Buskers say new laws could hit a high note

New busking bye-laws will come into force in Killarney from June 1

A group of traditional Irish music buskers planning to play on the streets of Killarney throughout the tourist season wants local pubs and restaurants to pay the permit charge if they perform immediately outside their premises.

The ad hoc group, set up in response to new street performance bye-laws, said their music will attract people to the door so the businesses could at least show their appreciation by covering the cost of the €30 permit.

Group spokesman, West Kerry musician Orán Duiseal, said it would be “a win-win situation and a real high note” as the buskers and the businesses would both benefit.

He said a proposal is also to be submitted seeking a relaxing of the new busking bye-laws for street performers who sing in the Irish language.

The buskers want to meet with council officials to ask for an extension of the planned 9 o’clock cut-off time for those busking as gaeilge.

They also want to be allowed to play above the 80 decibels limit if they have traditional Irish instruments such as accordions, uileann pipes, fiddles, bodhráns and tin whistles.

Concessions have been sought for those playing traditional Irish instruments such as accordions

“It would be impossible to get a session going on the street if we are restricted to 80 decibels because of the noise of passing traffic and the dreadful racket coming out of pubs and other places,” said Mr Duiseal who describes himself as a sean nós singer who inherited the talent from his father and grandfather.

Under the new bye-law, buskers will be limited to a maximum of two hours in any one location, foul and insulting language is banned, an 80 decibel noise limit must not be exceeded and performances are only allowed between 11.00am and 9.00pm with €30 performance permits required at all times.

But the buskers’ group is to seek a 50 per cent reduction in the permit cost if at least half of the songs they sing are in the Irish language or the music they play is created by an Irish composer or musician.

Main Street is the preferred location for buskers

“We have no problem if the council imposes an outright ban on any music by the likes of Oasis or Elvis or even The Beatles but allowances should be made if we promote music by Irish acts like Christy Moore, The Pogues or John Spillane,” Orán Duiseal said.

The buskers also want a volume increase to 120 decibels if only acoustic traditional Irish instruments are used and they want to be able to play until midnight at weekends and during festivals on the condition that they submit a playlist for prior approval.

“Wouldn’t it create a great atmosphere on the streets between 9 o’clock and midnight if tourists walking the town could enjoy a rendition of An Puc ar Buile, Beidh Aonach Amárach or Óró Se do Bheatha ‘Bhaile or, better still, some original tracks they wrote themselves in the Irish tongue,” said Mr Duiseal.

The busking group also wants the local authority to increase the permit fee to €100 for buskers who are not able to perform at least half of their repertoire in Irish and they want native speaking performers to be given the key busking locations on Main Street during the busy summer months.

The submission was being finalised this Saturday, April 1st.

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