The performance policy is intended to allow for performances in SEPTA stations while controlling noise levels, avoiding unsafe physical obstructions, and addressing other issues.
It balances the interests of SEPTA customers and retail tenants while recognizing certain protections afforded to “street” or “sidewalk” musicians and singers.
There are four areas designated at Suburban Station and three areas designated at Jefferson Station as the sole locations where individuals can play instruments or engage in singing performances. Use of these areas will be by permit only.
These designated areas are marked by signs and floor decals. Each designated area will be considered to be no more than 12 square feet directly in front of the sign indicating the particular location. All performer equipment and belongings must be able to fit within the designated 12-square-foot space.
SEPTA reserves the right to relocate or eliminate a performance location, at any time, for any reason, at SEPTA’s sole discretion, with a 15-day notice).
Performances of any kind are prohibited in “Controlled Areas” which are defined as public transit vehicles, platforms, paid areas and restricted areas (SEPTA Policy #A17).
Permits will contain the performer’s name, performance area, time, and station. The permit may not be transferred, assigned, or given to another person. Permits may not be altered or duplicated. SEPTA reserves the right to change performance times.
The application for a performance permit may be obtained in person from the Customer Service Office in the lobby of 1234 Market Street, 8 am-6 pm weekdays, by calling (215) 580-7643 or emailing [email protected].
The completed application and a copy of a government-issued identification should be mailed to SEPTA Performance Permits, 1234 Market Street, 10th floor, Philadelphia, PA 19107 or dropped off at the Customer Service Office in the lobby of 1234 Market Street. Applications will be kept on file by Customer Service and Advocacy and need only be renewed if information provided has substantially changed.
Permits will be mailed to the address provided on the application unless a performer requests to pick up the permit from the Customer Service Office in the lobby of 1234 Market Street. The request to pick up a permit must be included as part of the call or e-mail request. Permits will be mailed no later than the 25th of the month or will be available for pick up on or after the 25th of the month from the Customer Service Office in the lobby of 1234 Market Street.
Permits for Groups
Ad-hoc groups (permitted musicians informally joining together for any period of time) are no longer permitted.
Groups (no more than three musicians) are permitted as long as all the members are identified when the request for a slot (phone or email) is made. Each musician group will be issued a permit.
Permit Options and Time Slots
There will be two types of permits available, increasing the opportunity each month for a musician to secure a performance spot:
- Weekday (Monday-Friday) – good for either the 1st through the 15th of each month or the 16th through the last day of the month. Weekday permitted performance time slots will remain the same: 6-9 am, 9 am-noon, noon-3 pm, 3-6:00 pm, and 6-9 pm.
- Weekend (Saturday-Sunday) – good for the entire calendar month. Weekend permitted performance times are: 9 am-noon, noon-3 pm, and 3-6 pm. There is no 6-9 am on weekends.
Fill-in permits have been eliminated.
Requesting a Time Slot
Performers with applications on file may request a performance location beginning at 12:01 am on the 15th of each month for the following month by calling (215) 580-7643 or emailing [email protected]. Permits will be issued in the order the requests are received each month. Requests should include an alternate performance location.
Only one permit will be issued to a performer during a calendar month. Performers are not permitted to sign up for a second consecutive block of time at a different location.
- Performers must first sign in at the Station Passenger Services Office prior to performing and all musicians must carry their permit and photo identification while using the permitted space.
- The permits will be solely for playing musical instruments or singing. Percussion instruments may only be played by using the performer’s hands. Drumsticks or similar objects are not permitted. Electrical, electronic or battery amplification is not permitted. Use of media devices such as films, slides, lights, cameras, videotape or audio recording equipment is prohibited.
- Performers may not interfere with pedestrian traffic.
- Performers must keep their area free from trash and debris while performing, and ensure that all trash and debris is removed before they leave.
- No recordings, posters, clothing, or any other item may be offered for sale and no donations for such items may be solicited.
- Bags, cases, luggage, parcels, cartons, instruments, or other items should not be left unattended. Any items that are left unattended, for any space of time, will be deemed abandoned and will be removed or disposed of at SEPTA’s sole discretion.
- Sound levels must be such as to not disrupt transactions, announcements and activities being conducted in surrounding SEPTA or retail locations. Sound levels should not exceed 20 decibels above background noise, as measured within one foot of the source of the sound. In no instance shall sound levels reach or exceed 100 decibels as measured within one foot of the source of the sound.
Failure to comply with these rules and conditions of the permit will result in the revocation of the permit and the violator will be instructed to cease musical/vocal activity on SEPTA property and/or leave SEPTA property.
Refusal to comply with such instructions may result in the violator being charged under applicable state or local law or ordinance. Violators will be denied additional permits for a period of six months from the violation, and a second violation will result in the individual being permanently barred from any further permits.
The issuance by SEPTA of a permit does not limit, change, or restrict the force and effect of other regulations, rules, laws or ordinances, including but not limited to those pertaining to disorderly conduct, loitering, disturbing the peace, and obstructing a public passageway, and does not in any way limit or restrict the powers and jurisdiction of SEPTA transit police or other law enforcement officers.
The use of the performance areas may be suspended or cancelled, and additional restrictions on their use imposed, in the event of an emergency or other unusual condition, including but not limited to weather conditions, work stoppages, strikes, labor picketing or other job actions, floods, fires, transit or pedestrian accidents, police activity, maintenance or construction conditions, power failures, or other conditions in which the use of the performance areas, in SEPTA’s judgment, would impede or interfere with the safe operation of SEPTA’s facilities.