City buskers juggle new guidelines

Dynamike, from Canada, juggles swords from a unicycle.

The City of Cape Town, with the support of the V&A Waterfront, released a public art and busking guidelines brochure on Friday October 7 at the Watershed at the V&A Waterfront.

The release of the brochure coincided with the start of the first Buskers Festival in Cape Town as part of the Fringe Festival, which both wrapped up on Sunday October 9. The document provides guidelines which need to be kept in mind when placing art in public spaces, as well as for busking and street performances throughout the city.

At the launch, mayoral committee member for tourism and events, Eddie Andrews, said the document formalises the City’s commitment to public art and ensures transparency and accountability.

“Busking allows for creative, innovative and out-of-the-box art to find its own audience. It can nurture a stronger understanding and appreciation of arts and culture.

“We are very excited that we have this platform, the Cape Town Buskers Festival, brought to Cape Town by the Cape Town Fringe, to launch this tool that would be so helpful to buskers and public art practitioners.

“We encourage Capetonians and local street performers to support the festival.”

The new brochure is available in three languages at sub-council offices.

The marketing manager at the Waterfront, Andrew Smith, said they are in full support of the busking guidelines.

He said busking, like any other stall at the V&A Waterfront, is a small business, their product is their performance, and “we want to give them the opportunity to grow”.

Henry Mathys, senior events co-ordinator at the Waterfront, said that twice a year buskers audition to play in the Waterfront, and pay an admin fee of R50, to formalise their busking as a business.

“We then give them a space, and they do the rest.”

He said the buskers usually provide their own music if they have.

However, for the festival, the V&A Waterfront provided some of the sound and assisted the buskers with stages and signs at various points around the shopping mall. Some of the acts included Bucketman from Spain – who plays “the drums” using buckets, pots and pans – and Dynamike from Canada, who juggles with swords on a unicycle, and the local group Soccer Freestylers, among others.