Street music welcome

By Adie Applegate

Carbondale sidewalks may soon be filled with musical talent.

In a Feb. 2 press release, former Mayor Joel Fritzler invited street musicians to perform in public areas. Musicians are allowed to play non-amplified instruments and accept donations while keeping the sidewalks clear.

Fritzler said in the press release he wanted to support the arts as part of reviving downtown Carbondale.


Carbondale Mayor Don Monty said he welcomes those who wish to display their musical talent on Carbondale’s sidewalks.

“Someone who is on the public right of way who is singing or playing an unamplified instrument and not disrupting businesses or the public is not a problem,” he said. “It could be a good thing for some businesses. This may bring more consumers to businesses that have street musicians outside of them.”

Businesses have the right to deny the musicians if it interferes with their customers or sales. Choak Somkroot, manager of Carbondale Cycle, said the musicians could be a welcome addition for the store.

“As long as they do not interfere with customers then they are welcome around here,” he said. “I think it could bring more customers, which is always good.”

Monty said while musicians can accept donations, they are not allowed to solicit them.

“The city has tried to differentiate between panhandling and street musicians,” he said. “Street musicians are seen as a cultural expression, whereas panhandling can be seen as a commercial enterprise. A musician cannot outwardly ask for money or other forms of donation. They can, however, have a violin box open or a hat with a ‘Please Donate’ sign. It’s tightly constrained as to how you can do it.”

Panhandling is still prohibited in Carbondale.


Monty said musicians will create a vibrant atmosphere for downtown Carbondale and show an appreciation for artists.

“I’ve lived in Carbondale for over 40 years and street musicians have always been a part of downtown,” he said. “They bring atmosphere to people and show art in different cultural forms. It’s been welcome for decades and is a historical part of Carbondale. If people want to sing while they’re walking down the street and they’re not disturbing those around them or traffic, then why not let them share their talent.”

Adie Applegate can be reached at [email protected]on Twitter @adisonapple or 536-3311 ext.251