When selecting buskers, the Market Team takes the following factors into account:

  • Quality of performance. In order to ensure that busking on site improves the market day experience for both the public and vendors, we will look to engage vendors who can provide a full and varied repertoire that avoids repeating sounds, songs, or music, that are of good quality and complement the space and overall market experience. Providing examples of your work in your application form is really appreciated by the marketing team
  • Overall variety of performers. For both customers and buskers sharing the site on market day, a variety of performance is beneficial, both for improving experience and for allowing buskers to attract a larger audience. When selecting buskers for a market day, we look to have multiple different types of performers at any one time. This may mean that if 5 guitarists all apply for the same day, we can only accommodate 1 or 2, leaving space for other performance types. We work to ensure that anyone who applies gets a spot in the following weeks if we cannot provide their first chosen date.
  • How the act fits the space. Not every busking zone in the market is a fit for every type of performance. For example, a musician using amplification would not be a fit for a crowded indoor corridor, or a children’s entertainer might be a great fit for the food court, but not for the lower market hall. The Market team will work with performers to find a performing zone that works for them, and vendors must be understanding as to why certain locations may not be a fit for their particular act.

When buskers have applied and received their dates and location for performance, we do ask that they review and meet the following guidelines for performance in the space.

1. Safety first

All buskers and street entertainers should be confident that both they and their performance is safe for those enjoying the performance. This means that:

  • You must ensure that no one can trip over your equipment, and you must never leave equipment unattended
  • No naked flame, pyrotechnics, fireworks, knives, sharp objects or anything similar should be used as part of the performance 
  • No animals other than licensed service animals should accompany the busker or street entertainer.
  • Market and City of Kitchener Staff and Bylaw officers may at times ask that you adjust your performance or move locations in the event of an emergency, public disorder, planned events, or to prevent a nuisance from being caused. Performers must work to cooperate with these requests in a manner that meets the expectations set out in the Performer Code of Conduct
  • You should co-operate with any such reasonable requests, however if you have any concerns about a specific request, you should engage the Kitchener Market management team to discuss it.

2. Performance hours

All busking and street entertainment should only take place between the outlined in your booked busking slot. As standard on Saturdays this is between 8am and 1:30 p.m., subject to changes outlined by the Kitchener Market team. Buskers performing at other events e.g. a mid-week night market, will receive their hours of performance when their booking is confirmed, and must abide by them.

3. Ensuring that a performance in positively impacting the space

Buskers and street entertainers should take all reasonable steps to make sure their performance does not adversely impact those around them. This means:

  • sound as a result of any performance does not cause nuisance to persons in nearby property or to vendors and customers on site
  • if you use an amplifier this should never be powered with any external power sources, for example extra battery packs or generators
  • Buskers must only perform within the zone allotted to them for the day of their performance. These zones have been chosen in consultation with vendors and visitors to ensure that performance enriches the space and does not impede vendor business, and to prevent the clashing of multiple performances situated too close to each other.
  • A single ‘set’ should not be longer than 40 minutes and there should be a 20-minute break before the next ‘set’, to provide downtime throughout the day for nearby vendors.
  • You should respect other buskers and street entertainers and cooperate with them, and the market team should any issue arise.

4. Avoiding Obstructions

Buskers and street entertainers should make sure their performance and audience does not cause an obstruction to pedestrians, road users and neighbouring premises. This means that:

  • You should never block any entrances, market aisles or exits to premises, and no pedestrians should spill out onto the road to get past you or your audience. An obstruction is likely to be caused if a wheelchair or double pushchair cannot comfortably move past
  • You should stop your performance or ask Kitchener Market staff to help you take steps to control your audience if they cause an obstruction. If your attempts to relieve the audience from causing an obstruction do not work, you should cease your performance

6. Sale of merchandise and services

As part of the City of Kitchener buskers’ licence, buskers are permitted to display, offer for sale and sell audio recordings of their performance, as well as accept financial donations from their audience

You are not, however, permitted to sell other items, such as merchandise (hats, T-shirts etc.) or services. If you do wish to sell other goods or services, you would need to pay an additional artisan vendor fee to allow you to operate as a vendor as well as a busker. Here are some examples:

  • A musical performer sets up a table with CDs of their music for sale. This would be permitted under their licence
  • A clown is performing on the Piazza and is giving away balloon animals and offering face painting as part of the act. Parents can choose to donate, but there is no fee associated with the giveaway. This would be permitted under their licence.
  • The same clown comes back next week and offers balloon animals, but this time they are for sale for $3 each, and face-painting for $5. This would not be permitted unless they paid an additional artisan vendor fee, as these items are now considered products.

If you are unsure whether aspects of your offering would fall outside of your permitted abilities, please contact the Kitchener Market Team and we will be happy to figure it out with you!

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