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Byron Shire
October 22, 2021

Police call for busking ban, backed by Byron mayor

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Have you noticed that the streets of Byron Bay have been a less tuneful and colourful place in the past week or so?

That’s probably because Byron Shire Council has quietly banned buskers, pop-up stalls and tarot card readers from the streets of Byron at the request of local police.

And councillors will, this week, vote on whether or not to formalise the ban, meaning it will extend until at least the end of October.

In a notice of motion to this week’s Council meeting, mayor, Michael Lyon, said that, following the request from police, he used his delegated authority to implement the busking ban.

‘There are heightened community concerns about the potential spread of COVID-19 into the Byron community, as more people begin to travel to the region’, Cr Lyon said in the notice of motion.

‘The Public Health Order outdoor gathering restriction remains at 20 persons’.

‘It is the end of the September school holiday period, and October Labour Day Long Weekend in NSW, this on the back of the lifting of recent lockdowns is expected to see more people in the Byron area.’

The ban includes ‘tarot card and palm readers, fortune readers’ and ‘the display or demonstration of items… with an implication that they are available for sale or otherwise in exchange for money’.

The motion proposes that the ban should be in place until October 31, ‘or until the Public Health Order on outdoor gathering restrictions is increased to at least 50 persons’.

It is the second time Council has sought to ban busking and the like during the COVID-19 era.


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21 COMMENTS

    • Oh God they are all annoying! For the days you could walk down the street and enjoy some peace and tranquillity..it’s just noise pollution now..honestly.

  1. HOW IN THE HELL IS BANNING BUSKERS & TAROT CARD READERS GONNA REDUCE COVID IN THE AREA ??? Its really comforting to see Mr Lyons (mayor) so happy to abide by police requests isn’t it ?? Would he agree to TAZERING these pesky individuals if the police so asked ?? If Mr Lyons is so concerned about infections increasing why didn’t he speak out about Byrons low vaccine rate & urge citizens to get vaccinated ?? As our new idiotic Premier (of several days) has declared Sydney open this means assuring the spread of infections to rural & regional communities , STILL with low vaccine rates. Not all of these communities were refusing vaccines obviously, but just couldn’t get any. So considering the influx of thousands of tourists to the region , I can’t see how buskers & palm readers are gonna be the super spreaders? These people have provided flare/ colour & harmless entertainment in the OPEN for decades . The spirit of Byron I feel , is moving further to the ICU and needs intubating 🙁

    • Totally agree lindy.I have been a part of Byron for thirty years.So disappointed with this decree from above, particularly from an green council.The Life of Byron is now not allowed to be a naughty boy/girl.It’s an utterly disgusting decision.Long live our street peeps.

  2. Good riddance – I’m sure legitimate businesses paying rent for shops will be glad to see the back of the pests with their crappy jewellery tables blocking the footpath.

    As for fortune tellers – did anyone of them ever foretell a recent event that turned the whole world upside down?

    Thought not…

    • Hey Barry.I am a legitimate business person in Byron operating for the past 30years (Cobblers at Byron for the record) paying a load of money for rent btw.Not you my dopey dude.I love the vibrant nature of the street vendors, it’s what makes Byron so interesting.Do not speak on my behalf pal.Cheers.

      • As a matter of fact,as a legitimate business person I will donate $100 to ten buskers to sing in the streets of Byron for the next week.I call on every business in Byron to do similar.Arthur (cobblers at Byron)

  3. Sadly more people for the unemployment line.
    A quite a few people make their living off busking , it’s been ok to busk on n off over the last 2 years , we are now on the “roadmap” to so called “freedom” but you are taking away more of “normal life” aswel as peoples livelihood. I think this is an excessive reaction . Punish those who live here but let tourists in 🤷🏻‍♀️ .

  4. Go to the park and busk. Let us have our streets back please. It’s just trashy mess no class and does the town no favours…Byron already going trash enough..

  5. punishing the economically less fortunate & therefore most marginalised & vulnerable of our community – which, by the way, will soon be overrun by moneyed metropolitans, vaxed or unvaxed – for the fallout of a brainless “recovery” plan: the beacon of a broken society. poor form, mr. lyon.

  6. This is so sad. Buskers music floating on the night air such an attraction for tourists and adds to the ambience of atmosphere. It must be old stiffs requesting this, ruining all the fun in our world. Tones and I was found by busking the streets of Byron!

  7. I am seriously concerned with this decision by our council to basically outlaw our Byron buskers from performing.
    As a Covid risk they must be so small.We have zero community transmission.Sydney peeps are not allowed to visit until November 1
    So why has this decision been implemented?What do our beloved Byron street vendors that has made Byron so special for the last 30 years do until the restrictions on their livelihood is sanctioned to end.It beggars belief that our council has sanctioned this knee jerk reaction to a problem that does not exist.Our street entertainment,the spirit of Byron is extinguished.I don’t like it one bit!It has been said by some that business people in town ,such as myself, dislike street vendors because the pay no rent as I do.It’s totally untrue.For the record I pay an astronomical $100K a year rent for my premises Yep.However,I will not deny one person.nay.one hundred people doing their thing on The Streets of Byron.
    It’s what has made our community so special.So…
    As a business person I am offering $100 to 10 buskers to perform over the next week in defiance of council orders(can’t pay you fine if any)
    Arthur Cobblers at Byron.Cheers
    Any other business out their is welcome to join .

  8. Tones and i, Ash Grunwald and Michael Franti were just some of the buskers on the streets of Byron. People come to Byron to seek culture. Take the culture away and what will you have?

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