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Street Performers Code of Practice

Busking, is to play music or perform in a public place for voluntary donations.  Performances tend to be impromptu in nature and performed by an individual or a small
group of musicians who move from one pitch to another during the course of the day.

Larger groups or those which use more than the minimum amplification do not generally come within the term busking.  Performances by such groups may require to be formally licensed by the Council.

Busking and other forms of street entertainment such as dancing, mime and puppetry are long established traditions which, when done well, add to the appeal of the town centre. It can create a happy and pleasant atmosphere that provides pleasure and entertainment
to local people and visitors.


For those living or working in the town centre, busking can become the source of intrusion and annoyance. Under some circumstances this could lead to a nuisance being caused, which would warrant action by the authorities. This is especially so when amplification is used to support the performance.

The law requires the Council to take action to reduce a noise which is deemed to be a nuisance. This could involve the service of a legal notice and in some cases the seizure of instruments or amplifiers.

The Street Performers’ Code

This voluntary code of practice is intended to set out a standard which, if followed, will enable busking to continue to thrive whilst protecting businesses and residents
from excessive noise, intrusion or nuisance.

  • Please do not position yourself or equipment so as to cause an obstruction of the road, entrances/exits to shops, cash machines, shop window displays or street furniture.
  • Entertainers are responsible for ensuring that the road is not obstructed by people gathering to listen or to watch performances. The road includes any pedestrianised areas.
  • Performers are encouraged to use the designated pitches below and rotate at regular intervals:-

Market Place
Clock Tower
Area opposite junction High Street/Meadow Road
Junction of High Street/Market Street
Canopy area adjacent to 17 Gold Street/Newlands Centre

  • The level of sound generated should be appropriate and not heard beyond a distance of 30 meters.
  • Collections must not be solicited from passers by. This is regarded as begging and could result in prosecution. You may however use a box, hat or the like placed discreetly to collect donations.
  • Busker’s are not permitted to collect for charitable purposes. This would be a “street collection” and requires a permit.
  • The selling of merchandise such as CDs, posters is not allowed. Entertainers should not perform in a manner which could be considered dangerous to themselves or the general public and should not dress or say anything which is likely to cause alarm, distress or offence to a member of the public.
  • Busking in the street should not start before 9am and finish by 9pm.

Members of the public, residents and business owners

If buskers are disturbing you, either where you live or outside your place of work, you should approach the busker calmly and explain politely that you are being troubled by the noise. You may be apprehensive, but often, people may be unaware that they are causing a problem. Most buskers will be prepared to respond positively to a reasonable request. You may find it helpful to bring this code to their attention.

If the problem persists, you can contact the Council for advice. An officer may be able to visit to explain the code to the busker and, if necessary, take appropriate action.

Organised Events

Where street performances are planned in advance, for example, by a large group or as part of an organised event, then a licence may be required, usually by means of a Temporary Event Notice. These require a minimum of ten working days notice to be given. Details and the notice forms can be found on the GOV.UK website.


Everyone who performs in the street has a responsibility to do so safely, and should consider whether they should have public liability insurance cover.