Music is a vital part of Irish culture, and anyone who’s ever been to Dublin’s Temple Bar or shopping in Grafton or Henry Streets in particular will know that busking is as much a part of the experience as anything else.
Bands like Keywest, whose second album, ‘Joyland’ last year debuted at number 2 on the Irish charts, rose to fame through their busking in Dublin and Galway, and are a very familiar sight to visitors to Grafton Street. We saw them perform live ourselves, when we visited Dublin in late 2014 and reported on the vibrant music scene in that city. Keywest say,
“The busking pays for everything really.
“It’s crazy. We have funded all our records, marketing , publicity, this way. It is a godsend. It’s an amazing thing to have stumbled upon because it is the dilemma for every artist and Band, how do we put a hundred per cent of ourselves into our music, whilst keeping the band together? It’s not a new problem and has always been the case but you find something like busking, (which we still love and do to this day) is a great way to make money while you can play your songs, test new material and hopefully see your fan base increase with everyone that is kind enough to pick up a CD – it’s ideal really.
“You don’t have to put forty hours each week in to working different jobs trying to arrange rehearsals. The street is our rehearsal. The Band have gone from strength to strength with two sold out National tours and significant radio support. It is the fans that make it for Keywest, its them that keep them going. It is all very much built from the ground up, with the busking feeding into the club gigs and to radio it is all very organic.”
All this could be set to change tomorrow at noon, when Dublin councillors meet to decide whether or not to ban street performance altogether; they’ve already passed by laws which have seen restrictions on the busking in Henry Street and Temple Bar. Similar attempts were made in London, Liverpool, Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds, Paris, and New York – but the people spoke as one and rejected the decision.
Watch this video from Keywest:
It might sound over-dramatic, but save Irish Busking and in effect, you save Irish business. All around the world, Ireland is known for its music, with tourists returning home with stories and videos of the music they’ve heard and the buskers they’ve encountered. Tourists don’t want a sanitised version of Irish music: they want the real thing, and that is what street performance is all about. This promotes Ireland, and Dublin in particular, as a friendly appealing place to visit. Buskers mean tourists. Tourists mean money, and in turn, this is great for business. If the Dublin businesses protesting about the buskers considered what good the music actually brings to them, then maybe they’d think again.
Sign the petition. Make your submission. Save busking in Dublin and you save the city as we know it now.