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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 work during Covid-19

Please refer to our overview of Covid-19 related restrictions for musicians across the UK.

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. Anyone wishing to busk on the train network can learn more and apply on the TFL’s website.

Covent Garden

If you want to apply to busk in Covent Garden you can find out more on the Covent Garden website.

Camden and Uxbridge

Camden and Uxbridge have licensed busking.

Kensington and Chelsea 

Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea (RKBC) are currently consulting to increase the number of pitches where busking could be controlled by way of a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO). For more information please visit the RKBC website.

The MU, Equity and Keep Streets Live have released a joint statement regarding the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea's proposal.

Westminster

From the 5 April 2021 you must apply for a licence to busk in central Westminster. Find out about which areas are affected and how to apply for a licence.

The MU, Equity, Keep Streets Live, the Westminster Street Performers Association, the Covent Garden Street Performers Association and the Busking Project released a joint statement regarding the new proposal.

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 you have any questions or issues regarding busking, contact your MU Regional Office.

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.

Get support as a busker through MU membership

Street musicians can find support through the guidance and services that are a part of the MU membership.

You may need Public Liability Insurance to busk in some places.

Get support as a busker through MU membership

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