Bruce Goldish playing guitar at the Santa Barbara Courthouse. (March 16, 2015)
Paul Wellman

The hatchet has been buried between popular parking lot guitarist Bruce Goldish and Santa Barbara city managers, who in March banned him from playing in Lot 9 after concerns were raised about the volume and crowds he was generating during his regular evening performances. Goldish had been a staple of the three-story public lot next to Marshalls for 11 years, and his departure elicited howls of grief far and wide.

At the time, Goldish claimed a single disgruntled parking attendant sabotaged the long-standing, off-the-books agreement he had with City Hall to play without a permit; parking managers stated Goldish had started to push the boundaries of their arrangement, performing earlier and louder, and attracting passersby who posed a traffic hazard.

Regardless, Goldish is back. He’s allowed to play all nights of the week from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m., provided he keep the volume to a reasonable level and not solicit tips. And whatever tension had developed between him and City Hall seems to have vanished. “What is cool is that the message from the city was that they want me to keep playing, that they are bending over backwards to make it work, rather than looking for red tape to trip this up,” Goldish said in an email.

He also thanked his supporters. “While there will always be an occasional naysayer, it seems like the intensity and proportion of folks that favor allowing me to play was compelling enough a message, that the city rose above reflex bureaucracy in order to actually make it possible.”

Mostly, Goldish is excited to get back to his concrete stage, where his fingerpicking and harmonics reverberate for hours at a time. “So damn excited,” he said. “I feel like a kid in an acoustic candy store. I’m coming home.”


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