Peter Keane and Ed Sheeran discuss the merits of Galway’s abysmal busking by-laws in this week’s cartoon for Double Vision. I take a section of Charlie’s article (first published in the Connacht Tribune) as a kick-off point for our weekly cartoons:
“This year Galway hosted Edfest for ex-Galway busker Sheeran, whose gigs bought serious green folding to the local economy, whilst simultaneously the council was trying to legislate against busking in the city.”
I’ve singled out Peter Keane as he proposed the Galway Busking by-laws which see a prohibition on circle shows and amplification before 6pm. Under 16s have to apply for a permit and have an adult present.
“After a thorough and detailed debate this evening, and on my Proposal, Galway City Council have adopted the Street Performance & Busking Bye-Laws 2018. The Laws will see an end to Amplified Performances & Circle Acts on the main shopping thoroughfare during core shopping Hours up to 6pm.
Additionally Young Persons under the age of 16 years will be obliged to have a Guardian present during any performance also. This Law is not an objection to Busking but will regulate how performances occur.”
Without a hint of irony he shares Galway Arts Festival news on this same Facebook page.
Keane and the 9 other sleeveen councillors who voted in favour of these by-laws fail to understand that busking is vital to the timbre and atmosphere of Galway streets during the tourist season. This is the very reason people come to Galway, to partake in something unique. These councillors are asphyxiating the very thing that tourists want to see, the spontaneity of street performance. Galway has no right to claim itself as an city exceptional to the arts when its local authority is treating artists like this. Galway’s Capital of Culture status for 2020 takes on a tongue-in-cheek aspect once it starts prohibiting street performance.
Galway buskers have had a voluntary code of conduct in place for the last number of years, formalised last year, after negotiating with the City Council when by-laws were proposed previously.
There is a petition for Galway City Councillors to withdraw support from these ridiculous by-laws. As the petition points out:
“These by-laws, as currently written, not only ban all forms of amplification and circle acts including theatre, dance, sculpture,circus, acrobatics, clown, mime and magic from the protected streetscape before 6pm; they ban all busking after 11pm, ban drum kits,completely restrict the freedom of expression, force buskers to stop if they draw a crowd and interfere with the way buskers queue.”
All that matters to Peter Keane and the rest of these philistines is that businesses are kept happy. And these same businesses will wonder where everyone is when town is dead before 6pm.
More Double Vision cartoons here.