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Sunday 11 December 2016

Buskers may boycott new permits in row over amps

Buskers are campaigning against the new regulations (Stock picture)
Buskers are campaigning against the new regulations (Stock picture)

The Dublin City Buskers (DCB) group is launching a campaign to overturn a Dublin City Council decision to ban musical instrument amplification in Temple Bar.

Its members have suggested they'll boycott the permit system for buskers, introduced with the cooperation of the organisation by the council last year, if councillors refuse to rescind the ban.

The group, which represents around 400 buskers, was set up when the council indicated it would regulate street performance in 2014. It held its AGM on Tuesday.

It came as the council voted to ban amplification in parts of Temple Bar, including Essex Street.

A late Green Party amendment to the motion added Temple Bar Square to the list of banned areas for amplification. The ban has been scheduled to come into force in August.

The council further voted to ban the use of backing tracks by street performers across the city - a move which is also being campaigned against by DCB.

Complaints

Outgoing chairman of the performer's group, Andy Kavanagh, said the decision to ban amps in Temple Bar would inevitably lead to a cross city ban.

"After six months they will look at it and there won't be any complaints. Of course there won't be any complaints because there won't be anyone there.

"People will have to move to Grafton Street. Then there'll be three times as many complaints there.

"Businesses will see those in Temple Bar and say if we complain we'll get a ban too," he said.

He said that the group had been cooperating with the council and had been making progress before this "slap in the face".

Mr Kavanagh accused the council of not taking the work buskers do for a living seriously and said if 400 factory workers were deprived of a livelihood, there would be uproar.

Among initiatives planned is a silent protest at some place in the city. Councillors were accused of ignorance of music and advances in technology.

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