Busker Se Elliot wants to know who supports busking after a run in with bylaw (Image Credit: Kelownabusker website)

Update: Busker ticket downgraded

A Kelowna busker has made a video circulating through social media, highlighting a busking bust

UPDATED: March 17 3:30 p.m.

A noise violation ticket issued to a street musician last weekend has been downgraded to a warning.

After reviewing the circumstances leading up to the $500 ticket being issued, City of Kelowna staff decided to seek a more cooperative approach to resolving the musician’s use of an amplifier on downtown streets.

“We always try for a cooperative approach and use a ticket as a last resort,” said Rob Mayne, divisional director of corporate and protective services. “The bylaw officer tried this approach initially, but was unable to negotiate a solution in the moment with the performer and decided to issue the ticket.”

Bylaw enforcement officers act on these cases when they receive a complaint. A complaint from an occupant of a building where the musician was performing was answered by the officer on Saturday.

“Although we have issued warnings to this performer last summer and even the day before he was ticketed, we are willing to try again. We want to arrive at a solution that is fair to all the other buskers who do comply with the rules,” said Mayne.

Festivals Kelowna operates the busking program and permits to ensure street performers have equal opportunities to locations and appropriate sound levels for amplified music. The Busk Stop program approves sound levels that the amplifier can be used at, and that information is recorded on the permit.

The reason bylaw or RCMP officers ask performers to carry their permit is to determine if the musician has connected with the Festivals Kelowna program.

“Bylaw officers have the difficult job of reacting to complaints from property owners and residents, while educating those who are not complying with bylaws to get them to change their behaviour. In this case, we wanted to take another try at finding a cooperative solution,” said Mayne.

ORIGINAL STORY:

A video local musician S.e Elliot filmed Saturday while being ticketed by a Kelowna bylaw officer is rapidly spreading through social media and raising a new round of questions about this city’s busking regulations.

In the video, Elliot explains that he was issued a $500 ticket for making a public disturbance while playing some songs at a stop on Bernard Avenue.

The ticket, he was told by the city officer in the brief video, was based out of the Kelowna Noise and Disturbances control bylaw.

“If there’s been a complaint let me know,” Elliot asked the bylaw officer.

The bylaw officer then asks if he can see Elliot’s busking permit.

“While you are not at a busking stop, you are asked not to show the busking licence,” Elliot said. For the interaction, Elliot was left with a ticket.

Elliot later said that police described the costly interaction between bylaw and the musician as a “pissing match” and that there was no public complaint to have triggered the interaction. In fact the only public input in the video is someone saying that they enjoyed his music, while they refer to the officer with a disparaging term.

Elliot also correct about his right to busk.

While Festivals Kelowna does maintain “busking zones” for musicians licensed under the Kelowna Buskers program, there is no law against unlicensed musician being tipped for their performance or for busking.

Busking, which is the practise of performing in public places for tips and gratuities, is a staple in the city’s cultural policy and the busking program is often funded by council who, through policy, encourage local and touring, professional and amateur, buskers to perform their fun art form.

Buskers may do anything that will entertain people such as mime, physical comedy, juggling, puppetry, playing an instrument, or singing.

Elliot said he won’t be able to afford to pay the ticket, particularly if he’s unable to keep busking, so he’s asked that the community help and, while they’re at it, offer their opinion on busking.

More to come.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Vernon chamber backs council’s opposition of downtown overdose prevention site

The chamber sent a letter to B.C.’s health minister calling for the site not to be located downtown

Bird knocks out power for thousands in Vernon

Evening outage was brief, but affected nearly 3,000 residents

GALLERY: Perfect day for replanting marigolds in Armstrong

Volunteers soak up sun as they replant city’s Marigold Mile Wednesday, May 27

Vernon player chooses Winnipeg as next soccer home

Tori Hauptman will play for the University of Winnipeg Wesmen in U-SPORTS’ Canada West conference

Over Zoom, Armstrong council seeks new meeting space

BRIEFS: Centennial Auditorium under consideration as council looks to resume open meetings

Duck nests at Vernon drive-thru

Mother has hatched four ducklings just inches from the steady stream of vehicles

Princeton RCMP stop men intent on jumping off bridge

Princeton RCMP investigating a trespassing complaint arrived in time to stop two… Continue reading

Another Asian giant ‘murder hornets’ found in Lower Mainland

This is the farthest east the invasive species has been found so far

B.C. girl left temporarily paralyzed by tick bite sparks warning from family

Mom says parents need to check their kids when they go camping

PHOTOS: Loved ones reunite at an oasis on closed U.S.-Canada border in Surrey

Officials closed the park in mid-March over coronavirus concerns

Feds delay national action plan for missing and murdered Indigenous women

Meanwhile, the pandemic has exacerbated the violence facing many Indigenous women and girls

Morning Start: How long can humans hold their breath underwater?

Your morning start for Thursday, May 2020.

100 miles in 24 hours: a B.C. man’s mission to support the less fortunate

Merrit’s Darius Sam felt a responsibility to help his community after encounter with a starving woman

Central Okanagan schools ready to welcome students back

Students are set to go back to school next Monday, June 1

Most Read