Street Performers

Cambridge Street Performer Permitting Now Fully Online

January 2023 -- To make performing in public easier in Cambridge, the application for Street Performer Permits is now fully online. Apply for a free permit via our online form:

Individual performers as well as each member of groups must obtain permits. No auditions are required. All are welcome and encouraged to apply. Performers do not have to live in Cambridge in order to obtain a performance permit.

Street performers are a beloved and cherished part of our community. Cambridge Arts looks forward to helping you share your creativity in public spaces of Cambridge.

Note: Performers who 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 Ave. Following payment, a receipt must be presented to Cambridge Arts staff in order to apply for and obtain a new permit.

Snow, Living Statue, performs on Massachusetts Avenue during the 2019 Cambridge Arts River Festival.

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 or If there is a disturbance after CAC office hours, please contact the Cambridge City Police Department at 349-3300. Ask for the Dispatch Desk and report the problem.

When reporting an issue, please provide::

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

Street performers of Cambridge.

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.

Beginning January 2019, the fee to obtain a permit to be a Street Performer in Cambridge was eliminated. Additional changes at that time included the expansion of allowable spaces to perform, inclusion of performative visual arts as an option, and the possibility of rotating, dedicated performance areas for larger performances..

Cambridge’s Street Performer program was suspended from the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in spring 2020 until July 2021 to prevent its spread.

City of Cambridge Street Performance Ordinance

Peter Paradoxx juggles during the 2019 Cambridge Arts River Festival.