Street Performers


Provincetown welcomes street performers as part of our essential character. Your participation as an artist is as important to us as is the well-being of our residents, business owners and other visitors. We seek mutual respect for everyone's rights. The street performer by-law was approved at the 1995 annual town meeting to give you maximum protection while assuring that government functions, community safety, enjoyment and comfort are not hampered. Your help is essential in continuing to make this system a happy one for all.

THE BY-LAW. When you sign the application for your performance permit, you agree that you have read and understand the by-law. While this by-law does not regulate space or time limits for performers, we ask that you comply with the suggestions below. Police might advise you if you are too loud and will request that you lower volumes or presentation. The street performer by-law has been modified to reflect the same expectations from you as from everyone else in the community.

SPACE. Please share your space, limiting yourself to an hour or two if other performers request the same location. We do not have enough space for anyone to camp out all day. It is up to our performers to share, otherwise, we'll have to resort to time and space restrictive permits.

SOUND LEVELS. Please be reasonable with volumes. Be a part of the total sound ambience. Voluntary compliance with reasonable sound levels that do not intrude on nearby businesses or residences will help all of us. The alternative is to start using a decibel-level system that would apply to all sound sources and which could result in valid fines and penalties. This system also would certainly require that we charge an appropriate fee for street performer permits.

 SALE OF PRODUCTS. The by-law does not authorize you to sell reproductions of your performance. (cassettes, CDs, books, etc.) You are entitled to receive donations for your performance.

PRIVATE PROPERTY USE. Provincetown has limited public space. Businesses have to obtain special entertainment licenses from the Town before you can perform on private property. Please make mutually satisfactory arrangements before you perform at a business.

FINAL THOUGHTS. Stephen Baird, founder of the Street Artists Guild (PO Box 570, Cambridge, MA 02238) offers these words to performers, which we adopt: "There is no substitute for open and honest communication between all street artists amongst themselves as well as with the communities where performances occur. There is a symbolic relationship between artists and their community…If street artists are so loud as to interfere with each other or choose to disregard how their performances affect the entire community, then everyone suffers. So share the space, trade off time slots. Make sure the crowd does not totally block the sidewalks. Challenge and entertain your audiences, listen and support each other. Good luck with your performance!"

Thank you for your support, courtesy and creative energy.

James F. Golden

JAMES F. GOLDEN, Chief of Police

Street Performers - Code of Ethics (PDF)

Street Performer By-Laws (PDF)

Application for Street Performer Permit (PDF)