Borough of West Chester Pennsylvania Busking Ordinance

Michael A. Cotter, Borough Manager

Dear Mr. Cotter:

In a press release dated July 7, 2016, you stated, "People will have the right to undertake the activities defined in the ordinance as long as they are not busking, stated Mr. Cotter. "The proposed ordinance is intended to regulate busking as a commercial activity only, and represents a reasonable set of time, place and manner retractions on that commercial activity."

However, that is not how the proposed ordinance defines busking.

I am a writer and have written hundreds of songs on the streets and in the parks of West Chester. Also, I create new arrangements of traditional songs. In addition, I practice with a group of musicians known as the Gay Church Band. At no time have I, nor any of the other musicians, attempted to solicit or engage in commercial activities.

Nevertheless, I and other street musicians have been targeted, swatted, harassed, assaulted and terrorized by the West Chester Police. In one such incident, I was threatened by Patrolman Gregory Cugino for having an "open guitar case". When I write and play, I often take my instruments in and out of their cases, as well as, let others play them. An open guitar case is not a commercial activity.

I am requesting the ordinance be modified to specifically exempt musicians such as myself to help avoid further police misconduct and crimes. The ordinance should also clearly state that an open guitar case does not constitute busking.

Will you assure me of the proper re-drafting of the proposed ordinance?

Thank you. I shall await your advice.

Daniel Brouse

PS Though you state this ordinance does not apply to me, the borough should be aware that they will be responsible for all licensing fees for commercial performances. Licensing fees would include but not be limited to BMI, ASCAP and SESAC.

About the West Chester Busking Ordinance