Busker Busting in Cambridge

With the warm weather coming, seeing musicians out on the street with their guitars and instruments, playing along for whatever pocket money passersby may have are about to become a more frequent site. Good thing the police are on the job to stop folky covers of pop songs from interrupting people’s day three-and-a-half minutes at a time.

Last week, a young singer was fined for “soliciting near a public transit stop.” Liv Gains was performing with her guitar outside the Giant Tiger in downtown Cambridge when the police, apparently responding to a complaint, arrived to issue her a fine. Despite having the permission and the blessing of Giant Tiger to play in front of their establishment, the police still gave Gains a ticket for $65.

Here’s the video of the police fining Gains:

In response, several Cambridge musicians came out today to that same spot Gains was fined upon seven days ago to support her and other musicians like her just trying to make a couple of bucks off of their guitars. And the buskers aren’t the only ones who see their value.

“It adds to the atmosphere, the attractiveness of a downtown core…you see it all over the world!” Cambridge Councillor Frank Monteiro told 570 News.

It’s another example of the ongoing back and forth between city’s wanting to flaunt their culture, and some people wanting their arts to be properly permitted and licensed despite that fact that true culture does not grow out of those restraints. I’m reminded of a few years ago when City of Guelph by-law went on a fining binge of people and groups who put up posters in “unofficial” places. Sometimes art is messy, and sometimes it takes place on unexpected stages and places.

All I can say is that it much have been a pretty slow day for crime in Cambridge if two officers could squander over 11 minutes to give one girl with a guitar a $65 ticket.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s