture that serves the community interest.

Street Performers Hitting the Streets of Charleston

Or the Great resolution of a similar situation in Somerville

Somerville Says Yes to 1st Amendment where the serious concerns of Alderman-At-Large John Connolly were successfully addressed, He was reported to have said, “If the wind is blowing from the north or northwest, it comes right down the [Davis Square] busway, the music and the voice will sound like it’s in my backyard. Naturally one of the first things my neighbors will do is call me, and say, we love music, but when you can’t turn the volume down it’s a problem. In other words if someone complains of the noise of a performer and they are amplified then they will be subject to a fine. However if no one complains then there may be no fine.

Both resolutions involved similar concerns as exist in Camden.
There is no question that music and amplification can be a mess in the wrong place at the wrong time. In Camden as in other areas like it, a certain amplification at 10 or 11pm, may be desired in one spot but a nuisance one or two blocks away.
We await the developments in Camden, which as you know, is one of the more educated parts of the world.
By the way; They invented meters for these audio things you know? Get on it. We are sure you know somebody who has one.

Repressive #Busking Law in #Ottawa

Heavy handed law jeopardizes Ottawa’s cultural freedom.

Can you imagine being charged as much as $200 per day to perform for money on the streets. Apparently Ottawa designed a law to keep street talent away. But chess champion and busker Daryl Bertrand would rather fight this law than go away quietly and accept the leniency of the judge who recently waved his $260 fine..He is presently preparing a case to be heard before the Ontario Superior Court.

The law is having the worst effect on Acrobats and dancers because of another irritating feature which outlaws amplification of any kind. Acrobats jugglers, magicians need to shout in order to keep the crowd they need to earn the kind of money they need to live and pay the steep present permit fee. Dancers? Forget about it!

During a chess match in the market place between Daryl Bertrand and a ten year old boy, Metro New Canada reports; As 40 to 50 onlookers gathered around his match against a 10-year-old boy, Bertrand says three police officers and a market manager broke up the game to ticket him for “providing free entertainment.”

“The spectators started speaking up,” said Bertrand, who is a chess master candidate – one step below a national master. “They said everyone here disagrees with you, you’re killing the culture of Ottawa in the market.”


Canada’s got talent finalist busks in Ottawa

Canada’s got talent finalist busks in Ottawa

Captured on a cell phone for your listening pleasure
He also has competed for Canada at busking festivals in Berlin and UK CHECK IT OUT



February 15, 2013    Canada

Re-post from http://paper-bug.tumblr.com/

Hand colouring these guys and cutting them out took so long! Man! Going to find an easier way to make tons of multiples that are also coloured. But fruit flies fucking, and it was just in time for valentines too. Hurray! This is on a construction wall at Besserer and Cumberland.

I also found out I have been giving out the wrong address like a butthead  for my previous wheatpaste; it is on an abandoned building at MURRAY and cumberland, not St. Patrick. Silly me.

I tried to wheatpaste the new….