EDITORIAL: Performer licence plan no music to ears of many

What defines talent? How does one know if that person playing the guitar at the corner of Fourth and Victoria is any good?

If one person applauds and hands her a twoonie, is that validation of her talent? What if the next person walks away plugging his ears? Does that mean our guitarist is a lousy musician?

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Talent, like beauty, is in the eye (and ear) of the beholder, which makes a controversial plan by the city to licence buskers downtown all the more bewildering.

No sooner had KTW published the story in its April 10 print edition and online than the comments began pouring in. And pour in they did, with our Facebook page logging 186 comments as of yesterday afternoon — virtually all condemning the licensing idea.

The intent is clear. The city wants to differentiate between actual performers and panhandlers.

But the question arises: Can a homeless person playing music for donations be considered any different than a person with an address performing for the same reason?

Under the proposal, which has yet to go to council, approved performers would be vetted by the Kamloops Art Council and be required to pay $40 for the right to use city streets as their stage.

Like the overwhelming majority on our Facebook page decried the idea, Coun. Mike O’Reilly — who owns a coffee shop on Victoria Street — was equally skeptical.

“I don’t mind somebody juggling to try and make a little bit of money instead of going and breaking into a car,” he said.

Based on the response to the proposal, don’t be surprised to see the idea modified significantly or scrapped altogether.

© Kamloops This Week

 


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