Street Performers


Music and art have often been found on the streets and in the shops of downtown Asheville. Street performers station themselves either individual or in small groups along the sidewalks. 

“I think that street performing is harder than any other gig,” said Kaya Nichole, a singer and street performer from New York, “I’ve done wedding gigs, corporate gigs, I’ve done every kind of gig and none have been as challenging as this.”

A street performer, especially a musician, has to consider every aspect of the performance and environment, according to Nichole. This includes the acoustics, space management and money. They also have to consider outside noise, like cars or sirens. The street performers can be found in spots with heavy foot traffic, rotating every two hours as a community agreement.

“The reason we are out on the streets here is because the venues don’t pay,” said Josh Newton, a street performer with Nichole from New Orleans. “As much as this town claims to be a music town they don’t actually break bread with the music groups.”

Representing the street performers in disagreements or ethical dilemmas: the local group Asheville Buskers Collective. According to Newton, this group focuses on promoting street performers and allowing music to be closer to its original function: to be shared and not a means to sell another product, such as alcohol.

“Street is the best way to start,” said Nichole.