Busker stations aim to bring more life to Sydney’s downtown

The Sydney Downtown Development Association is hoping a new busker program will drum up more visitors to the Cape Breton city’s downtown.

Ten spaces have been designated for use by buskers over a stretch of five blocks on Charlotte Street.

Michelle Wilson is the association’s executive director.

“Business goes where the people are, so we’re trying to attract people down through this busker program,” she said. “Its a fun and high-energy environment, so the more people that come down, potential business owners and entrepreneurs might see that and decide they want to open a business downtown.”

Signs outside the designated busking stations explain the rules. (Brent Kelloway/CBC)

The busker stations are available for anyone to use as long as they are respectful of the rules, which include no amplified music, offensive behaviour or blocking the sidewalk.

Buskers are encouraged to open their instrument cases to collect tips from spectators.

Ed Gillis, owner of Ed’s Books and More on Charlotte Street, says he thinks the busker program will attract more people to Sydney’s downtown. (Tom Ayers/CBC)

The association is encouraging people to use the hashtag #downtownsydneybusks so artists and spectators can share performances on social media.

The stations were set up in front of businesses where the association was given the OK from the business owner.

Ed Gillis is the owner of Ed’s Books and More on Charlotte Street. He said he’s allowed a friend to busk in front of the store before. He has a busker station in front of his shop.

“We’ll get some people down here performing, it’ll definitely draw some people,” said Gillis. “It’s a good thing.”