If We Can't Play on Sixth Street, Where Can We?

RECEIVED Wed., Oct. 22, 2008

Dear fellow music lovers and supporters,
    I bring up a subject that may have escaped the radar because it brings in no money to Austin and may even take money from clubs and booked players. It's playing on the streets, and for some like myself who can't get a club to give me a slot, it is the only way I've found to "get out."
    This is what happened to me on Sixth Street Saturday night, There is one place musicians have been allowed to play, and that's between the planters on Sixth just east of Congress. While playing there with an acoustic guitar (no amplification), I was told by two security guards that I was loitering and a nuisance. They said if they had any more complaints, they would call the cops and have me arrested. Now I do get loud since the stores have loud speakers by their store windows that they turn up rather loud. So I left, since the cops will listen to a store owner, the cop I talked to didn't think there was a limit to the distance from a storefront that was defined in the city loitering ordinance, and I was tired.
    If we can't play on Sixth Street, is South Congress next and then Zilker Park? Granted, one crackhead on a drum can be a nuisance, but where do you draw the line, and how can musicians like myself get experience and practice in front of people?
    I bring up this issue because I believe that for every Stevie, every Townes, and every Blaze Foley, there is a mountain of players under them who will suck. Not to mention that everyone starting out sucks.
    Please help me understand this. I don't want to move to another town just to get started performing music.
John Hurgeton
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