Buskers stay in mall

11. 42NEWS

• Rachel West busking in the High Street Mall this week. Photo by Steve Grant

BUSKERS won’t be kicked out of the High Street Mall but will be restricted to a dedicated performing space and informal areas away from shopfronts under a $1.3 million revamp.

There was a social media outcry this week when a busker was moved on from public property by private security guards hired by landlords. She posted a blistering complaint on mayor Brad Pettitt’s Facebook page, which many took to be an indication the council was cracking down.

But Cr Rachel Pemberton, who’s been working with landlords, says guards are only asking buskers to move into the middle of the mall, to declutter shopfronts.

“This is not about getting rid of buskers, but working together for the benefit of everyone in the mall,” she told the Herald. “Buskers bring life and joy to our streets and are a quintessential feature of Freo’s cultural life. The businesses and property owners also know this and would hate to see them leave the mall.”

On Wednesday afternoon, Rachel West was entertaining a dribble of customers strolling through the mall and thinks the landlords are being fair: “They’ve got all the overheads, so they need as much shopfront as they can get.”

She says it’s good to hear the council will give artists a dedicated space.

“In 2008 I saw Katie J White busking here and it made me want to do it myself,” the singer-songwriter says. “Busking is wonderful because it inspires young musicians.”

Her only concerns about playing in the middle of the mall is there’s no protection from rain, and there’s potential for people to come up from behind and steal her bag — that’s been a problem in Armadale where she also busks.

Cr Pemberton says she’ll take those concerns to landlords.


11. BWG 10x7

Leave a Reply