City of Chilliwack waives busking fee until June 30

Busker Jackson Overend wails out one of his original tunes entertaining passersby at Five Corners in 2008. - Paul J. Henderson
Busker Jackson Overend wails out one of his original tunes entertaining passersby at Five Corners in 2008.
— image credit: Paul J. Henderson

Do you have a talent?

It’s the kind of thing that gets coaxed out of you at parties or picnics. Maybe it’s a guitar, a ukelele. Maybe you can juggle. Maybe you practise magic tricks, or write songs for two voices in the quiet of your bedroom.

Whatever it is, the City of Chilliwack wants you.

The street entertainer program is up and running for the third year in a row—and Carolyn Marleau, recreation and culture administrator for the City, crosses her fingers that it will be the best year yet.

They already have more applications than previous years, and are hoping to add even more to the stack. The usual $40 application fee has been waived until the end of the month, which Marleau says was just one way they attempted to rouse more interest in the project.

And the way she sees it, there’s more than enough room for anyone who wants to busk in downtown Chilliwack this summer.

“We have anything from solo acts to duets to a dixie jazz band,” Marleau says. “We’re open to jugglers, performance art—we had a magician for the last two years, and he was very well received.”

A few performers have had their applications approved already, but plenty of space remains in the program: performers have seven performance spots to choose from in the downtown, and are allowed to perform any day of the week between 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

The biggest challenge, Marleau says, is getting the community to engage with buskers—recognizing the distinct difference between the street performers and panhandlers.

“It takes a lot of time for them to hone their skills and get them to the talent level that they’re at,” Marleau says. “We’re hoping that people will take a moment, stop, listen to the talent, and maybe acknowledge it through a donation.”

Appreciating the summer performers is the first step towards ensuring the program continues.

After all, nothing announces the arrival of summer in downtown Chilliwack like the delicate strains of music floating between the leaves of the trees that line Wellington, above the clock tower and into the open air.

And with the weather growing warmer and more beautiful with every passing day, Marleau hopes downtown pedestrians will see the beauty both in summer and in the talent found in Chilliwack’s own back yard.


w More information about the program can be found at www.chilliwack.com/busker, or by calling 604-792-9311.

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