Buskers banned from mall during festival

Buskers banned from mall during festival

NICOLE MATHEWSON
Last updated 17:13 20/01/2014
No buskers at Re:Start mall
Kirk Hargreaves/Fairfax NZ

TOO MANY COOKS: "Unofficial" buskers are not welcome at Re:Start mall during the World Buskers Festival.

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Independent buskers have been banned from performing in Christchurch's Re:Start Mall - but only while the official performers are working.

Notices displayed around the central city container mall state no busking is allowed in the complex during the World Buskers Festival, which runs from January 16 to 26. 

The notices say the ban is ''at the request of the Festival organizers (sic) and Christchurch City Council''. 

Re:Start manager Paul Wilkinson-Baker said other buskers could still perform in the mall this week, but had been asked to do it before or after the official World Busker Festival performances being held daily between 11.30am and 3pm across two stages. 

Buskers did not need a permit or licence to perform in Re:Start mall, but were managed informally throughout the year to ensure they did not overcrowd the shopping centre, he said. 

''We have to manage them in a way so they don't overlap. Once you start getting more then, if they're music ones . . . you start getting a mash of sounds.''

The mall preferred a maximum of six buskers to be performing at any time, with each given about an hour during ''particularly busy'' periods.

''We don't police it anymore than that. We like the buskers; the buskers are very important to us - even the ones that aren't that great.'' 

Wilkinson-Baker said a small number of regular performers were frustrated at the disruption caused by the festival, but most accepted it.

''I know some of our regulars are probably a bit disappointed. We've had a couple come in and say 'oh, it's not fair, I come in here every week', but once you say to them it's only for a couple of hours they're OK.''

Some were happy performing after the official shows ended, allowing them to make the most of lingering crowds, while at least one had taken the week off.

''One of our regulars, MulletMan, he said he's going to Wellington for a week because it's hard to fit his show in around the festival, it's about an hour-and-a-half long.''

Wilkinson-Baker said people were enjoying this year's festival, despite strong winds creating challenging conditions during the first day of street performances last Friday. 

''It was not a good start . . . but we've had lots of people in the mall, lots of people enjoying the acts and the entertainment.''

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- The Press

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