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- Posted on Apr 10th 2012 5:00PM by Jason MacNeil
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According to Herald Scotland and reported by the Vancouver Province, busker Kyle Banta, a 22-year-old piper who played the instruments on Vancouver streets the last two years, applied for a permit and noticed bagpipes were on now a list of barred instruments on the city's official website.
"I was really disappointed because my favourite thing is to play the pipes," Banta said. "To listen to someone who has played for 14 years and won the major competitions in North America should be a treat. Bagpipes aren't like a flute or guitar. They are already amplified, so there is no way you can turn them down."
According to the CBC, the rule reads: "Instruments not permitted for street performance: percussive instruments and bagpipes." Tambourines, bongos and drums also fall into that category, which would imply the hippie-filled west coast city will somehow try to prevent drum circles, too.
Officials in the city's engineering department said noise concerns were the reason for those particular instruments being banned.
Meanwhile, Simon Fraser University Pipe Band pipe sergeant Jack Lee said the ban is "so short-sighted." "They are one of the greatest and oldest instruments in the world. Anyway, bagpipes are not really that loud. When my next-door neighbour starts his lawnmower, it's far louder than I would be if I blew my bagpipes up."
Both Banta and MacNeil have one prominent Vancouverite in their corner in Mayor Gregor Roberston.
"My first reaction is that a complete ban on bagpipes and percussion instruments across the city is ridiculous and culturally insensitive," Robertson said, adding that buskers play a "very important role" in the city's downtown and will ask city staff to review the subject. "The clans won't stand for it."
Oddly enough, there is precedence for the ban. In 1943, city police arrested a busker for playing the bagpipes which left him in jail for six months. A court ruling eventually released him and he ended up with $150 in compensation.