Buskers Program going strong

Festivals Kelowna says it's getting good cooperation from people in Kelowna over its Buskers Program.

In a report to council this week, Executive Director Renata Mills says they'd like to see more busking stops added downtown.

"I know that there has been conversation about what busking will look like in our downtown core, so I would say that we are ready to respond with adding new spots, so that there are more opportunities for buskers to engage with the community. And to continue to do what the program is meant to, which is to enhance our public spaces," she said.

After taking questions from multiple councillors on how to expand the program, Mills told them that an advantage of the program is that adding more stops isn't too difficult of a process.

"The buskers program is fairly easy to expand, it's simply a case of finding a spot that isn't going to be competing too much with extraneous noise, such as roadways. And then also where there's enough pedestrian traffic to make it worthwhile for the buskers."

The program made news back in March, when a local busker was fined $500 by the city for playing too loudly outside of one of the designated areas.

But that fine was wiped away soon after, and Mills says last year's Buskers on Bernard event, featuring food trucks and musicians, was especially successful.

Mills was also asked about the possibility of holding a busking festival, like some other larger cities.

She says Kelowna might not be ready for that yet, but we're not far off.

"The key thing with a buskers festival is you need the changeover in the volumes of people to make it sustainable for the participating buskers, because they live on donations. You don't pay them," she said.

"So you need to have enough different people over a longer period of time for them to make the money, to be worth it for them to attend. So that's sort of the key."

She says they are continuing to work on incorporating buskers into more events that are held around the city.