Asked in ChicagoJobsMusic GenresJohann Sebastian Bach
How do you become a street musician in Chicago?
June 23, 2008 7:08PM
Becoming a "licensed" street musician in Chicago is fairly easy. Of course, the Chicago streets, avenues and alleyways are performance stages for a variety of talented musicians, as well as some of dubious musical ability. The serious men and women who want to entertain passers-by and who want to draw a crowd know that it's best to get a Chicago street munsicians licences from City Hall. The always friendy and knowledgable persons who man the information desk just inside the LaSalle Street enterence will gladly direct you to the right department. Street musician's are regulated by Chicago City Ordinance, Municipal Code 4-268. There is a fee of $100.00 that is renewable. While you're forking over the fee, you should inquire about the following from the desk clerk: (1) What do you need to know about potential taxes? You may (and, then again, may not) be responsible for paying amusement taxes and/or a use tax for non-titled personal propery. (2) For what length of time is the license in force? When is it re-newable? How much is the renewal fee? (3) Can I obtain a list, or descriptions, where I can perform? I'm not a licensed Chicago street musician, but I want to be. I've known a couple entertainers who started out on the sidewalks. I suppose it's good practice for standing in front of an audiance. One thing I've noticed is that licensed musicians almost always wear their street performer photo identification card. These are the people for whom I'd rather drop a buck or two. They're probably doing more that just pan-handling. They're sincerely displaying their talents (think the movie ONCE). So, in summary - Talent, Fee, Place. That's about all you need, but you really need all three. Best of luck out there. [Please note that my information came from the City of Chicago's web site and from personal experience.]