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Decatur Launches Program To Regulate Street Performers

The Boy Jones (left) and The Locksmyth perform during the Decatur Arts Festival.
The Boy Jones (left) and The Locksmyth perform during the Decatur Arts Festival.
Credit Jonathan Phillips / Decaturish
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The city of Decatur has launched a program to try to attract street performers. The Decatur City Commission approved the plan Monday night.

The program requires buskers register with the city for month-long, free permits. It also restricts the performance areas to parts of downtown Decatur and Oakhurst.

Performers will be required to stay at least 20 feet away from one another and at least 10 feet away from building entrances. They’ll also be restricted from blocking traffic and must follow Decatur’s noise ordinance.

But Mayor Patti Garrett said it’s meant to encourage the arts not reign them in.

“It is a promotion thing. We just thought it would add to the vibrancy of the arts culture in the city of Decatur,” she said.

Garrett said that culture brings in visitors who spend their money at Decatur shops and restaurants. That makes the program good for business.

“What we are hoping is that it will entice people to not only come to Decatur but stay longer and maybe walk in a business or a restaurant,” she said.

It’s also a way to support local artists. The program won’t bar performers from opening up their instrument cases or laying down their hats for tips.

The pilot program will expire at the end of the year.