Celebrating self-expression as a basic human right essential for the

healthy growth of youth, individuals and communities


Stephen H. Baird, Founder and Executive Director

PO Box 300112, Jamaica Plain, MA 02130-0030

Tele: 617-522-3407 TTY/MA RELAY 800-439-2370



Like the FaceBook page for blog updates on news alerts, court cases and legal battles at


Introduction and Services

Links, Festivals and References

Artists Directory

Photo-Journalism Project

Performance Locations Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, and the Americas

Historical References

Books and References

Fine Arts Paintings, Photographs and Films

Legal Court Citations

Model Regulations

Sidewalk Democracy: Regulation of Public Space

The Malling of America: The Selling of America's Public Parks and Streets

India's Street and Transit Music

Avenues of Self Expression

Code of Ethics

Amplification Ethics

Subway Transit Artists

Women Street Performers and Sexual Safety

Email List

Stephen Baird's Home Page

Women Buskers of Boston

(Detailed site index at bottom of page)


Tracking a Path Across the Globe to Interview, Photograph,

Film, and Discover the Life and Motivations of the World’s Street Artists!


“Busking the System” follows the real-life journeys of three talented young singer/songwriter guitarists who come from around the U.S. to pursue their passion as “buskers” – or street performers – in the bustling New York City subway system. Film by Connecticut director/producer Justin Michael Morales, Coolhand Pictures http://www.coolhandpictures.com.

Eureka, California Busker Oscar Leatherman challenges anti solicitation law in Federal Court on September 28, 2017

Las Vegas Street Performers win 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Decision May 24, 2017 for arrest for requesting contributions and tips

Chicago Michigan Ave. Ban and Inaudible at 20 feet Volume Restriction City Council Hearing February 22, 2017

Boston proposes new Street Performers Regulation April, 2016 Hearing May3rd at 1:30 PM

NYC pays $100,000 settlement to Subway Buskers for wrongful arrests April 2016

Dublin Street Performers Fight New Restrictions 2015

Rhode Island ACLU sues City of Providence to stop arrest and harassment of street sax player Manuel Pombo July 2015 and
Wins financial settlement plus the right to perform and receive contributions without a permit Jan 2016

Costa Rica - Supreme Court rules San Josť busking permits unconstitutional April 2015

Petition Supporting Key West Sunset Street Performers - A Private Management company has proposed $100 per day permit fee that will essentially ban performances.  Petition created by Will Soto

How This Musician Made Seattle Street Performing Legal 40 Years Ago  by Gabriel Spitzer,  KPIU 88.5 FM NPR September 8, 2014

Washington DC Metro: Court Orders Metro Authorities to Allow ‘Busker’ Street Musician to Continue Performing at DC Metro Stations  above ground  "Free Zone" entrances, August 15, 2014

Robin Williams, former Street Mime and Oscar Award winning actor and comedian dies August 11, 2014

Santa Fe City Council proposes new time restrictions on Busking February 2014

Santa Cruz begins crackdown on street performers February 2014

New Orleans City Council considers new Noise Ordinance that would reduce sound level to 60 dB that would ban music in public spaces Dec 2013 then withdraw ordinance January 16, 2014

Two Performers with support from ACLU of Eastern Missouri  Challenge the Audition System, High Permit Fees and Performance Location Restrictions in Saint Louis, MO May 2013

New York City Curtails Street Performers and Street Artists in City Parks 2010-2011

Arrest and legal actions of Chris Drew for selling art on streets of Chicago December 2009. ACLU challenges Illinois eavesdropping act - Lawsuit cites cases of people charged with breaking the law for making audio recordings of police in action August 2010

Spokane Legal Battle Won January 11, 2010 and November 24, 2008

Ninth Circuit Appeals Federal Court Case won 8-3 Berger vs. Seattle June 24, 2009

Glen Hansard, a former Dublin busker, with singer Marketa Irglova win the 2008 Oscar and Grammy for the best song Falling Slowly

Wilmington, North Carolina, Law and Enforcement Practices Ruled Unconstitutional November 3, 2008

Boston Crack Down on Street Performers and Artists August 2008

MBTA-Radio Threatens Subway Performances Oct 2007

Jakarta, Indonesia bans donations to buskers September 2007

Kansas City Council attempts to ban street performances February 2007

Please explore this internet research and information center on the Street Arts and Buskers traditions. The index above will lead you to historical references, court cases, regulations, performance locations and links. Also, there is an artists data base listing street and vaudeville artists in the Greater Boston area and the world. There is a detailed index at the bottom of each page.

