Council looks to take on street performers


It looks like the street performance tax-haven that is Madison may soon be a thing of the past. Spray painted posters of Pink Floyd album covers, a flute tune by the guy in the orange suit, or an amphetemines-induced rendition of “Nobody’s Perfect” may all be subject to taxation, according to Ald. Mike Verveer. From the State Journal:

“Verveer had been reluctant to regulate street musicians because he said they contribute to the “funky, eclectic” nature of State Street. But he now says he is willing to sponsor an ordinance that would regulate the time, place and manner of street performers, similar to how the city has regulated panhandling.”

Language is still being drafted, but proposals floated at a recent vending oversight committee include charging street performers a $50 annual permit fee, or $10 a day, to perform in public places. The ordinance may also specify when and where musicians can perform, how loud their music can be and how far apart they should be from each other.

This proposal is unfair and will be unproductive. Most of these people don’t make enough money to be subject to such a tax. Many of them are on the road and can’t afford to fork over $50, uncertain is the risk is worth it. The street is often a place where people who can’t find jobs or are in a transition period. While I’m sure this fee, which is really more of a roadbump, would get plenty of crappy artists off the street, it still runs counter to the welcoming atmosphere that should define Madison, especially on State St.

Most importantly, unless I am completely out of touch with the numbers, Verveer’s proposal is not going to bring in a significant amount of money. I can say confidently that practically nobody is going to pay $10 a day, except for in a couple specific circumstances (maybe gamedays?). How many will actually pay $50 to play on the streets? A few dozen? A hundred at most? We’re talking most likely about less than $5000.


6 Responses to “Council looks to take on street performers”

  1. Anonyies Says:

    Is this for real? Commmeeee onnnn. Maybe they should first try to take care of the hangout across from Hawk’s.

  2. Nonies Says:

    This is ridiculous! The street performers in Madison aren’t numerous enough or loud enough to disturb anyone and they’re a part of the downtown identity. I could see this type of legislation becoming necessary if there were musicians competing with each other to be heard at all hours, but this is far from the truth Attempting to charge them a fee to play is an overbearing move from the Council that should be stopped immediately.

  3. I'm not giving my name to a machine Says:

    This shit is straight retarded. WTF. Who is the Alder? I didn’t vote for him. Oh well no more pan-flute bands at least.

  4. Generic statement in agreement. Says:

    3 comments in ~one hour with a short quip encapsulating an opening thought that agrees with the post? I guess people are losing their individuality after all.

  5. Jason Smathers Says:

    I really don’t understand this. I feel annoyed by panhandlers and am glad it’s limited to two areas, but I never feel like Art Paul Schlosser is ruining my State Street experience…and he sings about fucking peanut butter and jelly.

    I think some people in this city have a bit of intolerance when it comes to having music pass through their ear canal. Example:

  6. Anonyies Says:

    Dear “Generic Statement in Agreement”,
    We’re trying to show our support for the blog. Your commentary wasn’t entirely creative either, asshole.

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