Posts Tagged ‘portland’

Event: Market Q’s Weekly Farmers Market Needs Buskers

May 21, 2011

Every Saturday this summer from May 7th – September 3rd (with the exception of July 9th; Mississippi’s Street Fair weekend)  the Q Center on 4115 N Mississippi Ave is hosting a farmer’s market from 9am – 2pm.

This endeavor has been about bringing everyone together… I have been working with nonprofits, small businesses, farms, individuals, community members, neighborhood advocates, and others are showing interest daily. I wanted this to be a chance to provide a service for our Mississippi Ave neighborhood and create a sense of community that could be felt regardless of whether one was LGBTQ, straight, or simply an ally. The support I have received from Portland has been remarkable and I am thrilled that this is my new home...” says Ali Williams, Founder & Operations Manager.

They have lots of goodies, and things will really start going in June once the veggies are ready to be harvested. This Saturday, for instance, they will have fresh coffee and some breakfast treats, as well as honey, spinach, onions, potatoes, cilantro, asparagus, salsas, hummus, soups, whole grain flour, oats, grits, tamales, vegan cheese, eggs, baked goods. Much more in the upcoming weeks.

They are looking for some folks interested in playing between 10-2.  With shade available, most of the time there will be access to a space under a roll up garage, or of course playing in the sunshine is always an option. They have electricity if you need it, but would love an acoustic set.

The best part? They welcome all genres of music and are happy to cross promote you or your band on all of their social media and print press.

If interested in performing, please contact Ali Williams, Founder & Operations Manager at or (479) 799-5086


Meet the Buskers: Artemas Rex

May 20, 2011

Today as I was walking through the Northern Park Blocks in downtown Portland I was fortunate enough to run into a busker, who I would later learn is named “Artemas Rex”. As a rule, I always carry my recorder and a mic on me just in case I stumble across a unique sound; such as Artemas. So, I pulled out my device and began recording.

After Aretmas had finished playing, he mentioned something that was quite revealing about performing live for an audience in park. He said, “You know, I have never really thought this through or even said it out-loud, but I would rather perform live than make a record.” Continuing on Artemas said, “You can record something and have a person listen to it 10 times, but the same feeling you get when you listen to it live just isn’t there. When I play live, the sounds just disappear, but with a recording, they are captured forever.” In my mind, this was profound as it implies that the connection between the audience and the performer just isn’t there when a recording stand between the two.

To me that is a challenge to make the media experience as real as possible, one day leading to something as genuine as the original sound. Having now recorded well over 1000 hours of audio, I am beginning to come to the point where I enjoy the rawest format possible. Meaning, even though a WAV file is larger than an MP3, the quality of sound that is captured is so vastly different. It isn’t the role of the recording artist to manipulate the sound, it’s their job to make it as close to the original as possible.

Article: Sidewalk use and musicians part of the larger code of courtesy

May 4, 2011

by Amanda Fritz, Contributing Writer
Posted in Street Roots May 3, 2011

Bucket drums, violins, trumpets, and keyboards: the sounds of a typical, vibrant day on the streets of Downtown Portland.  Beautiful. Yet imagine you are a worker in a nearby store or office, or a retired resident on the lower floors of an apartment building, listening to the same performer playing the same sets over and over, all day every day. Not so much fun, perhaps. Back in 1994, musicians, community members, business leaders and government agencies sat down together and created the Street Musician Agreement, seeking to maintain Downtown’s unique musical culture while respecting that Downtown is home to residents, businesses and office jobs. It achieved a workable understanding between street musicians and other Downtown interests, so each would have their needs met.The Street Musician Agreement recognizes the needs of musicians and importance of music to Portland. To give access to each performer, the agreement asks musicians to: space themselves one block apart; rotate their location every 60 minutes to allow for everyone to enjoy prime locations; and to return to a location only twice in one day after a 60 minute break. Musicians should comply with Portland’s Noise Control ordinance, which states that noise should not be audible more than 100 feet away in any direction (including vertical).  Community members are asked to treat musicians with respect and not interrupt a musician in the middle of a number.

Downtown sidewalk use was a highly contentious issue when I took office.  In 2009, my first year, I led the dialogue and hosted public meetings to discuss the former “Sit-Lie” ordinance, seeking common ground on how everyone can share Portland’s sidewalks. While finding consensus is still difficult, the animosity in the debate significantly diminished after Portlanders had the opportunity to share ideas and life experiences with one another. Through the course of public involvement and information exchange, my city colleagues and I formulated a Sidewalk Management Plan addressing multiple uses of Downtown’s sidewalks. The ordinance includes an exclusion allowing street musicians to play on any part of any sidewalk, when they comply with the Street Musician Agreement. The Sidewalk Use process paved the way for other successful public policy and strategy discussions, including the Street Musician Agreement forum.

