Local musician writes protest song about Kelowna busking bylaw - InfoNews

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Local musician writes protest song about Kelowna busking bylaw

PHOTO - Barry Mathers, second from left, plays with the Cruzeros in Zurich, Switzerland in 2007. Barry Mathers, lead singer for The Cruzeros, has written a song protesting the City of Kelowna's decision to force buskers to audition and pay for a licence.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED
March 29, 2018 - 4:30 PM

KELOWNA – A local musician has written and recorded a song condemning the city’s new busking bylaws.

Barry Mathers, lead singer for The Cruzeros, released Pay to Play to his SoundCloud account earlier this week, after Kelowna councillors approved several changes to their bylaws.

Buskers now require a permit to play at any of the 18 designated spots downtown, and permits will only be granted following an audition with Festivals Kelowna.

Performing without a licence could mean a $100 fine.

“This town used to be so cool,” Mathers sings. “I remember all the good things we could do. Hang out on the beach all night long, playing guitars, singing our songs. Nobody got hurt, nobody was doing no harm.

"Can't play your music around this town, unless you lay your money down."

Kelowna council narrowly passed the changes following a presentation Monday, March 26, by the city’s crime prevention supervisor Colleen Cannock.

The amended good neighbour bylaw was approved five to three.

One of the councillors who voted against the changes is Ryan Donn, a musician himself and former director of Festivals Kelowna. 

Frustrated by what he called the "dumbest bylaw process ever," he vowed in an online post last night to busk on downtown streets without a license, daring bylaw officers to give him a ticket.

“I ran the program for five years, we never once said no to anybody,” he said “Explain to me how they are going to judge who gets a permit? The market should decide who gets a permit by how many coins they drop in their hat.”

Mather's ends his song with a call to action for the five councillors who approved the changes.

“Remember on election day who should go and who should stay.”

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