Street Performers

Street performers of Cambridge.

In accordance with the City of Cambridge Street Performer Ordinance, performer permits are issued by the Cambridge Arts Council located at 344 Broadway, 2nd floor.

The permit fee is $40.00 (cash only) and all permits remain active from the date of issue until the end of the current calendar year on December 31st. Cambridge Arts staff will work with individuals interested in securing a permit to determine whether or not the intended performance meets the definition for performance contained in the Ordinance and to provide advice on strategies for successful interactions with residents, local businesses and fellow performers.

Download the Street Performer Application

Getting A Permit

Performers that have received a non-criminal citation within the last year must settle any outstanding fines prior to applying for a new permit. All fines of this type should be paid in the City Clerk's office located in the Cambridge City Hall at 795 Massachusetts Avenue. Following payment, a receipt must be presented to CAC staff in order to apply for and obtain a new permit.

Performer permits issued: Mondays: 9 A.M. - 8 P.M.
Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays: 9 A.M. - 5 P.M.
Friday: 9 A.M. - 12 P.M.

A performer does not have to be a Cambridge resident in order to obtain a performance permit.


Street Performer Monitors & Performer Complaint Procedure

On a seasonal basis, CAC hires street performance monitors to check permits, compliance with the ordinance and maintain a balance between the interests of the performers, businesspeople, and residents. In case of concerns regarding street performers, you may contact the Cambridge Arts Council at (617) 349-4380. If there is a disturbance after CAC office hours, contact the Cambridge City Police Department at 349-3300. Ask for the Dispatch Desk and report the problem.

Cambridge Arts: Street Performer Program Hotline - (617) 349-4385, where business owners and managers can provide:

  • Name
  • Contact Information
  • Location/Address of Performance
  • Nature of Concern/Complaint

Apply to be a Street Performer Monitor - Learn More Here!

History of Street Performance in Cambridge

Stephen H. Baird, Founder and Executive Director of the Street Arts & Busker Advocates, wrote "The History and Cultural Impact of Street Performing in America; Revival of Street Performances in Cambridge 1966-2003." Learn more about the history of Cambridge's street performing scene.

For more detail, you can view the Cambridge Street Performer Ordinance online or obtain a copy from the Office of the City Clerk.

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