LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) – A new ordinance takes effect this week in Clark County preventing street performers or anyone else from stopping, standing, or blocking the path on pedestrian bridges over the Strip. It’s something many performers have done for years while earning tips to make a living. They argue the change comes because of F1 wanting to block free views in the future.
The pedestrian bridge is a stage violinist Brandon Summers knows well. Summers has been performing on the bridge over the Strip connecting the Cosmo to Planet Hollywood since 2009.
“The response is pretty good…I learned more songs, more repertoire. I just kept coming out,” Summers shared with FOX5. Summers started playing violin at 6 years old but performing on the bridge day after day he achieved his biggest growth.
“At one point in time this was my fulltime income. I was going through a time in my life where I was kind of transitioning between college and the real world,” Summers recounted. Summers added his street performing helped him build confidence and book professional gigs and it’s now more of a hobby. Summers maintains had he not been allowed to perform on the bridge for the last 15 years, he wouldn’t be the musician he is today.
“If this went into effect when I first started performing, this would have changed the entire trajectory of my life my career as a musician,” Summers stated. While the bridge has become like a second home for the musician, law enforcement contends pedestrian bridges can be a dangerous place.
“When the pedestrian bridges get packed, it is very difficult for officers to get onto those bridges,” explained Undersheriff Andrew Walsh with the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department. Earlier this month, the Clark County Commission passed an ordinance creating “pedestrian flow zones” meaning no stopping, standing, or engaging in any activity that would make anyone else stop.
“I was very disappointed by county leaders. I saw this coming, and I didn’t know when it was going to happen, but I knew this was going to be bad for a lot of people,” Summers said. Summers blames the change on a new addition to Las Vegas: F1. The races will now take over the Strip each November for the next nine years. People wanting to see the event for free crowded bridges during the inaugural event.
“With people spectating to see what was going on in the races and taking the film of the bridges, I think they have a reason to say everyone has to keep moving,” Summers asserted. The new ordinance is a sour note for Summers who believes it will limit the rights of performers. Summers still hopes the county will change its tune.
“I think that there is more than they can do,” Summers argued. Summers is hopeful the ACLU will step in to legally challenge the ordinance.
Since it passed, the county has clarified the goal is to prevent anything that stops the flow of foot traffic. That does not include stopping to take pictures on bridges.
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