guitar player and banjo player performing in a plaza in downtown raleigh

Street Performers

Street Performer is defined as any person or group of persons who conducts a performance, including but not limited to musicians and buskers, for entertainment purposes or voluntary donations on public right-of-ways. Use of such public right-of-ways requires a Private Use of Public Spaces permit.

How to Apply

  1. Read about street performer requirements in our hospitality guide.
  2. First-time applicants should contact the Office of Emergency Management and Special Events Office to learn how to apply.
  3. Complete the Street Performer Application. Submission includes uploading the application to the Permit and Development Portal:

Street Performers - Standard Detail Drawings

Design Strategy:
Street performers add vibrancy to public spaces. Performers are encouraged to perform in downtown public spaces where pedestrian traffic is high and clear space is available for observation without blocking public access.

It is the intent of the City to facilitate street performers to perform in certain locations, in balance with the needs of pedestrian and vehicular traffic for access throughout the downtown area.

Application Process:
Applications for Street Performer permits are obtained from the Permit and Development Portal.  To be processed, each permit application must include:

  • A completed Street Performer Application form
  • Fee payment (see Fee Schedule below)
  • The permit shall be issued immediately upon the completion of steps 1 and 2

Video Tutorials:

Required Permits:

  • Street Performance Permit

Fee Schedule:

  • Street Performance Annual Permit:  $42

Permit Provisions:

  • Permits are valid for one year (from July 1st through June 30th)
  • All permit renewal applications have to be submitted by June 30th to the Permit and Development Portal
  • At the time of submittal of permit applications, applicants are also encouraged to provide contact email addresses that will be added to a listserv created for permit holders. The Permit and Development Portal maintains record of all permits including contact information
  • Special event permits supersede annual permits.  In the advent of a special event approved by the City, annual permits are temporarily suspended.  Street performance permit holders require special permission from the special event coordinator to perform within the designated special events area. The permit holder is responsible for keeping track of upcoming special events and the designated boundaries that may affect their business. For more details on special events, please contact the Office of Emergency Management and Special Events at 919-996-2200
  • Permit holders may be required to remove private materials or accessories temporarily to allow street, sidewalk or utility access for maintenance operations or during approved special events.
  • Details regarding appeals are provided in Section I.D.3 of this handbook


  • The Zoning office notifies permit holders of violations
  • The permit holder is liable for all damages and repairs to the streetscape, trees and vegetation, sidewalks, streets or other public amenities that directly relate to the use of the permitted space
  • The permit holder is responsible for remedying the violation within the time period specified in the notice. Beyond that, fines or subsequent revocation of permits applies as per the standard procedure outlined in Section I.D.3 of this handbook
  • Permit violations incur a first time fine of $100.  Subsequent violations are $200 for each occurrence and permits are revoked if a third violation occurs within a fiscal year

For street performances to be permitted within downtown public spaces, all of the following standards must be met.


  • A minimum 5 foot-wide pedestrian corridor must be maintained on the sidewalk past a performance area at all times (7 feet on Fayetteville Street). Where existing obstructions are present (such as fire hydrants), the corridor can be measured to go around these obstructions. For tree grates, the corridor is measured from the outer edge of the grate, unless an ADA-compliant grate is installed, in which case the 5 feet can be measured directly from the tree trunk
  • Performers must not perform in locations that obstruct the visibility of motorists (generally, within a line 5 feet back diagonally from the handicap ramps at each intersection)
  • Street performances are excluded in public areas that are:
  1. within construction areas
  2. within 400 feet of the boundary of any designated special events area without the granted written permission from the event sponsor/ coordinator, or within a 5 foot radius of any building corner adjacent to a street intersection
  • Performers must not block access to any public benches, waste receptacles or other public amenities
  • Performers must perform at a minimum distance of 5 feet from edge of any driveway, edge of a crosswalk, utility boxes or handicapped ramp

Fayetteville Street Location Standards:

  • Performers are allowed only in specified areas: in the Garden Zone outside permitted outdoor dining areas, pedestrian malls and public plaza areas (for permitted locations refer to maps included).


  • Noise levels must meet City Code requirements.  Refer to Sec 12-5001 through 12-5011 of the City Code on noise regulations
  • Street performances are limited to the following hours in all public areas:
  1. Monday through Thursday, between 8:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m.
  2. Friday & Saturday, between 8:00 a.m. and 12:00 midnight
  3. Sunday, between 12 noon and 10:00 p.m.
  • A performer must not block pedestrian access through a public area. If a crowd blocks public access through public area, a police officer may disperse that portion of crowd blocking pedestrian traffic
  • A performer must not obstruct access to private property, except with prior granted written permission from the adjoining property owner. A copy of the agreement must be filed with the permit application
  • A performer must not consume or be under the influence of alcoholic beverages or controlled substances while performing
  • A performer must not use power, electrical cords, or fire during their performance
  • A performer must not leave their performance equipment unattended on the permitted space for more than 10 minutes, unless during an emergency
  • Permits are not transferable or assignable
  • A performer must not use any device or sharp objects that are likely to pose a physical injury or public safety hazard


  • After the performance, the performer is responsible for removing any debris, trash, or litter associated with the performance from the performance area.

Completed Street Performance Permit Application


Lead Department:
Emergency Management and Special Events
Service Categories:
Hospitality Permits