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Many areas have restrictions on where and when street musicians can play. In some places, buskers must register before they can set up. 

Check the relevant council’s website for any details. You can also check with your MU Regional Office, as there may be certain restrictive practices or some form of an agreement in place.

Note that children under 14 are not allowed to busk. And, please remember that in order to sell your merchandise when busking you must apply for a street trading licence.

Busking in England and Wales

Although it is legal to perform on public ground, restrictions that may be in place include, but are not necessarily limited to – making noise, blocking public highways (footpaths pavements, open pedestrian areas), displaying notices asking for payment, carrying out street trading or busking in certain areas for certain periods of time.

Find out if you need a busking license for the area where you want to busk. 

Busking in London

For those wishing to busk in London, we recommend reading the ICMP’s guide on how to busk

The MU is on the TFL busking committee which helped to create the Covent Garden busking agreement:

Camden and Uxbridge have licensed busking.

Kensington and Chelsea authority wants to introduce a Public Spaces Protection Order, which means that buskers and street musicians could be subjected to a fine of up to £1000 for doing their job. They want to take away musicians’ jobs – and we don’t think that should be allowed. Sign the petition.

Busking in Scotland

It is important to check the rules and requirements of the area where you want to busk in Scotland.

Most areas don’t necessarily require a licence to busk, but produce advice and codes of conduct for busking in Scotland because of a piece of legislation called Section 54 of the Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982.

This legislation gives the police the power to request buskers and street musicians to stop and confiscate equipment if they aggravate members of the public with their music.

Busking in Northern Ireland

While in Northern Ireland’s capital city Belfast there are no requirements for a busking license, in order to sell merchandise the busker has to apply for a street trading licence. You can find out more on Belfast City’s government website.

Busking best practices

To protect street performance across the UK, the MU’s regional teams work with local authorities, Keep Streets Live and other groups to protect and improve conditions for buskers.

This includes the production of regional guides for busking, which cover issues such as – selecting your pitch, volume, selling music, and resolving issues.

Our approach is predicated on inclusion and dialogue, whether there’s any negative impact, self-policing, dispute resolution, and step escalation.

The MU has been successful in securing various agreements and codes of conducts with town councils across the UK.

If your right to busk is being threatened

The MU are here to protect and push for more jobs for musicians. If something is causing busking to be under threat where you are, please tell us.

For MU members who busk

If you’re a busker and an MU member, you can find support through the guidance and services that are a part of your membership.

Get involved

The MU is a democratic organisation and we are always looking for new voices on committees.

If you’re a busker, why not stand for your local committee? You can also contact live@theMU.org to join the MU’s Live Performance Committee, where you can have a say on live performance issues across the UK.