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TAKING IT TO THE STREETS: Does Newcastle need a premium busking tier?

I read in the paper a little while ago that Melbourne is introducing a premium busking permit.

This isn’t just some piece of paper that you line up for and are guaranteed to receive either so for those playing at home I’m going to break it down for you.

A premium busking permit – according to the city of Melbourne website, allows professional buskers to perform in designated locations including Bourke Street Mall.

For anyone who has ever been to Melbourne, especially the CBD, it’s pretty easy to tell that the mall is a prime busking location. I mean if you scour the internet long enough, you will most likely find videos of prominent artists cutting their teeth on the streets.

Obviously, such permits are pretty coveted and like I said, you just can’t walk in and be guaranteed such a permit. First of all, you have to qualify as a professional busker as in someone whose main source of income is generated from busking.

They must also have a website, a Youtube account, and be able to play for 30 minutes without repeating a song. You also have to audition. But see the real question is, does Newcastle need these kinds of permits?

Unfortunately for us, Newcastle isn’t really the biggest busking town although personally I really think it should be.

Our city is a great one and why not fill it with as much live music as possible! Although with this in mind, there is a vast difference between a strung out extra happy go lucky broken tambourine player and a legitimate busker who is a) providing entertainment and b) making money.

Local musician and all-round good guy Byren can be spotted busking in Hunter Street Mall on many occasions. If you haven’t heard his stuff yet, do yourself a favour and check it out immediately. But I for one would love to see many more artists like Byren, scattered around the city.

So what do you think? Would these premium permits work in Newcastle? Do they belong in Newcastle? What busker have you noticed about town who does a cracking job?

Written by Laura Kebby

I write words about talented people doing talented things, and translate chatter by putting pen to paper.

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  1. Professional buskers “do their thang” for money. People bring money. No people, no money. Newcastle CBD is a dead zone due largely to all the noisey construction projects. Until these projects are completed and the city is able to recover from all these disturbances, then no professional buskers, waving certification as proof of their vaste latents, will grace an empty street scape. People attract buskers, not the other way round. A big NO to permits from me.

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