Are you wondering if you can take your performance to the streets of Las Vegas? Here’s what you need to know.
Buskers are allowed to perform in Las Vegas on the Strip and at the Fremont Street Pedestrian Mall.
There are a few rules that performers should be aware of before performing on Fremont Street. These rules are found in the Las Vegas Municipal Code, Sections 11.68.107 and 11.68.108.
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Fremont Street Busking Basics
A Permit is not required to busk in either location; however, registration is required to busk at the Fremont Street Pedestrian Mall. If you plan to busk on Fremont Street, you can register on the LasVegasNevada.gov website, in person on the Fremont Street Pedestrian Mall between 10:00 a.m. and 7:30 p.m., or in person during business hours at the City of Las Vegas DSC building located at 333 North Rancho Dr.
The 38 designated locations on Fremont Street are assigned by a daily lottery for two-hour time slots. These locations are large six feet wide circles.
There are only 190 time slots available each day. A lottery is held each night for spaces for the next day. Although there are 190 time slots available, all the time-slots may not be available for use if there are special events scheduled. Because of these limitations, it is critical that you sign up as early as possible if you want a designated location.
If you prefer not take place in the lottery, performers are not required to participate in the lottery. If a location is free after 3:00 p.m., any performer can use it. Overflow performance space is available right outside the Fremont Street Experience entrance.
Buskers are allowed to accept tips.
Busking is allowed between 3:00 p.m. and 1:00 a.m.
There is no fee to perform on the Strip or on Fremont Street.
Performers are not entitled to more than one registration regardless of the number of characters or acts performed.
Your registration is valid for 180 days.
Performers must display their registration forms at the perimeter of their designated location while performing.
What Information Is Needed To Complete The Registration Form
The registration form is simple and should only take a few minutes to complete. You will be asked to provide the city with the following basic information:
- your first and last name;
- the name of your group;
- the number of performers;
- you will have to create a password (be sure to create a secure password that you can easily remember);
- your birth date;
- your address;
- your email address;
- your cellphone number;
- you will need to designate up to 3 intended uses for the location – for this there are choices provided where you can check those that apply; there is also a place to choose “other” and provide a description if none of the listed uses applies; and
- there is a box for you to provide a list of characters that will be performed.
Be sure to fully complete the form to avoid any possibility of delaying your registration.
Busking On The Strip vs. Busking On Fremont Street
|The Strip||Fremont Street|
|Clark County||City of Las Vegas|
|License Required?||no license required|
no registration required
|no license required|
|Allowed Times||none designated||3:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m.|
|Assigned location?||No, buskers are |
by police officers
to keep moving
|Yes, by lottery|
Restrictions On Fremont Street Buskers In Las Vegas
There are some restrictions on buskers in Las Vegas. Here are some of the most important restriction:
- performers cannot charge a fee for their performance;
- buskers cannot reserve a spot or interfere with performances registered at the Fremont Street Pedestrian Mall;
- there are maximum noise levels;
- if emitting sound, it must be an integral part of your performance;
- buskers may only perform within designated locations; and
- buskers cannot obstruct the sidewalks.
Restrictions On Buskers Working On The Strip
There are several provisions within the Municipal Code that effect buskers. Buskers believe these regulations are being used to restrict their ability to perform on the Strip.
Section 16.11.070 prohibits the storing and unloading of equipment, materials, and other property on public sidewalks. The section excludes backpacks and instrument cases that are temporarily placed next to a street performer UNLESS the backpack or instrument case actually obstructs the sidewalk. It seems as though the police always consider these items to be obstructing the sidewalk.
Section 14.42.052 prohibits the stringing of electrical cords across or along public sidewalks. It also prohibits the placement of electrical generators or batteries on public sidewalks. This often impacts performers who are using batteries as their power source for their amps.
Also, performers have to be careful not to let the cord from their amp drag on the sidewalk as they walk and perform.
Section 12.40.020 makes it unlawful for any person to make or allow sound to be made from audio equipment (such as an amplifier) that can be clearly heard at a distance of seventy-five feet or more from the source of the sound.
This section is often used to ticket buskers who use amps in their performances.
Section 6.04.130 makes it unlawful for anyone to sell any merchandise or service on any improved or unimproved portion of a public right-of-way.
The sale has to actually happen on the right-of-way. This rule prevents buskers from selling their CDs and merch on the Strip.
Pros and Cons of Busking in Las Vegas
- Buskers can expect good tips in Vegas. Based on several articles that I’ve read, good buskers average an hourly rate between $20 and $40.
- Buskers have a place to express their creativity and gain exposure. Some of the best performers (like BB King, Ed Sheeran, and Tracy Chapman) were discovered while busking.
- Buskers gain experience performing before an audience that they may not otherwise gain.
- Buskers can determine their work schedules. Being able to work when you want doing what you love is very motivating.
- Busking can open the door for performers to network, make new friends and make professional connections.
- Busking in Las Vegas comes with a built in audience of tourist walking the Strip and enjoying the Fremont Street Experience.
- Many performers complain that police officers and security guards harass them at the behest of casino managers.
- Busking can be dangerous. There’s very little protection for performers who are up close and personal with their audience. Sometimes these audience members are drunk and can hurt a performer accidentally and sometimes audience members intentionally set out to hurt performers. Either way, there is potential danger on the streets at night.
- Buskers are hated by many people. They are often seen as being beggars and treated accordingly.
- The pay comes solely from tips. This makes buskers’ income extremely sporadic.
- Bad weather can interfere with the busker’s ability to perform consistently.
- Busking is a hustle that requires a lot of hard work.
What Types of Street Performers Work In Las Vegas?
There is a broad range of street performers who are allowed to perform in Las Vegas. Busking is protected by the First Amendment, so the categories of performers are wide open. Some of the most frequently seen acts include the following.
- musicians (drummers, violinists, guitarists, saxophonists);
- characters for photo opportunities (some favorites are show girls, Storm Troppers, cartoon characters like Minions and Sponge Bob)
- posing; and