Musicians in the Pike Place Market

On March 4, 1975, the Public Safety and Health Committee included a discussion of whether and how to regulate street musicians at the Pike Place Market. Counsel for the market's Public Development Authority (PDA), O. Yale Lewis, Jr., made a request to City Council (see Comptroller File 280842) to amend Section 348 of the License Code in Ordinance 48022 and to delegate responsibility for managing the musicians to the Pike Place Market PDA.

One of the individuals who spoke at the meeting was Garry Marshall, a farmer from Briar, and his comments are excerpted below. Others who spoke included Councilmember Sam Smith, Jonathan Gaballe, Deborah McPherson, George Rolf, Lynn Magnuson, D. H. Gurea, Steve Fowler, Norm Hoagy and O. Yale Lewis.

Excerpt from Public Safety and Health Committee, March 4, 1975

Garry Marshall: My name is Garry Marshall, 22321 Briar Road, Briar, Washington. I'm a farmer; I represent 61 farmers. We've got a hassle. We're why the PDA is pushing for this. We have to have help. We're getting wiped out.

Councilman Randy Revelle?: Could you be specific, Mr. Smith [sic]?

Garry Marshall: Sure. I have another thought. We've recommended this before. Could we have the street musicians banging right here, right now while your meeting's going on?

[interruption from audience]

Garry Marshall: We go through this ALL DAY down there. We're there to make a dollar, we pay our taxes, we're legal law-abiding people, we pay our permits, we're regulated. From here to Councilman Smith, if there's somebody mashing guitar, screaming at the top of his voice, it makes it very difficult for us to sell anything to Councilman Smith or anyone else. May I point out, sir, you shop third section, you don't shop fourth section, you shop the second section.

Councilman Smith: I don't know what that means.

Garry Marshall: You don't have any street musicians banging you to death. We do. From morning until night. We have no control over them. We have fairly well controlled the deadbeats, the panderers, the solicitors, just by merely, on a casual bit, advising them what could possibly happen if they don't leave. We have not had too much help from the police in this but we've fairly well taken care of it ourselves. We don't know what to do on the street musicians. Maybe this is the answer. But we have a problem.

Councilman Smith: I don't mean to be facetious, but could I ask you a question?

Garry Marshall: Surely.

Councilman Smith: All right now, if you have a shop in front of one of the fish markets where somebody is yelling, "Fresh fish, everybody buy it!" and it's all day long, you know, and that happens in some cases - does that bother you in the same way?

Garry Marshall: Certainly it bothers us. But we're...

[interruption from audience]

Garry Marshall: Sure it bothers me.

Councilmember Smith: What I'm trying to get at is the relationship, how that bothers you compared to [unintelligible].

Garry Marshall: There's a constant screaming from some kid with a guitar, right? It's one extra thing that after eight hours can get to you. Yesterday, when I was requested by the farmers to come and represent them, I took a long look down there and everywhere there was a street musician, the mob up here went this way. That merchant was losing, consistently. The figures on 25% being down for the day are probably minor. It could be more than that. Every time we get a mob in one area, somebody's losing out.

Listen to the entire discussion of Pike Place Market street musicians. Citation: Meeting of Public Safety and Health Committee, March 4, 1975. Event ID 2796, Seattle City Council Legislative Department Audio Recordings (Record Series 4601-03).

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