I’m sure all of you have had the opportunity to pass by a musical street performance. Perhaps you even enjoyed the performance enough to throw a buck or two their way. Music is a monumental part of our culture and, at risk of sounding cliché, humanity in general. It makes it a no brainer then that music as an art form would be shared on the streets just as prominently as any other art.
This might be a word you’ve never heard before but fret not; it simply means performing for volunteer donations in a public area. As you know, these areas usually consist of street sidewalks with heavy foot traffic, subway stations, or even parks. Open guitar cases, tip jars, or beat up old hats flipped upside down can litter the streets with musical acts standing behind them trying to scrap together some cash. Most times artists are allowed to come and go, and perform as they please but other times they are not so lucky. The video below shows a local New York Busker being arrested for continuing his performance. The interesting part of the whole confrontation is the fact the artist (Andrew Kalleen) was still arrested after citing his right to perform in written law to the officer. The officer did not seem to care and put him in cuffs.
Most times artists are left unmolested by any type of law as they are protected by the first amendment, but there have been more cases popping up of what can only be perceived as undesired art and the artists are facing legal consequences. The artists face charges of loitering, trespassing, sound ordinance, or honestly, anything the cop can think of at the time to charge them with.
professionals are no exception
The law doesn’t subject itself to simply local acts either. The long arm is even reaching to prosecute professionals who perform in the street. Some artists are taking a stand to make this oppression of music publicized. Although slightly dated (2003), t]I couldn’t think of a better example than this music video compiled of footage of rock band Alien Ant Farm crashing the BET Awards ceremony with a rooftop performance. Enjoy.
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