Just One Bagpiper
Have you seen this gentleman playing the bagpipes at Granville Island? If and when you do: pay him your respects. Maybe drop a couple of heavy coins in his case. He is, after all, the one and only bagpiper allowed to busk on Granville Island this year.
One licence per year is available for bagpipers, we learn on the Granville Island Busking site. Performance locations are limited to The Keg, Ocean Artworks, the Ferry Landing and the Public Market Courtyard. Ocean Artworks is only available for bagpiping on weekends and holidays.
‘Busking,’ the Oxford Dictionary tells us, is ‘playing music in the street or other public places for donations.’ Granville Island is busking central for Vancouver, but not just anyone can pull out a flute and plonk down a hat. These artists have been through orientation tours, auditions and competitive licensing.
Amplified flute licences are first- come first- served. Brass instruments and didgeridoos can play at outdoor locations only. Accordions, hand and kit drums may or may not be location-limited. Strings cannot play back to back at any one location, steel drums are out and statue artists will be reviewed on a case by case basis.
There will be no busking licences for psychics or tarot card readers. Nor for roving artists, face-painters, portrait artists, painters, craftspeople..
If you are interested in busking on Granville Island, here are the details for the next busking year, which starts in May:
If you’re a merry passerby, you might spare a coin for those dogged buskers who made it through.
Written by Elizabeth Newton