Alderman wants to dial down Chicago’s public performers

The April meeting of the Chicago Alternative Policing Strategy (CAPS) at 130 N. Garland Ct. included a lengthy discussion between residents, police officers and a representative of Alderman Brendan Reilly’s office about the volume of street performers near Michigan Ave. and Lake St.

A local resident explained that music played outdoors sounds like noise to people indoors. Others implied that at least one of the performers is unable to play more than two songs.

An officer present stated that he had responded to several complaints in the past. He informed the group that most of the alleged sonic violators were licensed to perform by the City of Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE). In such cases, he continued, the CPD can ask musicians to move to another location, but not order them to stop playing.

Although some acknowledged that passersby and tourists seem to enjoy street musicians, they felt that restrictions on licenses, volume, locations and/or hours are necessary to reduce the aural strain on the local residency.      

A representative from the Alderman’s office remarked that “Alderman Reilly in a million years would never issue these permits.” She encouraged residents to join Alderman Reilly in a letter writing campaign directed towards Michelle T. Boone, Commissioner of DCASE, as a “pre-cursor to an ordinance campaign.”

“At the end of the day,” she explained, “we want the person who issues these permits to understand how the performers effect the quality of your life.”

The Commissioner’s office responded to a request for comment by noting via email that it had “not heard about” the Alderman’s intentions but looks forward to seeing his proposal and is “always happy to hear from the public.”

Alderman Reilly’s office did not respond to a request for additional information.

(Photo: Larry Bluesman on the Jackson Red Line platform in Chicago, by Daniel Patton)

— Daniel Patton, Staff Writer

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