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Permanent LinkJan 1, 2015 
Bwana Busker

Joined: Jan 1, 2005
Posts: 49
Location: Boulder
Blog: View Blog (145)
:hot: (KEY WEST) Just when you think they've figured it all out, Key West's city hall has created still more controversy in their busking laws. Being in the news over the past several years, it may be a matter of the successful Mallory Square Sunset Celebration turf just not being big enough for the city's satisfaction.

The city along with the Cultural Preservation Society(?) now wants to charge individual buskers $20 a night for accepting tips. Federal courts repeatedly rule that permit fees for First Amendment activity are unconstitutional. Yet we see constant challenges to the right of free speech. City halls do not seem to understand that busking and street performing are immune to their taxing. Confusion appears to come when the performer is observed accepting tips. It seems any exchange of money gets some excited about figuring out how to collect on this new and untapped revenue.

Reading between the lines, over time we find the individual acts being pushed out in favor of "installed buskers" and vendors of sandwiches and drinks. There's only so much space and it's becoming too valuable to waste on such small acts as music and magic. Yet, these are the types of buskers that started the Celebration to begin with.

Billed as "Key West's Free Nightly Arts Festival", it seems it's only free for the tourists. Each installed performer will now be required to pay $6000 a year to busk. That's an income for the city of $66,000 a year given that there are 11 performers listed on the Sunset Celebration website.

Federal courts note that "any form of regulation on artistic free speech must not be judgmental, and permits must not be so restrictive, complex, difficult or expensive to obtain that they inhibit free speech."

For a busker not performing a circle show, $20 daily is an unnecessary, restrictive, and expensive tax levied against their 1st Amendment rights. Click the link below to change this injustice.

Support Fee-Free Buskers @ Mallory Square's Sunset Celebration


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