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Local street musicians Perin Ellsworth-Heller, left, and Ben Hemmendinger performed their Appalachian and Irish-inspired tunes on the sidewalk along Xenia Avenue for about two hours last Saturday. (Photo by Megan Bachman)

Council approves new policy on street music

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The local street music scene may soon change with a new, self-regulating policy approved Monday by Village Council. The Yellow Springs Street Performer Agreement limits where and for how long street musicians can play and discourages amplification, while asking that those approaching street musicians with concerns do so respectfully. At Monday night’s meeting Council members called the measure a non-binding “pilot approach” and said that they hope to receive feedback from street musicians.

Street music, or busking, has become controversial in recent months as Council learned of concerns of downtown business owners and their employees. Earlier this year, a petition signed by 50 villagers and downtown workers asked Council to curtail street music by banning amplification, background tracks and multiple drums.

Read the full story about busking, including the street musician and downtown shop owners perspectives in the July 24 issue of the News.  The new agreement is below.

Yellow Springs Street Musician/Performer Agreement
The standards of consideration embodied in this agreement promote our creative community and respect the personal space of Villagers and Visitors so that everyone can enjoy the downtown environs. Busking is an enjoyable aspect of the Yellow Springs Experience that complements business and social activities. The Village welcomes all forms of artistic expression and wants to provide opportunities for buskers to perform. Maintaining a high quality of life for our citizens is our primary goal.

Being considerate and respectful means:

  • Not interrupting a busker in the middle of a number.
  • Being professional and courteous when speaking to a street performer and not resorting to shouting, threatening or intimidating.
  • Abiding by the recommendations of the police or mediator in the event of a dispute. Performing at a sufficient distance from other buskers (approximately 100 feet).
  • Taking a 60-minute break or moving to another street after performing for one hour.
  • Allowing other buskers to take advantage of prime downtown locations by only performing at the same location twice in one day.
  • Not obstructing foot traffic, business entrances and public seating.
  • Not interfering with the music/ambiance of downtown shops.
  • Complying with Yellow Springs ordinances, which strive to control loud/annoying noise levels and discourage amplification.
  • If this agreement is not respected by performers, participants, spectators and/or business owners, further action can be taken by the Yellow Springs Police Department in accordance with local ordinances.

The existing Noise Ordinance can be accessed at the Village of Yellow Springs website:


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