New push for more street performers downtown

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Although you may see a street performer entertaining residents and visitors from time to time in downtown Indianapolis, you’re much more likely to see them in bigger cities.

But this weekend, a collective effort begins to encourage more of those street performers to perform here.

The technical term is “busking” – the practice of performing in public spaces for tips and they can include anything from poets to storytellers to dancers and, of course, musicians.

“Busking is an age-old art form,” said Pauline Moffat, executive director of IndyFringe said in a statement about the new push. “It brings vibrancy and fun to city streets: it defines a world-class city and demonstrates the breadth of hidden talent in our community.”

Indianapolis Downtown Inc, along with IndyFringe have organized the campaign with a partnership from the Arts Council of Indianapolis.

Friday and Saturday nights from 6 p.m. – 10 p.m., street performers will busk downtown in place like Georgia Street, Monument Circle, and Mass Ave. They’ll do so under the leadership of IndyFringe and the Indiana Acoustic Music Society.

Both are having an open call for artists to join the street team and learn skills needed to perform and engage the audience. Click here for more from IndyFringe and here for more from the Indiana Acoustic Music Society.

According to Indianapolis Downtown, Inc, no special permits are needed for buskers. Anyone may perform on public property as long as it doesn’t impeded the right-of-way.

A debate last year to cut down on panhandling included discussions about street performers. Supporters did not want to pass a panhandling ordinance that would also prohibit entertainment performances.

In December, Mayor Greg Ballard  said he was a fan of street performers and told 24-Hour News 8 having more of them downtown might be good for convention business.

In 2013, Indianapolis Downtown, Inc along with several city-based civic organizations launched a five-year strategic plan that included the need to “promote collaborations that will cultivate participation in events and experiences downtown.” One of the tactics mentioned was a plan to encourage pop-up entertainment.

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