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Santa Rosa or Busk

Busking, or street performing, is a time honored tradition of musicians all over the world.

Its a unique element when experiencing a city, that gives passerby’s a window into the sounds of local culture, that they may have otherwise never known.

Any day of the week in front of Oliver’s Market one can encounter an ever-changing gammot of local talent. Irish fiddle one day, blues guitar the next, accordion ensembles, loop artists, percussionists, folk singers; you’re eventually bound to hear something you like, and throw a few bucks in the jar.

In 2010, local musician and artist Aaron Milligan Green appealed to the city, gathering 3,000 signatures from Santa Rosa Residents to make Busking a legal and welcome activity. Anyone can now go into city hall and request a permit to play in public spaces for tips, with certain regulations of course. At the bottom of this page you can download a permit, get the guidelines and read the Street Performers Ordinance.

Try your luck, though! Just like any job, it has its challenges, and takes dedication to be successful. Busking can be an invaluable asset to a musical career. Allowing for the chance to practice, and perfect performances, play in front of people, network, advertise a craft, and make money doing what you love.

We are lucky to live in a place that follows in the footsteps of some of the most enchanting cities in the world, where music is embraced and displayed as a cultural gem. And Santa Rosa is lucky to have so many talented artists, bringing new sounds to our local street life.

Here’s just a short sample of the sidewalk sounds of Santa Rosa.


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Susanne Dugan has been an active member of the Santa Rosa grassroots art and culture community since moving to Sonoma County in November 2011. As an organizing member of the Arlene Francis Center from 2012-2014, she was introduced to numerous aspects of local activity. Introduced to community activism and volunteerism at a young age, fostering and supporting local arts and encouraging freedom of expression, are parts of a personal philosophy, to help people and communities make positive, progressive changes. She works now as an audio engineer, equipment technician and events specialist at Diversified Stage in Santa Rosa.


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