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The busk stops here: open-air music returns to Jasper

by Craig Gilbert | publisher@fitzhugh.ca

Expect to see Councillor Rico Damota with a busking licence this summer out there belting out top-shelf headlines.

We jest, but Damota was in fact on point with the puns as he and his colleagues finally gave Habitat for the Arts their blessing to proceed with another slightly different approach to a street busking program for the summer.

“I wasn’t sure whether to go with passing the busk or the busk stops here,” he said as council accepted a model that would emulate Banff’s system, which forgoes a pre-screening or audition process as Jasper employed in 2017, relying on bylaw officers to deal with complaints and deviations from what was promised on the permit.

Jasper peace officer Neil Jones said earlier this month he would have no problem with it. He said there were no noise or content complaints last year, just a small number of out-of-town buskers who weren’t aware a permit was required.

Buskers once licensed will be able to play between noon and 8 p.m. in one of eight approved sites. That’s a departure from Banff, where there are “no busking” zones but open air performance is allowed everywhere else. Not all eight were utilized last year, but they will all remain available for 2018.

They will play a maximum of 90 minutes in one place, use no amplification and not interfere with one another or the public. They won’t be able to sell merchandise, charge a fee or aggressively solicit donations.

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