News 02 Nov 12

Belgrade Vows to Keep Street Music Alive

City hall promises new regulations allowing buskers to keep performing, following an outcry over a recent clampdown.

24 sata
Belgrade

After police clamped down on street musicians busking in Belgrade, the city authorities have promised to find a solution to allow them to continue playing and entertaining the public in peace.

“The city will consider how to resolve their status primarily by defining who street musicians are and what may be the easiest way to issue them permits,” a city hall spokesperson told the daily 24 sata.

As the status of numerous street musicians and performers has not been regulated, police have been applying a municipal order that prohibits the sale of goods or other activities outside authorised facilities.

In mid-October, dozens of street musicians who had played for years in the city’s busiest street, Knez Mihailova, were banned from doing so and told they risked being reported as beggars.

Belgraders then launched a petition, urging the city to regulate their status while many famous singers expressed solidarity with the street musicians.

“Street musicians are the heart of all big European cities. We hope that their status will be changed and that the authorities will stop treating them as offenders,” the petition said.

The city press office explains that in order to regulate the status of street musicians, the city must first change the municipal order and then work together with the city municipalities to implement the decision.

“We need to determine the locations and timing [of buskers] and other aspects relating to public order. The city will certainly help to resolve this issue,” the office stated.

Some street musicians have in the past obtained near-celebrity status, such as the three children of the Piler family.

Danijel Piler, who is 18, plays the accordion, while his younger brother and sister play the violin.

In 2009, they won Serbia’s I got talent competition and today all three have deserted the streets of Belgrade for studies in the Prayner conservatory in Vienna.

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