Neon, historic properties, and inexpensive gambling are what come to mind when you think of making the trip to Fremont Street.
Another, more infamous, aspect of Fremont Street that’s impossible to ignore are the numerous street performers or buskers that range from bucket drummers to an elderly man wearing a thong.
While some Las Vegas visitors love what Fremont’s street performers bring to the table, others view it as an unfortunate freak show.
It got me wondering: What are the rules that govern Fremont Street performers?
The thought came to my mind while trying to sleep at 12:30 am at Binion’s Hotel Apache while a bucket drummer’s incessant noise kept me awake.
As my rage grew, I pondered questions like:
- How do buskers reserve a circle on Fremont Street?
- How do they get paid?
- How do they stay in the good graces of the authorities?
- Why are they allowed at all?
See Also: Staying on Fremont Street vs. the Strip. I compare the differences.
Tipping Street Performers
First, let’s talk turkey.
It’s important to point out that performers on Fremont Street, or the Las Vegas Strip for that matter, can’t charge a fee. They rely on tips and it is always up to the patron what, if anything, will be paid.
Performers are often criticized for aggressively demanding tips or shaming those that don’t tip adequately by making a scene. Although you certainly should fork over a few bucks for services rendered if you stop for a photo, you are not obligated to pay their suggested amount.
Fremont Street Performer Rules
In 2015, the City of Las Vegas passed an ordinance regulating street performers on Fremont Street.
Specifically, 38 six-foot-wide poker chip decals were laid out on the pedestrian mall that buskers would be confined to performing within.
Street performers register with the city and a daily lottery is held for 2-hour time blocks on the poker chip decals between 3 pm to 1 am.
The ordinance itself was needed to prevent fighting between performers for prime locations, maintain public safety, and establish perimeters for where “expressive activity” is appropriate.
Also reiterated in the municipal law is that “it is unlawful for a street performer to charge a fee for a performance within the pedestrian mall” although tips and donations may be accepted.
While attire (or lack thereof) is not regulated, noise levels actually are. Street performers are not to exceed specific decibel levels when measured from 1 and 25 feet.
The ordinance also regulates how far performers need to be from ATMs, building entrances, crosswalks, outdoor dining areas, live concerts, and even other street performers.
Other fun facts from the Las Vegas Ordinance regulating Fremont Street Experience that apply to all visitors:
- Hula hoops larger than 4 feet in diameter are forbidden.
- Launching or throwing items into the air is forbidden unless the performer is connected with an event put on by the Fremont Street Experience LLC.
- Feeding Birds on the pedestrian mall is prohibited, as is littering and sleeping.
- Sitting and laying on the ground is not allowed, however, street performers are exempt if sitting is part of their “performance”.
How To Register For the Street Performer Lottery
Aspiring buskers hoping to reserve a circle on Fremont Street can register for the lottery, here, with the Fremont Street Experience. There, you can also view the schedule, see a map of performance locations, and review the ordinance that dictates street performer rules.
You’ll want to note that it’s a crime to register for the lottery more than once.
Whether you love street performers or detest them, they will continue to be a permanent fixture in Downtown Las Vegas. If you’re looking to earn some scratch performing yourself, hopefully, my down-and-dirty guide was helpful in pointing you in the right direction!
Related: 90+ completely free things to do in Vegas!
Feature Image: ©usataro/123RF.COM
I’m a former software salesman turned Vegas aficionado. While the craps table is my preferred habitat, I pull myself away to explore new attractions, shows, restaurants, and outdoor activities around Las Vegas with the intent of sharing my experiences.
Ultimately, I just want to help folks plan a better trip and save a few bucks in the process.
Saturday 24th of July 2021
My boyfriend and I visited Fremont Experience last night and was very shocked to see an adult man sitting in his performing area while 2 kids, roughly 3-4 years old and maybe 7 years old dancing for tips (probably his kids), but NOT ACCEPTABLE! In the area between Plaza stage and Golden Nugget, on Golden Nugget side.
Tuesday 12th of March 2019
Every time we go to Vegas we try to figure out where people are going with their kids and babies in strollers, on the strip or downtown, especially late at night. There have been too many times it's been after midnight and we are on our way to bed, only to see people with kids or pushing a baby stroller, many times with a drink in their hand, blanket over the stroller because it's cold, and we wonder where they are going. I'm not saying there aren't things for kids to do in Vegas, but the places we see this and don't understand are mid-strip or downtown, not Circus Circus or Excalibur or by the pool or at the M&M store or any place that caters to kids, and certainly not during the daytime hours when attractions for kids are open. I can't imagine how much fun it is for a parent late at night to be marching up and down the strip or Fremont street, with kids and strollers, and not be able to be in the casinos or bars or do anything adult in Vegas.
Wednesday 21st of November 2018
Hy there, Useful hearsay ! agreeableoffers Valid click
Monday 19th of November 2018
I just love people who bring their kids to Vegas pulling them down the street and through the casinos and look like either mom or dad is not having a good time why can't they just leaving home with the grand from Grandma Vegas is no place for kids
Monday 19th of November 2018
I love going to Vegas, I do think it is an Adult Playground and that is why I like going there. My children have asked me to take them there and I promised when they turn 21 I will take them. I dont believe it's a place for kids to go to until they are of age. That is my opinion, I believe my children dont need to see certain this until they are older. The parents take their children there it is your choice but when I see parent out late is sad, people are drunk children dont need to see that. But there is an ordinance that children can't be out past 9 which I believe is a great idea. The people looking for "Tips" dont bother me at all, I figure they are my free entertainment while I am there. Children have alot of places to go and play, adults have one huge play ground and that is Vegas!!! So bring your kids but remember others are there to have a great time.