Street performers hold ‘busk-in’ in Galway to protest against bylaws

Galway Buskers’ Community opposes law to prohibit amplification in city before 6pm

A group of wheelchair users from Holland enjoy a busker playing in the sunshine in Galway city centre. Photograph: Joe O’Shaughnessy

A group of wheelchair users from Holland enjoy a busker playing in the sunshine in Galway city centre. Photograph: Joe O’Shaughnessy

 

Galway-based street performers staged a two-hour “busk-in” on Sunday evening to protest over new bylaws passed by the city council.

A large crowd of spectators gathered in bright warm evening sunshine at Spanish Arch to watch performers who had been invited to “sing, come play, dance, juggle, clown, draw, poet, sculpt” and make “magic”.

The Galway Buskers’ Community, which hosted the protest and fundraising event, is opposed to the measures which may come into force later this summer after a vote by councillors several weeks ago.

The new bylaws will prohibit buskers from using amplification before 6pm in a designated city centre area.

Circle acts

“Circle acts” which require an audience to stop, watch or participate will also be prohibited before 6pm.

The Galway Buskers’ Community says it had attempted to work with city businesses on a voluntary code, and believes this was not given ample opportunity before the bylaws were voted in. The group represents 30 performers year-round, rising to 60 during the summer.

Fianna Fáil city councillor Peter Keane, who drafted the bylaw wording, said that city businesses paid €35 million annually in rates, and were concerned about loss of revenue due to noise issues.