Regulations for Asheville street performers back up for debate


It’s officially summertime again, and you know what that means: it’s time once again to talk about regulating street performers in downtown Asheville.

Asheville City Councils’ public safety committee will hold a forum at 3 p.m. on Wednesday in the banquet hall of the US Cellular Center. A group of street performers plans to meet at the US Cellular Center about 2:30 p.m. that same day to discuss their stance.

City officials and street performers have been talking on and off about possible regulations since 2014. The New York Times picked up on the debate last year, and street performers complained that police were forcing them to move.

Nothing was ever settled, despite all the talk and a set of proposals. The city suggested a pilot program be put into place, one that would require street performers to only perform in a designated area for a designated period of time. The suggested regulations also required specific distances between designated performance areas.

Updated proposed regulations would have street performers register with the city and would create “incentive” areas for performers, areas where street performers could sell their wares, such as CDs. Sales would not be allowed in other performance areas designated as “high-impact areas.” Also, street performers would be required to follow a schedule in high-impact performance areas.

Abby the Spoon Lady, perhaps Asheville’s best known busker, told me on Monday that she was opposed to the updated regulations. She cited a number of specifics. Here are a few examples:

-The proposed regulations would allow street performances from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., but Abby says the city should allow street performers to go until 11 p.m., which matches the city noise regulations.

-Requiring street performers to register and follow a schedule isn’t necessary, because local buskers already communicate well and have a system for working together, Abby says.

-The distance rule between performers would unnecessarily hurt “human statue” performers, who like to be near musicians who are performing.

-The city should accommodate street performers by expanding city sidewalks in high-impact areas, Abby says. “They do that for other businesses.”





Tim Peck June 23, 2016 - 8:16 am

Progressive credo: If it Moves, Tax it. If it Keeps Moving, Regulate it. And if it Stops Moving, Subsidize it.

chris June 23, 2016 - 9:33 am

Dipsh*t credo: Am I getting paid? If so, f*ck it, I’ll say anything.

David June 22, 2016 - 3:42 pm

“other businesses” pay taxes, however, with that said I do like the street performers.

Matt June 20, 2016 - 8:20 pm

Not that this issue isn’t important, but I’m waiting for a post about Apodaca’s succeeding crusade to redistrict Asheville and unseat three city council members….seems like a big deal.

Tim Peck June 23, 2016 - 8:25 am

Yes. District elections for city council is good news and deserves a separate post.

Post Comment