Thanks to two lawsuits by the ACLU in the late 2000’s, The Las Vegas Strip became a place where buskers were able to perform with little trouble from police and hotel security. But it didn’t take long for the casinos, politicians, and police to strike back. In late 2012, Clark County created new ordinances and gave the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD) the green light to ramp-up their enforcement. The result was countless citations, some resulting in arrest. While there are no state laws or county ordinances prohibiting buskers from exercising their first amendment-protected speech on The Strip, the police can be heavy-handed in applying county code. The change in enforcement became noticeable since 2013, and has gotten progressively worse since the opening of the Community Impact Court in 2017. If you’re going to perform on the Strip, keep everything off the ground— your gear included.
PSA: As of July ’19, it is not safe for musicians to perform on The Strip. If you are a musician who decides to perform on The Strip, police will ask you to wear a tip jar on your hip and remain moving at all times. Otherwise, you will get a ticket for “obstructing the sidewalk”, risk going to jail, and possibly having your instrument impounded as evidence. It is bullshit, but that’s what cops are doing these days.
Update May 2021: I have been made aware of instances where police have impounded instruments, equipment, and other personal items. My advice remains the same. Leave nothing on the ground and be ready to walk at a moment’s notice.
Legal intervention has NOT arrived, so save your Fist Amendment arguments with police for another day.
Disclaimer: The following statements are not legal advice. These are statements made based on research, observation, and experience. Do not try to sue me. I’m just trying to help.
Commonly issued citations by the police
16.11.070 Obstructive Uses of Public Sidewalks
14.42.052 “Dangerous Items”/Electrical Cords, Chains
12.40.020 Portable Audio Equipment
6.04.130 Conducting business on the public right-of-way
16.11.070 | Obstructive Uses/Storing Articles
Summary: A county ordinance modified in 2010 to “clean-up” the strip/resort corridor and run off performers who are stationary and/or have amplifiers. Your setup should be as compact as possible to minimize the chances of getting a ticket.
14.42.052 | “Dangerous Items”, Electrical Cords
Summary: As part of Clark County’s initiative to “clean-up” the strip in 2012, the board of county commissioners passed new ordinances that targeted characters who have props resembling weapons and performers who use car batteries to power their equipment. If you are a musician or dancer, use a portable, rechargeable audio system instead of a car battery/inverter. Also, don’t let your guitar and/or mic cable(s) drag on the ground. It will be seen as a tripping hazard.
12.40.020 | Portable Audio Equipment
Summary: A county ordinance passed in the 1990’s intended to limit the volume of car stereos and boomboxes, but gained new life to shut down performers who use amplified sound. Police officers will issue you a warning or citation if they can hear you from more than 75ft away.
6.04.130 Conducting business on the public right-of-way
Summary: Also as part of the 2012 “Strip clean-up”, the county passed an ordinance that would make it a misdemeanor to sell water or CD’s on the Strip. Don’t sell water, CD’s, merch, etc. on The Strip.
17 thoughts on “The Strip”
Ok so my question is can we legally perform on the strip as long as we abide by these rules??
Disclaimer: The following is not legal advice
Yes, you can perform on the Strip as long as you do not violate those ordinances. I can’t, however, guarantee that you won’t be hassled by cops/ticketed. I don’t say that to scare you, but that’s just a reality of street performing on The Strip.
As of today, December 9, it’s cold out, so you shouldn’t have issues with cops this time of year. It’s the spring/summer when cops start cracking down. I haven’t been on the streets that much this year because I’ve been booked for gigs regularly.
How’d you find this website?
Best of luck,
Hello, I read on a redit that for the performing on The Strip, a street performer would have to go to City Hall to the City Business and Licensing Division and get a $40 permit. Do you happen to know if that is true? – Thanks in advance!
This is not true. No business license is necessary to busk on The Strip or Fremont Street. I busked on The Strip frequently from 2010-2016.
Keep in mind that The Strip is under the jurisdiction of “Clark County” and Fremont Street is under the jurisdiction of “City of Las Vegas”. The rules for buskers is different for each.
Best of luck!
Hey Brandon, I appreciate your site BUSKLV.info. I am brand new to the Busk scene, and was VERY happy to see someone in the community helping out.
