By Brandon Summers | April 18, 2021
Veteran Las Vegas street performer/violinist Alex Rivers puts down some Weeknd over the weekend. Rocking a Roland Street Cube on his back, tip buckets on his left and right waistband, and a hollow-body Yamaha electric violin, Alex is killing it on a pedestrian bridge— entertaining passerby on the world-famous Las Vegas Strip. He’s got two tip jars because it’s $$$ season (yes!) and he’s got the sauce. The pandemic be damned! As people walk by, they are entranced by his virtuosity and talent. A few appreciative tourists part ways with the dollars in their wallet.
You may be wondering why Alex’s amplifier is strapped to his body instead of placed on the ground. Well, it’s a long story; but in short, it’s because of the police. About three years ago, the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD/Metro) began wrongfully enforcing Clark County Code 16.11.070 “obstructive use of sidewalk”, saying that “everything has to be off the ground” (despite an exemption for street performers negotiated by the ACLU 10 years ago— litigation). If you don’t comply, it’s a misdemeanor and you could even have your equipment and instruments impounded.
Brandon Summers is a Las Vegas native, violinist, street performer, and advocate for spontaneous, unlicensed performance in public spaces. Summers has been busking for over ten years and has performed for Ciroc, Hudson Jeans, Netflix, JBL-Harman and many more. He is a graduate of Fort Valley State University where he majored in mathematics and holds BA in liberal studies.