Comox bans buskers from playing an accordion

WatchJohnny Cunningham plays the accordion and sings. He’s been busking in Comox for several years but now the town is saying he can’t play anymore. Kendall Hanson tells us why.

Johnny Cunningham loves performing on his accordion, an instrument he’s been playing 30 years.

He’s been busking in Comox for four years but recently the town told him to shut his performances down because he didn’t have a busking permit.

Cunningham decided to get one.

“I went to go get a license but two weeks later they called and said I can’t because my music is loud, too loud,” said Cunningham.

A Comox town official said this was the first time that an application has been denied since its busking bylaws were introduced nearly 15 years ago.

“I was not happy at all,” said Cunningham.

The town said it’s received about a dozen complaints about Cunningham being too loud or playing in the same location for too long.

It says this is also the first time an instrument has been banned even though there is nothing in the town’s bylaws banning an accordion.

The Comox residents we spoke to question the decision.

“I don’t think the accordion’s too loud. Lots of times we’re down in Victoria and we’re down at the waterfront and people enjoy the music,” said Paul Mugford, a Comox resident.

“I can’t believe people would think that’s too loud. If it were a set of drums yeah but an accordion?” said Sheila Coad, also a Comox resident.

Cunningham hopes the media attention will cause the town to reconsider its position.

“That I can get my license and can go back and play again by the rules,” he said.

Cunningham says everyone might not like his music but that’s part of art.

If he does continue playing the town says it could issue him a $200 ticket.

Kendall HansonKendall Hanson

Recent Stories

Send us your news tips and videos!