Amplified busking on agenda

Buskers around Byron Bay could be celebrating today (September 9) if a motion by Councillor Simon Richardson to reinstate late-night amplified busking is supported.

The motion will be put to today’s meeting of the Byron Shire Council.

Busker Juan Salvador has been entertaining crowds in Byron Bay with his Santana-style amplified music for 18 years and was recently devastated to find that council had ruled to cease amplified acts after 10.30pm.

“Apparently there was a note in one of the papers about it but nobody notified us or asked us how we felt about it,” Mr Salvador said.

Mr Salvador said he was put out of a job and had to play illegally at times to make money, because he is so strongly opposed to going on the dole.

“I appreciate what Councillor Richardson is doing because now the people who provide entertainment on the street will get some recognition,” he said.

“In the past there was no voice for buskers and now, ironically, we’re talking about creating a voice so we can self-regulate the streets.”

The Byron Bay Community Centre manager, Paul Spooner, supports amplified busking and is working with Mr Salvador and Cr Richardson to create a noticeboard ‘hub’ at the centre so buskers can chalk in what they’ll be playing, where and when.

Mr Spooner said he was really impressed with Cr Richardson putting the amplified busking motion to council.

“It shows that a councillor is listening and it means that buskers won’t be denied the opportunity to provide great entertainment and make a livelihood for themselves,” he said.

Cr Richardson said he was happy to act on behalf of the buskers when he heard their story.

 “I think there was an over-reaction – the police requested 10.30pm cut-off to move buskers to the parks and council staff recommended complete banning,” Cr Richardson said.

“I am basically revisiting it now we’ve had a chance to consider what the repercussions are and in this particular case, as well as people’s livelihoods, the repercussions are a stripping back of culture and vibrancy and a point of difference from other places around the area.”

In addition to reinstating the allowance for amplified busking, Cr Richardson is moving to ensure any amplified busking after 10.30pm only occurs in the Apex Park and Railway Park busking zones.

“The thing about this new motion is that it satisfies police concerns by moving amplified busking into the park, which means artists can ply their trade and the community and visitors can enjoy the entertainment,” Cr Richardson said.

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