The Street Arts & Buskers Advocates publishes model street performance ordinances, court decisions on street artists' rights, lists of traditional street performance locations throughout the world, maintains an internet web site and provides educational workshops, artists referrals and street festival production consultation.

The streets arts are dynamic and constantly changing. This site is only one gateway to this world. Please forward comments, corrections, and ideas back this way. The information is only as good as we share it.

This information has been published for over four decades now. Many copies are sent to national news organizations, libraries, arts councils and legal clinics free of charge as part of the advocacy to expand the public support of the street arts. Please support this effort by becoming a member or making a donation on form below or online through the secure sites Social Seam or Paypal on the links below. Many thanks.

Stephen Baird, Street Arts and Buskers Advocates

Statement of Purpose

Street Arts and Buskers Advocates cultivates ongoing fundamental relationships between artists and communities by celebrating self-expression as a basic human right essential for the healthy growth of youth, individuals and communities.

Street Arts and Buskers Advocates is a program of Community Arts Advocates, Inc., a nonprofit organization dedicated to expanding public awareness, participation in and support of the arts through performances and festivals, exhibits and workshops, publications and publicity, educational forums, nonprofit arts management consultation services, and collaborative projects.

Background on Street Arts and Buskers Advocates

Street Performers Festival at Faneuil Hall Marketplace in Boston,

created in 1984, with consultant work by Stephen Baird

founder of the Street Arts and Buskers Advocates

Background on Stephen Baird

Stephen H. Baird is the founder and director of Street Arts and Buskers Advocates and Community Arts Advocates. He has over four decades of performances, arts advocacy and grassroots arts administration experience.

Stephen Baird restructured Club Passim, the historic folk music venue in Cambridge, as a nonprofit organization in 1995-97. He co-founded the Bread & Roses Festival in Lawrence in 1986, founded and directed the Folk Arts Network from 1982-96, published the New England Folk Almanac and New England Folk Directory from 1982-1996. He produced Jamaica Plain Open Studios and directed the Jamaica Plain Arts Council from 1999-2001.

Stephen Baird has been featured in Time, Newsweek, People, National Law Review, American Bar Association Journal and many other national magazines, a PBS documentary, a Discovery Channel documentary, and at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC.

Visit these web pages for video clips, media reviews and appearance list, plus lectures and performance programs for festivals, universities and schools: Stephen Baird's Home Page


"Stephen Baird is the national authority on the history of busking"

- Patty Campbell, Passing the Hat: Street Performers in America


"But none has honored his roots--or his audience--

as fondly as the man street players now call

'the Dean.' Good show."

- People Magazine

Stephen Baird in "Street Art" from documentary film series America!

Black Light Films, Louis Schwartzberg, 1999


The Street Arts and Buskers Advocates publishes model street performance ordinances, court decisions on street artists' rights, lists of traditional street performance locations throughout the world, and provides educational workshops, artist referrals and festival production consultations.



State____Zip Code_______________________

Country ________________________________



Web Site: _______________________________

Artist members should include a performance description, rates and a photograph or jpg image for inclusion in the artists referral files. Make checks payable to Community Arts Advocates and send to:

Street Arts and Buskers Advocates

Community Arts Advocates, Inc.

P.O. Box 300112

Jamaica Plain, MA 02130-0030

Donations can be made by credit card at the on line secure site Social Seam and you can receive discounts to area stores, coffee shops and services at
https://socialseam.org/fundraisers/157  or click on the Social Seam logo below:

 Donations can also be made to Community Arts Advocates, Inc.

 by credit card at the on line secure site Paypal, please put Buskers Advocates in the memo field.

 Click on the button below for direct access.

For additional information call:

617-522-3407 or email:



Street Arts and Buskers Advocates

For translations into different languages -- Arabic, Chinese, Italian, French, German, Russian, Spanish or others visit the web site: http://babel.altavista.com  

Community Arts Advocates

Copyright © 1999-2018 by Stephen Baird