No fees for buskers in Ottawa LRT stations, city says

LRT stations
LRT stations

The City of Ottawa opened applications Monday for performers interested in entertaining riders along the LRT line – a gig that won’t leave buskers pinching pennies to break even on the permit.

Musicians can now apply to OC Transpo’s busking program for a chance to perform at LRT stations along the Confederation Line. The opportunity falls under the city’s music strategy, which aims to promote local performers and boost Ottawa’s overall arts industry.

Buskers will be accepted to the city’s program in annual cohorts. Applications are open now until March 27, with 2020 programming expected to begin later this spring.

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Buskers won’t have to pay any fees for permits to perform at the stations, according to a statement from Ottawa transit director Pat Scrimgeour. Buskers in other major metropolises such as Toronto and Vancouver are asked to pay fees before securing a permit to perform.

Some locations in Ottawa do require performers to pay for permits, such as the ByWard Market, where buskers pay $10 for day permits plus $50 for a full-year licence. Ottawa Markets, the organization that oversees the downtown tourist destination, rescinded a policy in 2018 that required buskers to have insurance on top of their permits.

Busking isn’t the only way the city plans to perk up LRT stations as the weather warms. Happy Goat Coffee secured a deal last September to set up shop in Tunney’s Pasture, Rideau, Hurdman and Blair stations along the Confederation Line starting this year.

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