Busking is an important part of our city’s identity, culture and spirit. Buskers add delight, interest and energy to festivals, events and afternoon strolls. Calgary streets provide an opportunity for buskers to showcase their art and for citizens to show their appreciation.
Read our busking guidelines to learn where you can busk and what the rules are. Subscribe to The City of Calgary busker e-mail updates to stay current on City policy, process changes, and important deadlines.
What is busking?
Busking involves a person or group who provides entertaining street performances for public enjoyment. A person who does this is called a “busker.”
Many artists begin successful careers as street performers. Whether you are a musician, singer, dancer, juggler, mime, poet, magician, comedian or other entertainer, there are many locations throughout Calgary that welcome busking and encourage you to demonstrate your skills.
How do buskers earn money?
Buskers receive their payment in the form of monetary donations from the crowds they entertain. Buskers have not been hired by a client and they will not receive a pay check. So please, give generously if you have enjoyed a performance.
Murray Fitch is a Calgary-based singer and songwriter. He plays less well-known covers of folk and folk rock songs and occasionally strays into rock music, and he also writes original music that can be sweet, quirky and political. His main instruments are guitar and banjo, but he also plays piano, bass, harmonica, ukulele, mandolin and percussion. You can listen to his music here or catch him at various Busk Stops around the city.
Becoming a busker
So you want to become a busker in Calgary? You will need to get a busking ID and follow our busking guidelines. There are two busking ID options:
- Standard Busker ID (Free) - Lets you busk in public locations such as City parks and streets. This ID does not include transit stations.
- Calgary Transit Busker ID ($25 and a Police Information Check) - Lets you busk in all locations including transit stations. You must follow additional Calgary Transit Busker ID guidelines and processes.
Please note: If you had a Calgary Transit Busker ID for 2016, you do not need to redo your Police Information Check for the 2017 season.
Applying for an ID
For both ID’s you will need to fill out our Busking Application Form and pay any fees. If you are applying for a Calgary Transit Busker ID, your application will be processed once we receive your application, payment, and Police Information Check. We aim to process all ID’s within three business days of receipt.
You can submit the form by emailing it to firstname.lastname@example.org or by dropping it off at one of these locations:
- Recreation Customer Service Centre (2808 Spiller Rd. S.E.)
- Southland Leisure Centre (2000 Southland Dr. S.W.)
- Village Square Leisure Centre (2623 56 St. N.E.)
*Please note that line-ups at recreation facilities can be quite long during peak hours. We highly recommend you email in your application and pay for your Calgary Transit ID online for the quickest service.
When do I get my ID?
Once your ID has been processed, you will receive your busking ID in the mail or you can arrange to pick it up at one of the above locations.
You can check the status of your application or ask us questions by emailing email@example.com.
Help promote your favourite busker using #YYCBusker. You can also stay in touch with us and share your experiences on Facebook.com/YYCArtsCulture and Twitter @YYCArtsCulture.
Are you one of Calgary’s many talented street performers? As part of our Busking Program we would love to showcase you on our website and in social media. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to express your interest in this great opportunity.
How to connect
Fire out more about busking in Calgary, get involved