Buskers Wanted: Fort Lauderdale Ramps Up Opportunities For Street Performers
The City of Fort Lauderdale is working to attract more buskers - or street performers - to the downtown area.
The City and its nighttime economy program have started hosting Busker Fairs on the Laura Ward Riverwalk Plaza. The city's second-ever Busker Fair is from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday.
Fort Lauderdale does have an ordinance regulating busker performances on its books. A permit costs $25 annually and needs to be renewed every month. But the city hasn't seen as many people as it would like apply - so it started the fairs.
"It's a way of activating the downtown area, creating some more excitement in the downtown," said Sarah Hannah-Spurlock, Fort Lauderdale's Nighttime Economy Manager, "[to] get people more interested to come downtown or to stay downtown in the evening hours."
At the fairs, which are a collaborative city effort with the Downtown Development Authority and Riverwalk Fort Lauderdale, acting troupes, artists and musicians perform sets for two hours. One of the city's goals is to imitate other strong city busker programs, like in Asheville, North Carolina, and Key West.
"I was going to play Dancing in the Moonlight, Blackbird and Royals by Lourde," said Cameron Cunningham, who is performing Friday. She's new to busking, and gave it a try after singing and playing guitar at open mic nights around Fort Lauderdale.
"You're just right out in front of the New River - so as people are coming off the water taxi it's a great 'welcome to Fort Lauderdale,'" she said.