Yeah unless the IRS or any Government entity can get it’s claws into your cash, there is ZERO need for helpful advice (if not actual legal advice) to be presented in a forum for others of the same trade. You’re on your own. So yeah, I was VERY happy to see your efforts on the net.
I was straight lied to and misled by SEVERAL people on the strip about a “license requirement.” I was told $120, $60, $40 and need to file with the SBA for a business license. Even a commission club promoter supposedly told me AAALLL about how Buskers need a license and how the police come an make “sweeps” and round people up in paddy wagons between 11pm-4am. Stories of those whom do NOT know their rights.
I NOW know after doing my OWN research that there in fact, as you stated, NO license required to perform. It’s a 1st Amendment right.
Those people who ALL told me I needed a license… I NOW know do NOT even know their basic rights about the performing trade they are even in.
If readers don’t know what their rights are on a sidewalk, go and search YouTube for “california auditors” and you will get a REAL good idea of what it’s like to KNOW your rights and how to cordially deal with police.
Again, Thank you Brandon for your hard work, time and efforts to put this site up. MANY many thanks to you, Sir.
I’m glad I could help. I just want buskers to avoid tickets and stay out of jail and court.
Check out the “lawsuits” page. LVMPD has been sued several times by street performers.
Thanks for commenting.
Who exactly are the “green cops”? Are they actually LVMPD or are they privately employed by the casinos? Do they have an official name?
That’s a great question. They are actual LVMPD, not private security.
I’m in the process of getting an answer for their actual title/designation.
I spoke to Officer Gomez P#13653 from the Public Information Office on 04.15.19
He said that the green uniforms can represent special units like armor or gang unit. But regardless of uniform color, they are in fact police officers employed by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD).
Do you know of any court cases that are currently pending regarding street performers on the Strip? It’s been a couple of years since they started citing and arresting anyone performing on the Strip, so I figure somebody must have sued them for the right to perform there, in which case there would be one or more cases working their way through the courts. Do you know anything about that, or where I could get such info? Thanks
To my knowledge, there is no pending litigation against LVMPD, Clark County, etc. from performers. I am only aware of (3) cases in the last 10 years, and all had news coverage. You can find those cases here: http://www.busklv.info/lawsuits
When I come across busker news pertaining to lawsuits, I put it in the “news” section of this site.
Performers on The Strip started getting run-off, ticketed/arrested, and having their instruments impounded in the last 2 years though. That happened to me last year.
That’s really surprising. It’s hard to believe that nobody has taken legal action against them, because they have completely shut down all performing on the Strip. Every time I go down there, I don’t see a single performer on the Strip, because they have all been ticketed, arrested, or threatened with arrest in order to keep them off the Strip. This started happening in late March, 2017, a few months after Lombardo was elected sheriff (he was re-elected in November, 2018). Other performers told me that he’s the one who ordered the crackdown on the performers. Somebody should sue them, but I don’t have the time or money to do it myself.
I used to work the strip up until 2014 – I also worked Fremont occasionally but it was horrible – The only way that the Police and the Counties will be bought into line will be through legal action and without the support of the American Civil Liberties Union that will not happen. Part of the issue is “the definition of what a busker or street performer is” for example a “tips for photos” in a Mickey Mouse costume is not a performer but can claim amendment rights protection why should the American Civil Liberties Union fight for them. Another issue is Casino’s don’t want people cluttering up what they consider is their sidewalks and are firmly behind the clamp down. If one real performer gets wrongly stopped enough times then he/she has a case for harassment and loss of earnings etc but again who can pay for the case
Busking sounds like it’s gotten tough out there in Vegas. I guess we can all be thankful that they don’t require you to have an LLC or a seller’s permit to conduct business. I see they keep it moving or go to jail video that’s some BS what are you supposed to play your violin or you’re walking down the street or stand there and do a magic act while you’re pushing a cart down the street? Absolutely ridiculous. Time to wake up people time to wake up yourselves. You know who owns all businesses and banking systems. Just follow the family names. They are the one you need to wake up from and it’s evil to call them out by name cuz they’ll slam you and slander you till death. Go look up some Eric Dubay videos.
Hi I read your post . How about show girls on the strip do they need license or they work on their own? I’m talking about the girls that wearing costumes.
No license needed. Good luck out there 🙂
Do you have recommendations where to get customs in Vegas for girls that walking around the strip