Lismore council is cracking down on buskers. Photo by Gavin Whitner.
Lismore council is cracking down on buskers. Photo by Gavin Whitner.

Ban on bad buskers: 'This isn't Lismore's Got Talent'

LISMORE City Council, heeding submissions from frustrated CBD business owners, will be enforcing tougher restrictions on buskers in an attempt to rid street performers who are too loud, repetitive or downright offensive.

A bad busker database will be kept by council, and if a busker has too many complaints against them, their license will not be renewed.

On Friday The Lismore Business Panel discussed the outcomes of Lismore City Council's Review of Markets and Temporary Events, which placed new restrictions on buskers and aggressive out-of-town charities.

LBP resolved at its meeting in May to prepare a submission to restrict amplified music and enforce a stricter audition process and shorter permit times due to limited repertoire and limited skills in some instances.

However, in August, a Lismore City Council report stated, "It was not considered necessary to conduct auditions for buskers as a more active, evidence-based approach by Council's Rangers ans Security Patrols in the CBD will ensure the Guidelines are respected and feed in to consideration of future applications for approval. There is nothing to prevent shop owners asking buskers to move on."

Mayor Isaac Smith said "This isn't Lismore's got talent. We wanted to change the process of busking permits after a number of complaints were made about the quality of buskers in the CBD."

Cr Smith explained, Lismore City Council will keep a database of buskers and if a number of complaints are issued about a busker then their permit will not be renewed.

"You have to have good reasons to make a complaint about a busker, such as being loud or offensive. A 12-year-old violinist may not be the best musician but we need to offer a space where musicians can learn and grow," he said

Lismore City Council has resolved that busker permits should be clearly displayed and that they set up away from shop facades for access and mobility reasons and be encouraged to set up in front of vacant shops.

Council will also provide education to shop owners on who to contact at council when buskers or spruikers are causing issues.

Kaylene Hopf Owner and Manager of Lismore Cruise & Travel was one business owner who made a submission to council about buskers.

"Many buskers constantly singing the same song and a high level of audition process should be required to get a permit. Buskers setting up under the transformer located in the middle of Woodlark Street which is not only an accessibility issue but also a huge safety concern." she said.

She also said there should be a restriction on group activities, for example one local church, would scream and sing religious beliefs, she said.

Council also decided to ban non-local fundraising and charity organisations that collect on commission from operating in the Lismore LGA

Cr Smith said, "We want to give priority to local charities and some of these out-of-town charities can be quite aggressive," he said.