The fun police spoiling Byron

BYRON Bay’s fun police have struck again, and this time they have buskers in their sights.

In response to complaints about buskers being too loud, Byron Shire Council management is now proposing a ban on amplified music across Byron Bay’s CBD.

It follows a trial period that that allowed battery- powered amplification and call for public comment on the council’s draft busking policy.

Two submissions were received on the policy, both against amplification, and as a result staff have recommended it be banned.

In a report to go to next week’s council meeting, staff say busking is causing annoyance to some business operators and staff, disturbing trade and reducing access to certain businesses.

Amplification is also creating “unpleasant sounds” when two sound sources collide.

Gerry Gleeson, who owns a motel near the Byron Bay CBD, said he and his guests were regularly disturbed by buskers using amplified music.

He said he was not opposed to busking, just the amplification.

With a single busker, there’s no problem, but once you allow amplification, one person turns into a full band; you’ve got the guitars, the vocals the set of drums.

“They’re not buskers, they’re live bands.”

Mr Gleeson is backed by at least one restaurant owner, who has complained of buskers disturbing their diners.

But Councillor Simon Richardson, who was once a busker himself, said he would be fighting the ban.

Buskers were an important part of the cultural fabric of the Byron shire and thousands of people enjoyed listening to them each year, he said.

“I don’t think two people should have the right to change what has been a part of our culture for more than 20 years.”

He said buskers had already been pushed to the fringes.

“I don’t want to see the music die.” he said.

Members of the arts community, including well-known musician Dave Ades and Bluesfest director Peter Noble have also previously supported amplification for buskers.


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