The Day the Music Died article serves as good point of the ongoing issues with council and authorities attempting to prevent public expression. These authorities cite things like crime, public nuisance, liability and even terrorist risks in order to ban busking and any form of street performance.
In my own city, Melbourne is a very liberal city with a strong artistic background. Yet still there has been a apparent crackdown on buskers with the council seemingly hiring a new department of by-laws officers whose full time job is to shut down buskers and generate revenue by fining performers.
There is a lot research that has gone into street culture and buskers, including a number of fully developed thesis/articles on academia.edu and books like Underground Harmonies by Susie J. Tanenbaum that has an impressive detailed social study on the effects of busking in NYC, also Standing Room Only by Linda Bee (I’m featured in this book) also briefly goes into the details of street flow research.
The research clearly states that busking not only improves the atmosphere of street, but in fact DROPS crime rates. It provides an enlivening and artistic festive environment that is free to the local councils, (in some cases buskers pay the council).
Despite of the facts, authoritarian council’s around the world are enforcing ‘Community Protection Notices’, ‘Dispersal Orders’ and ‘Street ordinance compliance notices’ for buskers and in extreme cases like the article notes, even before a performer played a single note or because another was carrying a golf bag.
This is a really disturbing turn in our culture and something that need to be seriously addressed before it gets worst.