Plug pulled on well-known Greenville street performer - FOX Carolina 21

Plug pulled on well-known Greenville street performer

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GREENVILLE, SC (FOX Carolina) -

When Jeff Neil gets ready to go to work he grabs his bag, and a couple of cords to make sure he's plugged in.

"I was allowed to make a living and support myself doing what I love, and I feel so grateful for that," Neil said.

He conducts his business outside as a street musician.

"I play a lot of well-known popular tunes," he said.

For more than a year, he used Greenville sidewalks as his stage.

"I use a loop pedal to record my harmony," Neil said.

His melodies are plucked from an electric violin and played through an amplifier.

"Then I hit the pedal and it repeats what I play, so I can play melody on top of it," Neil said.

But now he said his music is being muffled by an ordinance, and he no longer has a permit to play his violin in the city of Greenville.

"I've been denied the privilege to use amplification," he said.

Greenville City Communications Manager Leslie Fletcher released this statement:

"...due to increasing complaints about noise from downtown businesses, residents and visitors, City staff routinely denies requests from musicians for permission to use amplified sound and or amplified background music to accompany them."

So, as Neil rolls off to find his next gig, on Friday he found support from a band and an audience that gave him donations.

Greenville city administrators say they issued a street performance permit in 2013, which expired the past March. Administrators say they would be happy to consider an application from him to perform without the use of amplified sound. However, Neil says that's not how his electric violin works. A music organization heard about Neil and started a petition to try and get his permit re-instated. Members of that organization also say they want to bring awareness that amplified music isn't noise.

Neil said he's grateful city administrators allowed him to perform as long as they did, and he would love to continue his street performances.

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