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Busking in Calgary


BUSKERS PLEASE NOTE: 
Busking IDs are no longer processed at the Cliff Bungalow location as in previous years. Please see below for information on how to get your 2016 ID.

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. 

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 a wonderful opportunity for buskers to showcase their art and for citizens to be entertained and show their appreciation.

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. 

Buskers receive their payment in the form of monetary donations from the crowds they entertain. As Buskers are not contracted entertainers and have not been hired by a client, they will not receive a pay check. So please, give generously if you have enjoyed a performance.

In fact, 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.

Subscribe to The City of Calgary busker e-mail updates to stay current on City policy, process changes, and important deadlines.

Are you one of Calgary’s many talented street performers? As part of our Busking program review and pilot for the 2016 season, we would love to showcase you on our website and in social media. Contact busking@calgary.ca to express your interest in this great opportunity.   

 

 
Darryl Minsky
Darryl Minsky

Busker Profile 

Darryl's main instrument is the electric guitar. He is a member of the hard rock dance band, Rock Garden, that plays at various venues around Calgary. Always having an interest in the weird and wonderful world of unusual musical instruments, Darryl has taken up the autoharp, a 36-string chorded zither. He can be seen playing this wonderful instrument at Rock Garden gigs, private functions and busking around Calgary streets and CTrain stations. Rock on, Darryl!

 

Becoming a busker 

So you want to become a busker in Calgary? Great! The City is committed to supporting your practice and elevating the art of busking in the public realm. Calgarians look forward to your performances which help turn ordinary street scenes into extraordinary urban environments for all to enjoy. 

There are three busking ID options: 

  1. Standard Busker ID (Free) - Provides access to busk in public locations such as City parks and streets, excluding transit stations and designated busk stops. This option is perfect for up-and-coming performers and those travelling through our city but would like to grace Calgarians and tourists with their talents along the way. By applying for this ID, users agree to follow the Standard Busker ID guidelines.
  2. Busk Stop ID ($50) - Provides additional access to busk at select busk stop locations listed below. These are high traffic, high volume areas and are ideal for experienced and professional street performers. Amplification is allowed at these locations according to specifications outlined in the Busk Stop ID guidelines.
  3. Calgary Transit Busker ID ($25 and a Police Information Check) - Provides access to busk in all locations including transit stations, but excluding designated busk stops. Amplification is permitted at Calgary Transit stations. Calgary Transit Busker ID guidelines and processes must be adhered to. Please note: If you had a Calgary Transit Busker ID for 2015, you do not need to redo your Police Information Check for the 2016 season.
 
For any of the above options, please fill out the City of Calgary Busking Application Form and submit to busking@calgary.ca or drop off your application at one of the three locations listed below. 
  • Payment can be processed online for your Busk Stop ID or Calgary Transit ID, or at one of the locations below.
  • If you are applying for a Calgary Transit Busker ID, we will process your application once your application form, payment and Police Information Check is received.
  • It is our aim to process all busking IDs within three business days of receipt.
  • 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 locations below.
  • You can check on the status of your application or ask questions by emailing busking@calgary.ca.
 
 Locations* accepting busking ID applications and payment:  
  1. Recreation Customer Service Centre (2808 Spiller Rd. S.E.)
  2. Southland Leisure Centre (2000 Southland Dr. S.W.)
  3. 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 the use of our online application and payment for the quickest services.

Suggested busking locations in Calgary 

  • Stephen Avenue Walk/Barclay Mall - The Stephen Avenue Walk runs along Eighth Avenue from First Street S.E. to Fourth Street S.W. Busking along the Barclay Mall on Third Street is also permitted.
  • Kensington - Kensington is a vibrant and eclectic community located at 10 Street and Kensington Road N.W. that makes a perfect busking spot for someone with an unconventional act.
  • Other business areas - Fourth Street, Inglewood, Bowness, Montgomery, International Avenue, Chinatown and Victoria Park.
  • Calgary parks - Calgary parks are available for busking including; Olympic Plaza, Tomkins ParkCentury Gardens and the Riverfront Promenade along Riverfront Avenue. 

Designated busk stop locations  

Identified as high traffic, high volume areas, the following locations are ideal for experienced and professional street performers. Please display your valid Busk Stop ID and follow Busk Stop ID guidelines while busking in these locations. Busk stops will be marked with an official City of Calgary sign to mark the exact location. They can be found at:

Download the busk stop map

  • Northwest corner of Eighth Avenue and Second Street S.W. (In front of the Lancaster Building at 304 Eight Ave. S.W.) 
  • South side of Eighth Avenue (Alongside Flames Central at 219 Eighth Ave. S.W.)
  • South side of Eighth Avenue (By Contemporary Calgary at 117 Eighth Ave. S.W.)
  • North side of Eighth Avenue (In front of the Global Business Centre at 120 Eighth Ave. S.E.)
  • North side of 17 Avenue (In front of Servus Credit Union at 706 17 Ave. S.W.)
  • North side of 17 Avenue (In front of CIBC at 1222 17 Ave. S.W.)
  • South side of Kensington Road (In front of Pages Books on Kensington at 1135 Kensington Road N.W.)
  • North side of Kensington Road (alongside Starbucks at 1122 Kensington Road N.W.)

How to connect 

Find out more about busking in Calgary, and get involved. 

Download 

Busking ID Application