SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - With strict enforcement hitting the Santa Barbara downtown area, street musicians can often be protected, as long as they don't get offensively loud.
They generally chose locations in front of the Paseo Nuevo Mall entrances, a restaurant, or by the now closed Macy's. Many also schedule an appearance at the Tuesday afternoon Farmer's Market.
Recently business owners have asked for a crack down on the homeless who are spending their days asking for donations, trying to sell items on the sidewalk, and sitting on benches for hours.
Musicians on the other hand, can hold a spot with some Free Speech protections as long as they don't violate local ordinances. One example would be loud, amplified music.
Guitarist Austin Sexton was putting out some soulful music in front of the mall recently and it hit the right note with passersby. Many dropped a dollar in his guitar case and enjoyed some songs or gave him a thumbs up.
Sexton says, "that's the best part, being able to interact with people to come up and tell you that you have good music, and taking pictures and giving hugs. Most of the time when I have my signs here I have my Instagram tags any type of publicity is good publicity."
Sexton appreciated the contributions and said it will help him financially, and possibly get buyers for a new CD. He is also trying to get local performance venues to book him for appearances.
The area has mall security and police foot patrols, but he has not been viewed as a problem, compared to the other issues in the downtown area that are actively being addressed.