Calgary Buskers Set to Get Amped About Rockin’ Changes for 2016 Pilot Program

Calgary Buskers Set to Get Amped About Rockin’ Changes for 2016 Pilot Program

The City of Calgary is implementing some exciting changes to the busking program for 2016, including more flexibility for busking IDs, online application process and payment options, and the introduction of amplification at designated “busk stops” and Calgary Transit stations.

“The art of street performance adds vibrancy to public spaces like parks, streets and transit stations. It helps attract tourists and entertains citizens alike. In fact, many highly successful performers have been discovered while busking,” says Sarah Iley, manager of Culture. “With these changes we hope to make it easier for buskers and add to the number of performances happening around Calgary.”

Three types of busking IDs are now available:

  1. The Standard Busker ID remains free and provides access for buskers to perform in public locations such as City parks and streets. Perfect for up-and-coming performers and those travelling through Calgary who would like to share their talents.2.
  2. The Calgary Transit Busker ID comes at a cost of $25 and requires a complete Police Information Check within the last year. It provides access to busk in all locations including transit stations, but excluding designated busk stops.
  3. The new Busk Stop ID will cost the performer $50 for a one year access to perform at select busk stop locations. These are high traffic, high volume areas and are ideal for experienced and professional street performers.

Busk stop locations have been identified by the business revitalization zones (BRZs) as ideal busking locations. The pilot will commence with an initial eight stops in Kensington, on 17thAvenue and on Stephen Avenue Mall, and allows for more locations to be added throughout the city.

Recognizing it’s vital to many instruments and performances, amplification is now permitted at busk stops and Calgary Transit stations with a valid busking ID. Buskers will need to follow the busking guidelines outlined on The City’s website.

To obtain a busking ID, buskers can now apply and pay online, and receive their ID in the mail. Buskers can also visit one of three City locations to drop off and pay for their busking ID application if online is not an option.

To help identify and create these new options The City worked with members of the community, buskers and business owners to get feedback and ideas for the program. In addition, a thorough review of the approach taken by other municipalities was undertaken.

“We want to thank Calgarians for their input into the busking program review over the past season. As we implement some of what we heard, we encourage you to stay engaged and give us your feedback throughout the 2016 pilot while we continue to build the best busking program for Calgary,” says Iley.

Beginning with 2016 as the Year of Music in Calgary, a strong emphasis for the pilot will be on supporting, celebrating and elevating the profile of street performing as a cherished art form. The City will do this by connecting event organizers and business owners with buskers, promoting busking related events, and profiling street performers on and in social media.

Feedback on the changes for the 2016 pilot and how it’s working for all stakeholders will be gathered, and if required, the program will be adjusted again for the 2017 season.

For more information on the busking program, getting a busking ID, and the busking program review and pilot, visit