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Temple Bar residents: "We're not anti-busker but bands are now in a nuclear arms race"

“Twelve years ago, it was bongos, now it’s generators and drum kits.”

Image: PA Archive/Press Association Images

TEMPLE BAR RESIDENTS have welcomed Dublin City Council’s work in drafting new bye-laws for buskers in the area – but say they are concerned at the idea of a complete ban.

The residents’ association wants to see regulations put in place by local authorities, but that does not necessarily require a ban, they say.

The council is due to vote on draft bye-laws next week which could see buskers moved from Temple Bar to Grafton Street.

The new rules would ban buskers from both the GPO and the entire Temple Bar area, if passed.

“Residents have been calling for regulation for busking for years but we would not be in favour of an outright ban,” said the group’s secretary Declan O’Brien.

He told TheJournal.ie that the situation had escalated over the 12 years he has been living in the quarter.

“We’ve seen the musical equivalent of a nuclear arms race as bands use bigger and louder amplifiers and full scale drum kits to dominate spaces.

“Twelve years ago, we had bongos, now we have acts employing portable generators enabling them to play for up to eight hours.”

O’Brien and other residents say they are actually trying to stand up for the “traditional acoustic busker”, as well as themselves and local businesses.

Buskers are integral to the spirit of the area, but the past few years has seen a prevalence of bands using excessive amplification and percussion.

“A good busker is one of the perks of living in the area, but the large scale bands that have appeared over the past few years are making them a dying breed.”

Instead of a complete ban, the residents would like to see amps and drums prohibited and a limit put on the use of trumpets, tubas, trombones and other brass instruments.

They have also called for busking to be confined to designated areas such as Crown Alley, Meeting House Square and Temple Bar Square between the hours of noon and 10pm.

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The laws drafted by the council – and to be voted on next week – would mean buskers would have to apply for a €30 permit to perform in the city centre. The cost would increase by €60 for permission to use amplification.

The proposed bye-laws, seen by TheJournal.ie, would also ban all busking from the city centre after 11pm except on Grafton Street. On that thoroughfare, singing and playing will be allowed until 1am on Saturdays and Sundays.

If passed, buskers will have to move at least 250 metres every two hours and they will not be allowed to reserve areas.

Reaction to the possible ban was greeted with criticism on social media yesterday.

DailyEdge.ie: 8 things about Temple Bar that are more of a problem than the cobblestones

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