Best News for Buskers

Charleston’s New Busking Laws

Staff Pick

It’s been a little over a year since the city of Charleston dropped some of its regulations on street performers, and I’d hazard to say the change has made things a little easier for folks who play music on the sidewalk for a living. Previously, street performers were required to obtain peddlers’ permits from the city — a process that involved a criminal background check, could take weeks to complete, and cost $32 in fees plus a $7 annual renewal. Now buskers fall under a separate category from panhandlers and do not have to get approval from the city. The old rules were replaced by a long list of off-limits locations for buskers — including being within 50 feet of an ATM, a library, a funeral home, or a church in session — but as long as you steer clear of those, you can usually make a little money without getting hassled by the police. One gripe, though: The 11 p.m. cutoff has got to go. The far noisier crowds of the Charleston nightlife are out on the sidewalks past 2 a.m. on weekends, and forcing buskers to pack up before then and miss out on that sweet bar-goer money doesn’t make a lot of sense.
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