Tulsa City Councilor Aims To Change Street Performer Ordinance

Wednesday, October 25th 2017, 5:39 pm
By: News On 6

This might be news to many, but street performances in Tulsa are illegal.

Now, one city councilor wants to change that and he is starting with downtown.

Councilor Blake Ewing said someone just came up to him in the street one day and told him that in order to play his sax for those walking along the sidewalks, he has to go to OKC.

Ewing took the first steps to change the ordinance in Downtown Tulsa.

Musician John Ellis comes to downtown Tulsa regularly to play his guitar

"I didn't know it was illegal and seeing that now is kind of shocking because all of the times I've come downtown," Ellis said. "I've always seen music playing and always people enjoying said music."

The current city ordinance said no person can "use or cause to be used any portion of any sidewalk, street or alley for the maintaining or holding of any exhibition, entertainment, musical or dancing show for any purpose whatsoever."

"That's a giant part of downtown Tulsa's history.  When you come down here you expect a street performance and something nice going on," Ellis said. 

And Ewing agrees.

"You can do it if you get special event license like you're putting on a music festival," Ewing said. "I just felt like that needed to change."

Wednesday, he presented the first draft of an amended ordinance to the city council that would make street performances legal, with some regulations of course.

"That's what we hope happens, that there is community feedback if people like it or don't like it then we want to hear that," Ewing said. 

So, what does this mean? 

"Fire-eating could be totally different, you might need a permit for fire," he said. 

But Ewing said Tulsa is evolving and a place to entertain and be entertained.

"Big cities have this kind of stuff.  People from all different walks of life doing this type of stuff and this to me is what its all about."