On The Street
Since I've moved to Claremont, I've seen lots of musicians playing on the street. You've probably seen them too. They're the two guys playing acoustic guitar and singing songs in front of the yogurt shop; or the dude playing sax to a track of September by Earth, Wind & Fire; or the guy with the banjo in front of the bank. There are people playing on the street every week (maybe every day).

I've been writing a lot more lately, especially with Ableton, in a sort of gearing up manner to prepare for solo performances. I love playing with other musicians, but I don't often have a budget to do so, and so, I'm starting to really consider ways of performing solo with all of my tricks. Playing on the street is something I've thought about.

Unfortunately, I don't play a portable instrument (and I'm not considering melodica). I'm only really interested in playing keyboards alongside laptop. This requires considerable setup and amplification. Because of the workload involved, I wanted to make sure I was going about this the right way.

I looked in to getting a permit in Claremont for entertainment. Turns out, that's really just something businesses need to purchase, but not individuals, or more specifically, "cafe musicians." Yes, that's the legal term here in California. But I could't find any details online about getting permission to play on the street.

Eventually, I called the local police department to inquire. A lady answered and asked what I needed, and I explained that I was curious about getting a permit or permission to perform. She put me on hold to find the answers. When she came back, she asked if I wanted to block off a street for a concert, and I said no. I just wanted to play on the street for tips. She said hold on, and put me on hold. Finally, she came back and said, "I've got some answers." Great. "Musicians are not allowed to perform on the street." What? You can't be serious. "If you see musicians playing on the street, you can contact the police department, and we'll send out a unit to make them stop." Fail.

I guess I won't be playing on the street. Perhaps, that's for the better.