Whitby to allow street music in designated areas this summer

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Published June 15, 2021 at 8:06 pm

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There will be music in the streets of Whitby this summer – albeit for 15 minutes at a time – as the Town, in collaboration with the Ontario Musicians Cooperative, will be allowing street entertainers to play for tips in three designated locations.

The musicians will be performing in 15-minute pop-up sessions at locations at Port Whitby (Whitby Pier and Heydenshore Park); Downtown Whitby (Celebration Square and Rotary Park) and Downtown Brooklin (Grass Park Pavilion and Landmark Square). All designated performing spots will be public lands owned by the Town.

According to a staff report, these locations provide “ample room” for audiences to listen in a physically distanced space. In addition, 15-minute pop-up performances ensure that no large gatherings occur.

Staff will ensure proper signage is provided (A-frame signs) that convey COVID messaging. For the 2021 season, Ontario Musicians Cooperative will also be providing a COVID Ambassador for each performer to assist with supervision, crowd control and public education.

The musicians will only be able to play during three-hour periods on Fridays (5 p.m. to 8 p.m.), Saturdays (Noon to 3 p.m.) and Sundays (Noon to 3 p.m.). All musicians will have auditioned with the Barrie-based musician’s group before they would be selected to perform.

Whitby Councillor Maleeha Shahid said she was “very excited” to see the program in action. “They bring so much energy to the Town.”

The Town has secured a $5,000 sponsorship from Elexicon to support the costs of the 2021 pilot program. The funds will assist with the printing of A-frame signage for each musician; the purchasing of t-shirts for each performer and the COVID Ambassadors; printing of identification badges; and sound and production support.

An exemption to the Town’s Public Nuisance by-law will need to be passed by Whitby Council to permit the performances.

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