Buskers, street performers, are faced with numerous obstacles when trying to perform because of regulations that prevent them from showing the full potential they have. Many problems buskers face are that they can be fined for noise complaints, be fined for lacking a permit, or people might not tip them or even rob them of their hard earned money.
“I tried to busk for the 4th of July 2 or 3 years ago at Point State Park and one of the security members wouldn’t allow me because they had a city wide permit. Then he said that I couldn’t busk on the North Shore for Market square so I said you pretty much want me to leave the city.” Al from Almazing.
In Jakarta Indonesia, it is illegal to busk and illegal to tip a busker. Buskers can be fined $5,000 and jailed for six months. The regulations in Indonesia spark fears in buskers that these regulations may spread to the U.S. ,making it impossible to have a busking career.
Almazing, left his career as a nurse to become a magician. Al frequently says he is lucky and fortunate that he has been able to pursue his career and make enough money to support his family. He says that any restrictions should not be added because of the First Amendment of freedom of speech. He also says that some authorities have treated him like someone who is making people pay him. He also says that people have attempted to rob him and check to see if it was safe to rob him making it unsafe to continue busking there.
Another busker, Elliot Pullen, started busking two years ago at the age of twelve at the Three Rivers Art Festival, and he says that he doesn’t remember having a negative experience with regulations. However, he does worry that if restrictions are further spread throughout the Pittsburgh area that not only his busking but
others who busk may face almost impossible odds to succeed as buskers.
When asked about the fact that there is a very high possibility that more regulations and restrictions might restrict where and when buskers could play Pullen said, “That is absolutely ridiculous! Buskers are an amazing and beautiful piece of art and culture that contribute to the city of Pittsburgh, and they have supported me trying to become a busker.”