The last few days have been busy, both with busking and because I’ve taken on a commitment as the volunteer ESL instructor for a summer after-school program. That said, I’m still finding time to busk and to do community outreach. And we’re looking forward to having Kalan back in town soon as well, which will double our boots on the ground.
In any case, today brought big news. I spoke by phone with a violinist who received a wrongful summons (‘blocking traffic’ for a solo violinist playing in the evening, written expressly once she had asked for the officer’s badge number.) She was adjudicated guilty at her first hearing, but we’ve gotten her in touch with an attorney and are looking forward to a fairer outcome on appeal.
Then, I met another performer who’s received a summons, this time with a charge of ‘disorderly conduct,’ for playing guitar and singing on the platform. Her court date is just before mine, at the beginning of September, and we’re looking forward to seeing that thrown right out with a lawsuit to boot.
And finally, I met a jazz saxophonist — an excellent one — who’s been arrested no fewer than five times for acoustic, rule-abiding performances. Is that unjust? Well, apparently New York City judges think so: they’ve dropped the charges all five times. Can’t even say how much I look forward to seeing this go back to a court of law — this time with the real wrong-doers as the defendants.
Pretty exciting for one day’s developments. Justice, justice, we’ll get you one day!
my god this is some bullshit. I’m from Liverpool, UK and when our city council tried to bring in a licensing scheme for buskers last year (which would have included everyone wearing ID badges, paying a registration fee and a host of restrictions on when and where we could play) we formed an association of street performers (which is now active in several cities http://www.streetslive.org) , got a solicitor on board and peacefully disobeyed the rules en mass…the council gave up on the idea in the end. We had massive media interest in it too…Now the law may be different in New York, but we have found that most council officers/police officers don’t even know the law properly themselves and if you are prepared and know what you are going to say i.e, “on what LAW are you asking me to move?” (because there are no actual laws about it in the UK – the police just try to intimidate you and claim you are begging or causing an obstruction) and stand your ground POLITLEY, they will often leave you alone…
Wow — I can’t believe I didn’t know about that project before! I love the site and will be looking through it more in detail soon — pretty inspiring!
As far as the laws in New York… well, in theory they protect us quite well. But similarly to over there, some police aren’t familiar with the exact rules concerning music. So that’s the main issue we’re working on right now!