You can hear (or perform!) live music legally at seven designated locations in Golden Gate Park starting Saturday, as the Rec and Parks’ new permitted busking system goes into effect.
Hot on the heels of Flower Piano and the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival, more live music is coming to Golden Gate Park this weekend, and beyond. But this time, you or your band can be the performers. The Chronicle reports that the permitted busking system in Golden Gate Park kicks in this weekend, with seven designated spots in the park where you can perform live, or just take in the jams.
Calling all buskers! We're excited to share that we're now allowing license holding buskers to book multiple 3-hour slots for weekends in Golden Gate Park. The goal is to create an environment that encourages & supports local artists, while adding to the vibrancy of the park. pic.twitter.com/jzpfS4V3Rq— San Francisco Recreation and Park Department (@RecParkSF) October 5, 2023
The above tweet from SF Rec and Park notes that there are “multiple 3-hour slots for weekends,” and further in the thread, we see these slots are 10 a.m.-1 p.m., and 1-4 p.m. You do have to apply for a permit (which costs $76 a year, by the way), and once you have the permit, there’s an online reservation system for booking slots.
And yes, you are allowed to put out a donation jar. The Rec and Park guidelines say busking is “the activity of playing music in the street or another public place for voluntary donations.” And the kids in the tweet above have a donation bin, so it seems performers can at least make up that $76 permit fee through donations.
There are seven locations in the park to perform or hear performers, all along the JFK Promenade. Rec and Park has a Google Earth map showing busking locations in Golden Gate Park, and you can see them above. It’s unclear whether any permits have been granted yet, so there may or may not be performers out there come Saturday and Sunday.
Busking performers cannot have amplified sound in the park. But the Chronicle’s report notes that “the park has established designated open mic areas with amplifiers at the 14th Avenue East Picnic Area and along JFK Promenade,” so maybe amplified vocals are allowed at some slots.
In addition to a possible wave of buskers in Golden Gate Park, there are other great free live shows in parks this weekend. Sheila E. is headlining a free show that goes from 2-6 p.m. at Jerry Garcia Amphitheater in McLaren Park, and in Golden Gate Park, there are three live bands playing from 12-4 p.m. at the Bandshell.
Image: Gaucho via Facebook