In the Stroud District we do not specifically issue any sort of Busking Licence. Under the Licensing Act 2003, playing music to an audience is a licensable activity and requires an authorisation. Normally, though, busking is not considered to fall into this category as the public in the street are not there specifically to listen to the busker. Therefore, providing you are not promoting your busking, for example by encouraging persons through advertising to be there to listen to you, you do not specific permission.
Busking does carry with it the risk of causing problems to others, either by:-
a) causing annoyance as a result of loud, continuous or repetitive noise; and
b) obstructing the highway and/or pedestrian routes.
If a busker causes a nuisance with noise from the music or singing, then the Council has powers to take action to address it.
Voluntary Code of Conduct
In order to assist buskers to avoid problems, we issue the following 10-point voluntary code of conduct for their guidance:
- The noise from music or singing should not be so loud that it can be plainly heard at a distance of 50 metres. Amplification is therefore not encouraged.
- Drumming should be avoided, or only included as a very minor part of an act.
- A busker should not perform for longer than 1 hour in any one location and should not perform again at that location (or within 50 metres of it) for a further 3 hours.
- A busker should not locate within 50 metres of another busker who is already performing.
- A busker should not obstruct free passage of pedestrians or vehicles either on the highway, pavement or pedestrianised areas, or allow an audience to do so. Access to shops, street furniture and bus stops should be kept clear.
- Use should not be made of street furniture such as lamp-posts, seats and bins.
- No signs inviting payment should be displayed.
- Proper use of public telephones should not be prevented, either because of noise or obstruction.
- A busker should immediately stop performing when requested to do so by a Police or Council Officer.
- The appearance and quality of an act should demonstrate a positive intention to entertain rather than to solicit money through sympathy.