Busking is a fantastic way for up and coming musicians to reach new fans, earn some extra cash and build up their experience and confidence performing in front of a live audience.
However, there's often confusion about the laws around busking. To help independent musicians and aspiring buskers understand to rules and regulations of street performing, we thought we'd share some basic advice on busking laws in the UK.
UK busking laws explained
Is busking illegal?
It is NOT illegal to busk in the UK, as long as the performer is aged 14 years or older. However, some local councils may have byelaws that prohibit street performers.
Can I busk anywhere?
Different regions have different rules for buskers. You may need to apply for a busking licence in certain areas, for example, on private land including tube, bus and railway stations.
The quickest way to find out whether or not you’ll need a busking licence in your area is to visit the UK government's official busking license page and enter your postcode. Here you'll be able to find out if you need a licence based on your region.
How do I get a busking licence?
You’ll most likely need to contact your local council in order to obtain a busking licence for your area. You might be able to apply for one through the council’s website and there may also be a fee to submit your application. Remember, you’ll usually need to make sure your licence is visible while you’re performing.
Can buskers collect money or sell merchandise legally?
As long as you hold a valid buskers licence for your area, you can accept voluntary donations from the public. However if you are collecting money for a charity, you will also need to get a street collection licence.
Due to street trading laws, buskers cannot sell their merchandise on the street without obtaining permission first and applying for a street trading licence. But if you’re feeling generous, it is perfectly legal to give away your CDs and other merch for free!