Frustration at buskers ‘who play three songs over and over’

Fury over Dublin City Council’s latest curbs on backing tracks used by buskers in city

Buskers in Dublin will no longer be allowed to use backing tracks when they play on the capital’s streets, following a vote by councillors. File photograph: Oli Scarff/AFP/Getty Images

Buskers in Dublin will no longer be allowed to use backing tracks when they play on the capital’s streets, following a vote by councillors. File photograph: Oli Scarff/AFP/Getty Images

 

Bogdan Rusin, a classical violinist who regularly performs by the Molly Malone Statue on Dublin’s Suffolk Street, is enraged by Dublin City Council’s latest curbs on buskers in the city, which will see backing tracks banned from August 1st.

Rusin, who is frequently hired for private concerts, has long used a light piano backing track, but complains the ban on amps will particularly cut the numbers of buskers playing in Temple Bar, the city’s busiest tourist district.

Expressing frustration with buskers “who play the same three songs over and over”, Rusin said the local authority had liberally given out permits when it first introduced curbs on buskers, but had failed to audition performers.

Meanwhile, performers Julian and Vasile, who play violin and pan flute on Grafton Street, said poor-quality performers should be weeded out, rather than having a ban on backing tracks: “Soon I’ll be jobless and after that homeless,” said Vasile.

‘Fresh songs’

The duo can play “fresh songs” for an hour, Julian said, but now they would be replaced by buskers who use acoustic guitars and sing the same four or five songs as everyone else.

Robbie Campbell of the Temple Bar Tourist Office, which faces out onto Market Square in Temple Bar, said he had no problem telling buskers to turn their music down, but loud music had “badly affected business” in the past when staff could not be heard by tourists.

Saying that he was “fully for musicians”, Campbell said there has to be some control over volume.

Currently, rules on noise are poorly enforced, he said. Many performers simply arrive in the evening when they know council inspectors have finished work.

Charlie Keegan of Claddagh Records backed “the end of amplifiers”. Loud volume does not equal quality, he said, complaining in particular of buskers’ use of bagpipes, which often sound like “more of a war pipe”.

Under the new laws, dance and circus performers will be confined to the top of Grafton Street on the Stephen’s Green end - a move welcomed by River Island staff who said the crowds were often bad for business and the cause of customer complaints.