Proposed Ordinance Seeks to Address Concerns About Street Performers at Fremont Street Experience

A new ordinance could address ongoing concerns related to street performers at Fremont Street Experience.

On July 29, 2015, Las Vegas City Councilmen Ricki Barlow and Bob Coffin, in conjunction with Executive Director Tod Story of the American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada (ACLU) and Fremont Street Experience President Jeff Victor, announced a set of proposed standards for a new city ordinance that addresses how street performers (also known as “buskers”) may interact and express themselves within the public area of Fremont Street Experience.

Busker News Conference1
Among those at the news conference were (from left) the ACLU’s Executive Director Tod Story, Fremont Street Experience President Jeff Victor, Las Vegas City Attorney Brad Jerbic and Las Vegas City Councilman Bob Coffin.

The proposed ordinance is the result of months of collaboration between City Council members, the ACLU, Fremont Street Experience and its member hotel-casinos, as well as buskers who perform or pose for photos for tips on the Fremont Street Experience pedestrian mall.

“Fremont Street Experience hosts approximately 15 million visitors a year and we are always striving to bring our guests the best experience in a safe and exciting environment,” said Jeff Victor, President of Fremont Street Experience. “We have been diligently working with a variety of constituencies for this ordinance and we are pleased to have reached an agreement on this proposed ordinance.”

Jeff Victor News Conference
Fremont Street Experience President Jeff Victor fields questions from reporters at the news conference announcing the proposed ordinance.

The new ordinance seeks to address a number of concerns expressed by Las Vegas visitors and downtown Las Vegas businesses, including public safety, congestion of pedestrian walkways, excessive noise and aggressive tip solicitation. Many of the buskers who perform on Fremont Street were included in the process of formulating the new ordinance which will be presented to the Las Vegas City Council on August 5, 2015.

A public hearing is scheduled for Wednesday, September 2, 2015.

Many visitors mistakenly believe buskers and costumed characters are employed by Fremont Street Experience or otherwise screened. Not the case.

The proposed ordinance for Fremont Street Experience was inspired by a similar set of guidelines used at the popular Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica, California, although with some differences.

The new ordinance, if approved, seeks to address the “time, place and manner” of street performances on Fremont Street.

Some highlights include:

  • Between 3:00 p.m. and 2:00 a.m. each day, street performers must be in designated areas.
  • During those times, street performers may not stay in their locations for more than two consecutive hours.
  • Performers must register with the city and Fremont Street Experience in order to continue to use the designated performance areas.
  • Registration is free and is good for 180 days.
  • Performers will be at least 40 feet apart.

When a Fremont Street Experience stage is not in operation, there will be up to 38 designated performer zones, each six feet in diameter, and 27 zones when a concert or event is occurring on stage.

During the process of developing the proposed street performer ordinance, care was taken to ensure the rights of buskers practicing free speech will not be infringed upon.

Tod Story, Executive Director of American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada, commented, “We are pleased to have reached this proposed ordinance alongside the Fremont Street Experience executives and the City of Las Vegas that preserves the First Amendment Rights of street performers while creating an orderly experience for patrons of Fremont Street Experience. This ordinance recognizes the rights of expression, the right to assemble, the right to speak and a visitor’s right to be entertained on their terms.

Las Vegas City Attorney Brad Jerbic said, “Our direction in the creation of this proposed city ordinance was to recognize the fundamental right of speech under our U.S. Constitution as well as to create a safer and more enjoyable environment for tourists and locals alike at Fremont Street Experience.”

Elvis Busker
Fremont Street is privately managed, but a public street.

There’s been nationwide coverage of the announcement of the proposed ordinance related to street performers at Fremont Street Experience in downtown Las Vegas. A few are listed below.

We’d love to hear your comments! What have your experiences been with buskers and costumed characters here at Fremont Street Experience?


14 responses to “Proposed Ordinance Seeks to Address Concerns About Street Performers at Fremont Street Experience

  1. My wife and are local residents and have enjoyed the Fremont Street Experience several times and we sincerely hope the freedom of expression that Las Vegas is known for is not sacrificed in any way. The FSE is closer to what Las Vegas used to be know for but has lost in the last few years for the sake of making this a more family oreinted town. Las Vegas is an adult entertainment town not a family town. Try to change that and you will lose the heart of Las Vegas. We are not a kids type of town.

    1. I love all the performers, especially the musicians and magicians. I also like the others as long as there is not nudity to the absurd. Showgirls are beautiful and that’s Vegas. However the guys and women with very little on is a little disgusting.
      Love VEGAS and Freemont street!!!

  2. These rules, are being made by people who don’t hang out on Freemont St. Designated areas, time to move after 2 hours, 6 square feet. Only an anal retentive jackass would come up with something like that. Freemont, is for those that want to see the circus, that the Experience has become!

  3. My wife likes to call Las Vegas “grown up Disneyland” and I agree with her. Kids aren’t allowed in casinos, so why bring them to Vegas. As long as the street performers aren’t hurting anyone, they should have the right to do their thing. If you wanna take your kids somewhere, take them to the real Disneyland.

  4. I think this idea is horrible. No one wants to see the Disneyfication of Downtown. Downtown is supposed to be an alternative to the Strip. I go there because it has life, and part of that is the buskers, whether good, bad, or in some cases, very ugly. It’s like going to a party or Mardi Gras. You take away that, and you are taking away one of the main reasons people go to Fremont Street.

  5. I think its a mistake to change anything on fremont street. People go there to see the wierd and unusual. My sister comes to vegas every year.we always go to fremont street.she usually talks about what she saw there for a they change it why even call it the fremont street experience. What experience ? It will be no different than the strip.

  6. I am not from Vegas but go there every Year with a group of friends, Fremont Street is the highlight of our trip and we love the zanny and crazy outfits, plus the great talents we see in your street preformers. Please keep it adult friendly as it should be. It’s Vegas and it has always been known to us and the United States as the adult capital of the world. Let’s keep it that way!

  7. i did NOT enjoy a 70 ish year old man in a manikin i love the street performers and im no prude if i was i wouldn’t go to vegas define street performer? because i certainly do not consider a 70ish man in a manikin a performance that is just my opinion other then that i will still continue to love it!

  8. Fremont street and the performers are a huge highlight of our vegas vacation. While some arent as easy to look at as others it’s still entertaining and one reason we decided to book our room there instead of the strip. It’s an experience for adults and should remain that way. I would never bring my kids there because it’s my fun place to play. They have disneyland.

  9. These “street performers” are the dregs of society. Outside of paying no taxes, they drive business away from FSE. The best part is these idiots are planning a Picket That’s like getting fired from a job and protesting. No one wants you there, so what does the picket prove, you free loading, pan handlers? Imagine being in your 50’s dressing up like Paul Stanley from Kiss in a thong. How proud that must make your parents. Losers!

  10. Screen all buskers to assess if they have legitimate talent and/or act. The pirate couple is legit. The adult in diaper with lewd accessories is not.

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