Performers are already lining up to bring enjoyable outdoor entertainment to Conway.
Conway City Council recently passed an ordinance allowing for busking in designated downtown areas and three locals have already applied for permits.
Busking is outdoor entertainment, offered in exchange for tips from people who enjoy the performances and choose to reward the performers.
Glen Moorehead hopes to delight crowds as a ukulele player and vocalist, having done a test run over near the Waccamaw River this past week.
Though he said he made about a dollar for his efforts he’s excited to get back out and perform, especially as warmer weather approaches.
He said the fact he’s an avid ukulele player and often plays at his home anyway, he figured it was a chance to get out and have others see him play.
“It’s fun,” he said.
With the help of online videos, Moorehead said he was able to pick up the ukulele about five years ago.
“It’s small, portable and only has four strings,” Moorehead said. “It’s light.”
Moorehead, a Rhode Island native who moved to Conway nearly two years ago, has been a musician for decades. He started drumming when he was in his teens and has played the banjo for about 20 years.
“I kind of go from instrument to instrument,” he said. “When I get bored of one, I move on to another one.”
He credited Conway for being busker-friendly, noting that applying for a yearly busking permit only costs $15.
He said he hopes to find a guitarist to form a group known as Waccamaw Backwater.
Guitarist Shane Harmon also hopes to perform medleys in the city.
Harmon, who divides his time between Myrtle Beach and Manhattan, has also been involved in music since his teens, having performed at open mic nights and recorded music at a friend’s studio in North Myrtle Beach.
He said after hearing about the chance to busk in Conway, he jumped at the opportunity.
“I think it’s a wonderful thing,” he said. “I’ve always enjoyed just playing anyway.”
Harmon, originally from Washington State and a previous resident of North Myrtle Beach, said his songs have been played on the radio and he’s busked in New York City and North Myrtle.
He lauded busking saying it’s much more intimate than playing on stage.
His “greatest thrill” from busking is having a mother or father hand their child a dollar to come put in his hat, he said.
Having also done a test run over near the Waccamaw recently, he said he plans to perform a mixture of original songs and tunes by artists and bands like Joni Mitchell and The Rolling Stones.
He noted that the busking ordinance not only allows for music, but also for things like miming, juggling and poetry.
“[They’ve] really allowed it to be something for the arts,” he said. “I think it’s really outstanding.”
The City has also approved an application from Conwayite Earl Willard, who bills himself as Conway Earl and Friends. He also plans musical entertainment.
Conway’s ordinance calls for family-friendly entertainment between the hours of 9 a.m. and 10 p.m. in certain designated spots that include the old Conway Police Department property on Laurel Street, Kingston Park at the corner of Fourth Avenue and Main Street, the “Garden Walk” that runs between Scarborough Alley and Third Avenue, the stage at Riverfront Park, the portion of the riverwalk in front of the Lower River Warehouse and the Robert Mills Garden, beside City Hall.
Buskers are required to secure a $15 annual permit, and during planned festivals they must have the permission of the festival planner to perform.
They won’t be allowed to block pedestrian or vehicular traffic or be allowed to violate the city’s noise ordinance.
They will be allowed to post a sign asking for money, but it can’t be larger than 12-inches by 18-inches.
The ordinance also rules that buskers are not to perform in a way that could be considered dangerous and/or inappropriate and shall dress and act in a manner that is not to disturb or offend members of the public.
Under the ordinance, buskers also cannot perform for over 90 minutes in a particular location.
Horry Independent editor Kathy Ropp contributed to this story.