ListenCLE - Busking Initiative

ListenCLE is a program designed to put more local music into the ears of everyday Clevelanders. As part of our mission, we have been working with local organizations and events such as Destination Cleveland, the NFL Draft, Ingenuity Cleveland, Cleveland Public Library, and the Rock Hall to coordinate street performers and buskers during highlight events downtown. Our goal is to show off the incredibly diverse and high-level talent of musicians, dancers, and more that can be found in Cleveland!

Currently, Cleveland does not yet have a busking culture. We ran a busking trial during the Draft, and attempted a second round of trials during the Rock Hall Induction Ceremony celebration week, as part of our efforts to gather information and build resources to make Cleveland a more busking-friendly city. Responses have been overwhelmingly positive, and every month we have more organizations and events expressing interest and support for seeing local performers out and about, especially during highlight events.

Cleveland has many national spotlight opportunities to get our local talent showcased for the nation and the world - but we also have unpredictable weather, and we’ve been finding one of our biggest challenges to be a safe environment for outdoor performances.

The NBA All-Star game is coming to Cleveland in February, and Brite Winter festival returns a week later. ListenCLE is working with partners connected to both of these events to help coordinate street performances around their downtown footprints, and we at ListenCLE are looking for ways to provide warm, covered spaces to allow our buskers to perform regardless of what the February Lake Erie may send their way. Our goal is to have two protected, heated outdoor setups available for these and ANY future coordinated busking opportunity, to keep street performance accessible and safe year-round.

Funded by Cleveland, OH (December 2021)