South Bend Common Council passes busking regulations - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

South Bend Common Council passes busking regulations

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Before Monday's South Bend Common Council meeting there wasn't anything to regulate it. Now, street performers in Downtown South Bend will have to pay up before they perform.

The Common Council passed an ordinance Monday evening to require buskers, a more formal name for a street performer, buy a yearly permit for $20. That money will go into the general fund.

Supporters say yearly permit will help distinguish between performers and panhandlers.

"It would just add to the cultural well-being of the city," says Councilman Tim Scott.

Scott sponsored the bill. He says it's important to get the practice in the books.

"We definitely want to distinguish between panhandling and actual artist performance," Scott says. "There's no real, anything on the books about street performing, so this defines it. Sets the standard for street performing."

Busking can be anything from playing instruments, to singing Christmas carols, to giving speeches.

Under the bill, buskers can't perform within 20 feet of a street corner, marked crosswalk, building entrance, curb out, outdoor eating area, emergency exit. They also can't perform within 50 feet of another performer.

Buskers can't block the sidewalk or be aggressive.

They can't sell any merchandise, but they can accept tips.

Busking hours are Monday-Thursday, 8:00am to 9:00pm and Friday-Sunday 8:00am to 11:00pm.

Businesses downtown helped contribute to the new rules.

"Those business owners provided some feedback that helped strengthen the bill and we're enthusiastic about the vibrancy that all performance art will add to the streets of downtown," says Executive Director of Downtown South Bend, Aaron Perri.

No one spoke in opposition to the bill at Monday's meeting.

Ambassadors with DTSB will enforce busking rules and if they need some backup, police will get involved.

People without a permit face some hefty fines: $100 for the first offense, $250 for the second and $500 for the third.

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