Shop Street has always been well known for its busy and buzzing atmosphere and wide variety of buskers at each and every corner, but now Galway City Council will be addressing the need for a Code of Conduct for buskers in the coming weeks that may change the busking experience for everyone.
Mikey McCrory, of Mikey and the Scallywags, along with other street performers have called for a plague bearing a ‘Code of Conduct’ on Shop Street. This Code of Conduct will force performers to keep their amplifiers at a reasonable volume and will permit buskers to use a pitch for a maximum two hour period, staying at least fifty metres away from other performers. Additionally, the performers and audience must stay clear of doorways following complaints that the buskers are blocking some premises and hindering business.
A similar code has been put in place by the Dublin City Council in April 2015. Recent updates in August 2016 have banned backing tracks and the use of amplifiers in some parts of Temple Bar, and buskers on Grafton Street can only perform for one hour before moving.
The Dublin City Council Arts Officer, Ray Yeats, seemed pleased with the decision when interviewed by JOE.ie stating; “This voluntary code honours the unique contribution that buskers make to city life while asking them to respect their fellow citizens and adjoining businesses”.
Local councillors Niall McNelis and Peter Keane are currently working on drafting busking byelaws for the city. Cllr McNelis recognises that busking is “a part of our culture, part of the fabric of the city, but the problem is a small minority are too loud with the amplification”.
As Galway is the 2020 European Capital of Culture, McNelis knows that he has to be careful with these byelaws because “busking is such a key part of the city”.
“It has to be looked at in such a way that is good for the artists and good for the businesses,” he added.
McNelis emphasised that he is not trying to ban busking, he’s “trying to make it a level playing field for everyone and [they] are looking for a compromise to come up with a solution to get buskers and businesses to work together”.
The Busking Byelaws draft is expected to go out on public display this autumn in order to give everyone the chance to put in their submissions.
-By Amy McMahon