Busking, or street performing, is a time-honoured tradition that dates back to medieval times. Minstrels and bards would travel from place to place, acting as news reporters and message bearers as well as entertainers.
Buskers can provide pleasure to many people, both local and visitors. But for people who work or live in the city centre, busking can become intrusive or annoying.
Code of practice
We don't license busking, so anybody can set up and perform at any time. But in an attempt to minimise disturbance, we do ask buskers to adhere to a voluntary code of practice. The code sets a standard that, if complied with, will ensure busking can continue without the need for us to take action.
We do not have the power to require buskers to comply with the code. We may be able to visit a busker to explain the code and, if necessary, take formal action. The law of nuisance would require a stay of much longer than one hour before formal enforcement action would be possible. It might also require a significantly high volume.
Challenge a busker causing a disturbance
If a busker is causing a disturbance, try speaking to them. Mention the code of practice and the time of their arrival. Ask them to move elsewhere after an hour, or to turn the volume down.
If the busker responds in a hostile or threatening way, you should report it to the police. Report the threat as a Public Order Act offence and ask for an officer to respond.