In 2022, the City of Gainesville introduced a busking pilot program, the GNV Street Shows, to not only provide a new platform for local performers, but also increase pedestrian activity in the City’s historic downtown where designated “Busk Stops” have been created. This program, housed under the City’s Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs Division, came from the suggestion of local artists.

Busking is the activity of performing in a street or public space for voluntary donations. To incentivize performers, the City has guaranteed pay for the performers, and performers can take home any additional tips they may receive while entertaining.

Interested performers apply for free via the City’s website and are provided with a date, time and designated “busk stop.” Performers display a “Busk Pass” while entertaining to show their affiliation with the Street Shows program. The City provides guidelines for each performer, which were created from focus groups and surveys of local performers and businesses.


Since the program’s launch in June of 2022, the GNV Street Shows has booked 98 shows with 51 unique performers. Performers have ranged from solo instrumentalists to hula-hoopers, children’s theatre, choirs and more. Busking performances take place in the evening, between Thursday and Sunday, pausing only in the coldest months of January and February.

The goal of the program is to enhance Gainesville’s reputation as a dedication for culture and performance. The City believes that the program not only encourages residents to visit the downtown area but also decreases crime due to the increased pedestrian activity. Additionally, participating performers have celebrated the program for its fair wages and the program’s timing since the pandemic reduced the amount of entertaining opportunities.

For more information about the program and to see a list of upcoming performers, please visit

The City of Gainesville, population 143,835, is located in Alachua County.