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Busking

How to go about it

Many areas have restrictions on where and when buskers can play. In some places, buskers must register before they can set up. Your local council website should be able to provide you with any details, however, check with your MU Regional Office as well, as there may be certain restrictive practices or some form of an agreement in place.

In 2015 the MU helped to develop ‘Busk In London’ with the Greather London
Authority that provides a level and trouble free playing field for Buskers. To busk on the Tube, contact the MU’s London Office for advice on the scheme in place with the MU and Transport for London. In 2014 the MU took a significant part on the development of a code of conduct for buskers in Liverpool and York. Check with the MU’s North of
England office for details. The MU has been successful in securing various agreements and codes of conducts with town councils across the UK.

Busking offers a way to earn a few extra quid between gigs and brush up your repertoire. If you get positive feedback from busking to largely indifferent audiences, you can honestly say that you're doing something right.

MU Regional Official

  • Check before you play. Many areas have restrictions on where buskers can play and you might need to register or obtain a licence. Local authorities and private spaces all operate different policies. Your local council website should provide you with more information.
  • You may need Public Liability Insurance to busk in some places. You are automatically covered by Public Liability Insurance when you join the MU.
  • Try to tune in with your surroundings. Be sensitive to shopkeepers and the public around you, and control your volume.
  • Busking on the London Underground is famously well-policed. You will have to join a waiting list for one of the 270 licences available, pass an audition process and undergo a police background check. 
  • Our Guide to Busking in Liverpool   contains best practice for buskers, council officers, businesses and residents on everything from pitch selection to the best way of resolving issues. It's thought to be the first of its kind in the country, produced jointly by the MU, Liverpool City Council, Keep Streets Live and the Business Improvement District. 
  • If in doubt and you are an MU member, your Regional Office can advise. 

Related downloads

Busking Guide in Liverpool (PDF 1.64 MB file opens in new window)