Busking Licenses – Getting Permission to Busk
I’m sure there was a time that busking licenses weren’t necessary, and one was free to play their sweet, sweet music wherever and whenever without getting in any trouble. But this is the 21st century, people, and a busking permit or license is needed for wherever you plan to take your tunes.
Unfortunately, I can’t give exact figures, numbers and information on obtainability, as it varies hugely from town to town and country to country. I can tell you more or less how you can get the relevant information on busking licenses.
The first step you need to take is to contact the relevant authorities, so your town or county council or local police. They should be able to advise you as to what you need to perform in public. Some places, would you believe, will still allow you to play without any permission, which is great, but they can of course move you on or ask you to leave altogether should your playing be scaring local children, for example. If your local council tell you that you dont need a license, then lucky you, get out there and play! But the chances are you wont be one of the lucky ones, and even if you are, you’ll want to play in a few different locations and some of them will ask for a busking license.
So what can you expect to have to do to get a license? Most of the time, you’ll just have to pay a small administrative fee (it will be small, the council don’t care about making a profit out of you), and provide a passport photo of yourself to prove your identity whenever you might get pulled up. As with most licenses, it will probably expire too and you’ll have to renew it. In some cases, you might have to do an x-factor style interview! This is just to prove you are good at what you do and that you dont sound like a bag of cats being swung around a room, so (hopefully) this shouldn’t be a problem. In some cases, your license might even be free, which is a real bonus.
A word of warning. If you play somewhere without a license to busk, you might be hit with a hefty fine. Another word of warning, be careful that where you’re playing is an area your license allows you to play in! Councils will probably be able to advise you as to where it is okay to busk, but for an example, you don’t want to play in a shopping centre as it will probably be privately owned and you will get in trouble.
I hope this guide has been helpful even if I cant go into specifics. Remember to be safe, call the council and authorities in every area you plan to play in and follow their exact requirements, or you will definitely get in trouble. Happy busking, folks.