Blog Details

Busking On Whyte Ave

Wednesday August 02 , 2017

Busking is an important aspect of our community's culture and spirit and plays a major role in the vibrancy of our unique area. In an effort to create a safe and profitable environment for buskers and businesses alike, the Old Strathcona Business Association in partnership with the City of Edmonton is launching a Busking Pilot Project! 

Starting Friday, July 7, 2017 an OSBA issued permit/registration will be required to busk in the designated pilot area. 

To pick up your FREE permit, drop into the OSBA office located at:

#402, 10314 Whyte Avenue | Monday-Thursday | 10am-2pm

P: 780-437-4182 | E: info@oldsrathcona.ca

What is busking?

Busking involves a person or group who provides street performances of music or other entertainment for public enjoyment! Buskers receive donations from patrons and guests of the area for the entertainment they provide.

Why the pilot?

The OSBA is committed to the development of a solid and mutually beneficial busking program that will positively impact the sustainability of our tourism main street. We will work with stakeholders to enhance busking best practices and to enforce current bylaws focusing on four key areas; location, noise, public risk, and performance.

The positive and negative results of this pilot will be studied for one year and the outcomes of the program will be used to develop both short and long-term busking program recommendations. It is the goal that these recommendations will be implemented in the 2018 busking season, beginning April 1, 2018.

Location: Buskers are responsible for ensuring that doorways, phone booths, bus stops, postal boxes, fire hydrants, licensed areas (such as patios and extended lobbies) and pedestrians are not blocked by their performance or audience. Busking on a street corner is discouraged, as it often results in the unsafe displacement of pedestrians into an intersection.

Noise: Buskers must adhere to the noise regulations outlined in the Community Standards Bylaw. Buskers are encouraged to consider their surroundings when choosing a busking location. They should expect to be informed of “closing time” in an entertainment zone by EPS and understand that noise complaints by businesses and residents will be investigated.

Public Risk: No aspect of a street performance can pose any danger or risk to the public. No equipment or props should be left unattended at any time.

Performance: Buskers must recognize that not everyone will appreciate a particular performance. In order to respect the universal right to enjoyment of our public spaces, a busker may be asked to move to a new location. A request to move may be made in instances of very loud or repetitive performances.

We ask that these, as well as all busking conditions of the area be followed and strongly encourage patrons and guests to donate to those buskers they find entertaining! 


Busking Conditions

The following specific busking conditions must be complied with in Old Strathcona; 

  1. Comply with direction of EPS and COE law enforcement officers and officials.
  2. No amplification can be used and your performance must not exceed a “reasonable” volume level of 75 decibels.
  3. Use of unsafe objects such as knives, large sticks, fire, etc., are prohibited.
  4. NO BUSKING within 10 meters of an intersection or 20 meters of a Hotel.
  5. Ensure that doorways, transit stops, boardwalks, and sidewalks are not blocked by you and/or your audience.
  6. No profanity or offensive content.

  7. Do not be under the influence of drugs or alcohol, zero tolerance applied. 
  8. Busking permitted between the hours of 10am to Midnight.

  9. Failure to comply may result in Busking privileges being removed. 

Festival & Events BLACKOUT DATES

NO BUSKING will be permitted in festivals and events licensed areas. 

Direct permission from an event organizer is required to busk inside of a licensed festival and event area of use.

Blackout Dates includes but is not limited to: 

  • Edmonton Pride Parade | Licensed Area: Whyte Avenue between 104 to 108 Street
  • Blues on Whyte Block Party | Licensed Area: Whyte Avenue between Gateway Blvd. and Calgary Trail | Date: July 2, 2017

  • Whyte Avenue Art Walk | Licensed Area: Whyte Avenue between 101 to 108 Street | Dates: July 7 - 9, 2017

*please note that above list is NOT inclusive

For more information about the Busking Blackout Dates please visit oldstrathcona.ca and click on Busking.


COE Bylaws

When busking, there are several City of Edmonton bylaws that are enforced to ensure that busking remains a positive part of our vibrant sidewalks.

  • A person shall not stand or be in any other position on a highway so as to obstruct the entrance to a building or to obstruct pedestrians or vehicles using the highway. -s. 60(1) of Bylaw 5590, the Traffic Bylaw
  • A person shall not crowd, jostle or harass any pedestrian on the highway. - s.61 of Bylaw 5590, the Traffic Bylaw
  • A person shall not climb or interfere with any: (a) traffic control device; or (b) item of street furniture. - s.63 of Bylaw 5590, the Traffic Bylaw
  • A person shall not cause or permit any noise that disturbs the peace of another individual. -s.14(1) of Bylaw 14600, the Community Standards Bylaw
  • A person shall not leave any garbage, litter or other refuse in a public place except in a receptacle designed and intended for such use. - s.4 of Bylaw14614, the Public Places Bylaw
  • A person shall not panhandle in an aggressive manner in any public place. - s.4.1(1) of Bylaw 14614, the Public Places Bylaw
  • A person shall not throw or propel an object, or act in any other way, in a public place that is reasonably likely to cause injury to another person or damage to property. - s.6 of Bylaw 14614, the Public Places Bylaw

Pilot Area

  • North & south sides of Whyte Avenue between 103rd and 106th Streets 

For more information, please contact the OSBA.