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Byron Shire
March 7, 2021

Busking benefits – we need to make money too

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Fintan Callaghan, Byron Bay

I am a local singer/songwriter who has grown up in the area. I first got booked at the Rails in Byron Bay in the early ‘90s.

Fast forward to 2016 when busking started becoming a viable source of income as travelling musicians started taking full advantage of our amazing beachfront and the huge appreciative crowds that often gathered there.

I got myself a busking permit and started busking at Apex Park, and it’s been fantastic. The joy, gratification, and financial reward for doing so has helped support myself and my family.

Fast forward to 2020 and with COVID-19 busking has been suspended three times, and is now suspended till January 2021.

Now that venues are opening up I’m booked at the Beach Hotel and the Railway Hotel in town. People are gathering at the markets, restaurants have cheaply paid musicians on their doorsteps, tourist buses and kayak trips are all there for the taking. But busking is still suspended. Can we please review this situation?

Anyone who lives in the Shire will notice that the pubs and the markets are making money while the musos are being paid a pittance. Those of us that hold a permit can’t play, yet those musos passing through don’t give a damn, they take the money and run. For me the satisfaction and financial reward from performing up at the beachfront has sustained and supported myself and my little family between gigs for years now. It is time to re-evaluate this ‘no busking’ rule.


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