Decatur offers more details on plan to issue permits to buskersThe Boy Jones (left) and The Locksmyth perform during the Decatur Arts Festival. File photo: Jonathan Phillips
The Decatur City Commission on Monday voted to approve a program that would issue permits to street musicians, known as buskers, who want to perform in the city.
Angie Macon with the Decatur Arts Alliance said there is no application fee required to obtain a permit. Macon and Downtown Development Manager Catherine Lee discussed the new program at the March 5 City Commission meeting.
“Currently street performers are not encouraged on public property and we’d like to encourage that,” Lee said. “Buskers will enhance the vibrancy of Decatur’s public spaces.”
Applicants will obtain a photo ID badge that will need to be renewed each month.
Under the new program, busking will not be allowed at ticketed and fenced events in the city. Legally designated performance areas are the lawn of the old courthouse, the MARTA plaza downtown, the West Ponce de Leon Avenue commercial district – excluding the fronts of residential buildings – and Harmony Park.
The new rules will also specify that buskers can collect tips but can’t directly solicit them. They also have to be a minimum of 20 feet away from another performer and 10 feet away from building entrances and exits. They will be required to keep their performance space clear of trash and can’t block sidewalks. They will also have to adhere to the city’s noise ordinance. No amplifiers will be allowed.
Lee said she and Macon have also met with the Police Department and business owners about the idea. The Police Department will notify the Arts Alliance if the performers aren’t adhering to the guidelines. There already are a number of folks interested, Lee said. There is currently no limit to the number of permits the city will issue, but that could change if the demand becomes overwhelming, she said.
“Right now, we’re optimistic it will to some extent self regulate,” she said.
Applications should be delivered in person to the Decatur Arts Alliance headquarters at 113 Clairemont Ave.
Macon provided this copy of the application: