Quiet please, Bay buskers at play
POWER to the people who play music on Byron Bay streets – but not just yet, and maybe never.
Buskers wanting to go electric will have to wait for a review of the shire's Busking Policy, which may lead to a trial period occurringover summer, Byron Shire councillors decided yesterday.
Cr Simon Richardson saw his proposal for amplified busking being reinstated as an integral part of Byron's alternative cultural life watered down after lengthy discussion.
The postponement came despite pleas from established local musicians David Ades and Harsha, and from Bluesfest director Peter Noble.
Busking is ‘an honourable profession', Mr Noble said, and Byron's streets had been an incubator for acts such as Kim Churchill and Blue King Brown, who had gone on to great things.
Mr Ades said many young musicians relied on busking to make a living, especially during the height of the season.
He said police had told him that the streets had been their ‘safest for a while' when he and his band had been playing last year.
Amplification didn't mean that the music was loud, he said, just that every instrument could be heard.
Harsha said people came toByron to enjoy the vibrant grass roots culture ‘not to shop in the chain stores'.
Cr Richardson said his proposal had the backing of the community, of the town's young people, of the police and of business group Byron United.
However, Gerry Gleeson, who owns the Byron Motor Lodge Motel, said amplified music had a huge negative impact on his business.
“It's our worst nightmare,” he said.
Mr Gleeson suggested the musicians perform in the community centre. Amplified music on the streets just encouraged the image of Byron as a party town, he said, and self-regulation did not work.
The council has backed a trial of three special markets over the six months of summer at Byron Bay's Butler Street site.
Mayor Jan Barham called for some ‘real research and evidence' regarding the impact community markets had on businesses in the town.