Let’s Hear It For The Buskers




Sam Mardar (above), bassist with Dublin band Keywest, writes:

The public consultation for the new and very unfair rules the council are potentially imposing on  Dublin buskers is over this Friday at midday. We decided to fly back yesterday from our single promo in the UK to help rally the cause with our old Dublin busker friends

We’ve learn’t a lot about what can be done by the public in these situations after working closely with keepstreetslive organisation who saved busking in a lot of cities in Britain.

We don’t busk here in Ireland anymore and haven’t done for a while! but we really don’t want to see Dublin lose its street performance charm! Public consultation is on Friday, you can submit a submission and have your say here.

Sam Marder (Facebook)

62 thoughts on “Let’s Hear It For The Buskers

  1. ahyeah

    We’re in danger of losing buskers like Keywest from our streets? That’s a danger I’ll happily embrace.

    1. The Old Boy

      I agree with this. I don’t particularly care is a busker is rubbish, but amplification and backing tracks are anathema. It would give the chap with the bagpipes a bit of an advantage, but that’s fine with me.

  2. lolly

    the standard of Dublin busking, especially on Grafton Street, is appalling. Nothing charming about it – e.g the awful violin guy, the terrible sax player, to name just 2. They should definitely be made audition and amps should not be so loud that they fill the street.

    1. Dόn 'The Unstoppable Force' Pídgéόní

      Did you know that those sand dog guys don’t even make the dogs? They just tinker with them.


        1. Dόn 'The Unstoppable Force' Pídgéόní

          And you don’t see those statue guys as often – which is fine by me because I hate them but where did they all go?

          1. Dόn 'The Unstoppable Force' Pídgéόní

            When they bang the box they are standing on, I get a fright and crap me pants.

  3. Hank

    In the first paragraph, he manages to casually slip in that his band have been over in the UK promoting a new single and, in the 3rd paragraph, he implies that for the last while his band have been too big to be caught dead busking in Ireland.
    Who are KeywestLife?

  4. Paul

    “We’ve learn’t a lot about what can be done by the public in these situations ”
    But they’ve obviously not learned how to spell the word ‘learned’.

    Anyway, who the hall are Keywest? Or should I even care?

    1. f_lawless

      Says the man who can’t spell ‘hell’! And there’s nothing wrong with the spelling; just an unnecessary apostrophe. Let me guess, you learnt your English in th US?

  5. Nilbert

    Before I saw where this came from, I was thinking ‘I don’t like this idea, but I’ll sleep easier if these new rules keep KeyWest off the streets’.
    I’m not a begrudger, but the horror of having to pass these insipid sub-Coldlay gits everyday was destroying my will to live. Grafton was indeed, not a wonderland – there was not magic in the air.

    It was beyond a joke. I could just about handle the blandly throbbing music with its ‘epic rousing’ bits. But that whiney simpering voice with the Ronan Keatingsh shibbilansh was beyond my endurance threshold.

    One day I heard him singing Raglan Road. A little piece of me died that day.

    1. Stephen

      Excellent. These are probably the guys taking ads in Irish newspapers complaining about not getting radio play

  6. Weedless

    Based on my experience living in a couple of UK cities the quality of buskers in general is much higher in Dublin. Especially on Grafton St.

  7. Aoife

    Good initiative, but I think you shouldn’t have to tick every single box on the form. I have no problem with them banning amps, but I couldn’t submit the form without ticking it. I used to busk and having to pay for an amp to compete. Might put young people off who just want to give it a go. As well as it being much less irritating if someone’s style of music is not to your tastes.

  8. Tish Mahorey

    The sand dog. That awful sand dog.

    And that accordion man.

    And the break-dancers who take up the width of the street.

    And the junkie rappers.

    1. The Old Boy

      I wonder why the local peelers don’t move the damn break-dancers and their audiences along for obstructing the way. It’s not as though Grafton Street has plenty of room spare on a busy afternoon.

    2. scottser

      actually, i always like the junkie rapper with the vocal beat box guy. they were pretty talented. the two empty coke bottle drummer guy deserves a wedgie though.

  9. Grouse

    We have a very different perspective on this! Dublin City specifically lost its street performance charm when large, amplified bands became commonplace. I’m trying to find an actual link to the new rules the council are imposing, but can’t from this post.

    Essentially if they’re banning amplification then I agree, but there should certainly be room for face painters, dancers, magicians etc (which the video suggests the new rules will eliminate?).

    1. Grouse

      Found a list of the amendments on Dublin City Council’s website. It’s all looking okay to me.

      I assume what the band above are most concerned about is the amendment:

      “Add a Bye-Law: “Dance troupes, circle acts and bands of more that three members may not perform at any time on Grafton Street between the junction at Nassau Street/Suffolk Street and the junction at South King Street/St. Stephen’s Green.””

      Which would ban them from their usual haunt entirely. I’d still support it, though. Sorry, guys!

        1. Grouse

          I don’t disagree, now that you bring up those distinct categories. It’s complicated! It’s a pity that the spokesgroup is so emblematic of the kind of performers I’d prefer to see less of.

  10. Harry Molloy

    yeah, Key West are a pain, always take up so much of the street and they’re all about their hair.

    One of my favourite buskers is a chap on Henry street, weather beaten lookin fella in his 40s, may or may not like the aul skag, but he has a great voice.

    And Baldy McDonagh of course…

  11. fluffybiscuits

    Some of them are good and some of them are bad, it adds to Dublin. Look its not a bunch of artists whinging about the cost of their smithfield complex where they do modern avant garde art going up, in my eyes this is something that we should be addressing more…

    1. Grouse

      You really have a chip on your shoulder about art, don’t you? Was your Junior Cert art teacher particularly hard on your shading or something?

  12. Kevin

    There should also be a limit as to how many are on Grafton st at one time. Battling your way passed a crowd, watching a dance troupe that have already squared off half the street, only to face the exact same thing ten steps later is a pain in the arse (yes, first world problems and all that). They should be stationed at the Stephen’s green end as a rule. Plenty of space up there. Also support the ban on amplifiers. With so many it just turns into white noise.

    1. scottser

      it depends on the amp. a couple of watts is grand to be heard just over conversation level. i play a mandolin through a wee fender micro-twin for pub trad sessions and it just about keeps up with a fiddle or accordian and general conversation noise. anything bigger just isn’t necessary:


  13. Wayne Carr

    I think we should ban all colour from Grafton Street. We’ve already dulled the path. Now we should silence the street.

    Next step should be to put lanes in place, to segregate fast and slow walkers. Anyone who drops below a certain pace should be snipped off by highly trained marksmen situated on the roofs of key, strategic buildings.

    Nah, maybe that’s too much actually.

    1. pedeyw

      I would support a separate lane for little old ladies with umbrellas, though; they’ll take your eye out.

  14. Termagant

    Just lash up some basic poll site on the web somewhere. Run votes week on week, let the public decide who gets to play on public streets.

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