A-Z of Services

Buskers' code

The purpose of this code is to offer buskers the opportunity to make a positive contribution to the atmosphere of the 3 towns and ensure that performances are appreciated by residents, shoppers and traders.

With that in mind, buskers must appreciate that, whilst they are allowed to perform and collect money without licensing fees, shops and other businesses have to pay significant rents and business rates. Local businesses create employment in the towns and we have an obligation to make sure that the atmosphere is conducive to successful and profitable trading.

Local authorities have duties to enforce legislation in respect of obstruction of the highway, noise and anti-social behaviour. There are also byelaws in place which restrict the playing of musical instruments in certain circumstances. A breach of these byelaws is an offence.

How to request permission to perform

Before you perform you must check with us and give your details, this will help make sure you are not breaching any byelaws.

You do not need to fill in any forms: verbal permission will usually be given, subject to the following conditions.

  • If you wish to perform acoustically ie without amplification, you will usually be given permission immediately.
  • If you use amplification we will need to check that your amplification is not too loud (this responds to complaints from shopkeepers). You should not continue performing until the appropriate level of amplification has been established.
  • Your performance must not be audible above normal background noise at a distance of 30 metres.
  • If you are asked to lower the volume by a council officer or a local business directly affected by your performance then you must do so immediately
  • If you turn up the volume again you will be asked to stop your performance (failure to do so may be a breach of the byelaws referred to above).
  • Make sure that you are not creating an obstruction. If you use a box or hat for collecting money it must not be more than 75cm from your feet and must not carry any message soliciting donations other than the words “thank you”
  • Do not perform in the same spot for more than 1 hour. You must then move at least 50 metres away and not return to the original spot for at least 2 hours. Do not perform within 50 metres of another busker.
  • Buskers are expected to demonstrate a reasonable level of musical competence. Judgement will be made as to whether someone is a genuine busker or a beggar posing as one.
  • Buskers should not perform in a manner which, in the opinion of a police officer or council officer is dangerous or offensive or likely to cause alarm; and shall not be under the influence of alcohol or other substances.

We aim to develop an ongoing friendly relationship with talented and professional buskers who will abide by these rules. There may be opportunities for good buskers to perform at council events for which payment would be made. 

If you have any questions please contact Jane Berry on 01563 732169 or Jane.Berry@nwedr.org.uk