I hosted the forum on February in response to concerns I heard from community members and street musicians that the Agreement is no longer working as intended.  Some residents and workers experience musicians playing in the same location for hours. Bucket drummers often exceed the Noise Ordinance limits.  Musicians report being harassed.  As a result, musicians, business owners, residents and government employees attended the forum to discuss how to improve the Street Musician Agreement. Most participants concluded the Agreement was written in good spirit, and improvement efforts should be focused on educating everyone about its provisions. This column is part of that effort.

The Street Musician Agreement is not law. It is an agreement reached by members of the community working together: musicians, businesses, residents, law enforcement, and public servants. It trusts people to use good judgment, kindness and courtesy towards one another. The more we as Portlanders treat one another with respect and compassion, the better our City works.

Amanda Fritz is a Portland City Commissioner. This column was co-authored by Sara Hussein, who staffs the Sharing Public Sidewalks Advisory Group and the Street Musician Agreement review process. For more information, contact Sara at 503-823-3994 or

Better Late Than Never: Busking Season Check List

April 19, 2011

photo by photonfreak

I know that everyone in Portland is tired of talking about the weather. Really, as a busker, I’m tired of thinking about it.

With the promise of rain-free days ahead of us, I predict and insurgence of fair-weather street musicians emerging to take their corners for what will hopefully be a long and prosperous summer. The majority of buskers in Portland do not perform on the streets all winter long. Some of us have forgotten what it feels like to play without having mittens on. Here’s a little check-list that will hopefully remind you of what you’re all about.


  • A tarp or rain covering “just in case” to protect your instrument (if needed)
  • Tip receptacle
  • Layered clothing
  • Warm socks (’cause it’s still too cold to stand around in sandals!)
  • Business cards or similar contact info for listeners
  • A copy of the Street Musician Agreement  (just to prove you know what you’re doing)
  • Essentials, like extra strings or a tuner (if you need that sort of thing)
  • Bottle of water and/or a snack

If you have any questions or concerns, and definitely if you get harassed in the coming months, please contact PDXBusk.ORG by phone or e-mail on this page!

We also love to hear success stories and happy, pretty things too. Send us that kind of stuff as well.

Street Musician Agreement Frequently Asked Questions

February 18, 2011

From the Office of Commissioner Amanda Fritz

What is the Street Musician Agreement?
The Street Musician Agreement (SMA) was created in 1994 by a coalition of street musicians, local businesses, government officials, and residents in an effort to maintain livability in Downtown Portland, while encouraging music on Downtown’s vibrant streets.

What parts of town does the SMA apply to?
The SMA only applies to Downtown Portland.  This includes the area encompassed by I-405, the Willamette River, and West Burnside Street.

What are the guidelines that musicians should follow as a part of the agreement?
According to the agreement, musicians should:

  • Attempt to space themselves a minimum of one block apart;
  • Rotate their location every 60 minutes (not including set up and take down time) to allow for everyone to enjoy prime locations;
  • Return to a location twice in one day after a 60 minute break, if desired; and
  • Comply with Portland’s Noise Control ordinance, which states that noise should not be audible more than 100 feet away in any direction (including vertical)

What are the guidelines that the Downtown retail, business, and residential community should follow as a part of the agreement?
According to the agreement, the retail, business, and residential community should:

  • Not interrupt a musician in the middle of a number;
  • Be professional and courteous when speaking to a musician and not resort to threats or intimidation; and
  • Abide by the Police or mediator in the event of a dispute with a street musician.

If someone violates a part of the SMA, is this is a violation?
No. The only enforceable law is the Noise Ordinance, which states that a noise source cannot be audible more than 100 feet away.  The remainder of the agreement is community guidelines.

Who can enforce the Noise Ordinance?
Only Portland Police officers and the City of Portland’s Noise Control officer may enforce the Noise Ordinance and issue violations.

Where can I get connected to the street musician and street performer community in Portland?
PDX Busk ( ) is a great resource for musicians and performers that live in Portland or are just traveling through Portland.  Their mission is, “to create community through music, musicians and other street performers.”  Additionally, The Big Busk, a music festival for Downtown Portland, will take place this year on July 16, 2011.  For more information on this event, visit their website at

Where can I find a copy of the agreement?
The full agreement can be found here: