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The day the music died in Gladdy

Michael Bowkett is trying to bring back busking in Gladstone but found he could be thrown in jail.
Michael Bowkett is trying to bring back busking in Gladstone but found he could be thrown in jail. Christopher Chan

MICHAEL Bowkett has put his guitar away, at least for now.

The 23-year-old Gladstone man recently returned to town and, while looking for work, decided to turn to busking.

But the streets have gone quiet after consultations with the council convinced Michael the penalties of busking simply weren't worth the risk.

"You can be fined $800 and locked up overnight, he said.

Michael, an experienced busker, knows about permits required to perform in public.

"When I checked with the Gladstone Regional Council, they said they don't have any permits in place," he said.

"At the moment you're only allowed to busk on private property."

Michael said he wanted to go about busking in the proper way and set up a permit system.

"I even did a tour with a couple of council workers to suggest some potential spots."

After this, he was told by council workers and police officers that there had been complaints from a number of businesses in the town centre.

"I was told there was a petition signed by several major companies in town, including Bechtel, to stop busking," he said.

"But I have an email from the Bechtel community relations officer, which states 'We are 100% behind busking'."

Michael said the council was looking at busking as begging.

"According to council and police, busking is considered begging of alms," he said.

"I see it as entertainment, it helps lower violence in the streets, it acts as a crowd controller and generally creates a better vibe in town."

Michael has started a Facebook group, Save busking in Gladstone.

Topics:  busking gladstone regional council music


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