Busker trafalgar square

Busk in London shows the surprising face of street performance

17 July 2016

Street performance is one of the most honest forms of entertainment there is. There aren't many shows where you watch first and pay later!

Despite this, busking is often seen as a lesser art form. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Street performers are some of the hardest working performers in the business. Imagine beginning your act with no-one there, then, 45 minutes later, having a crowd of hundreds eating out of the palm of your hand. It takes years of practice and a huge level of skill to do this.

What is Busk in London?

Busk in London aims to celebrate and raise the profile of street performance.

For example, in 2015 we declared a National Busking Day to showcase some of the streetdancing talent from the UK and across the globe. This was one day where the whole country could come together to support street performance in their area and to give it a go themselves.

This year we've taken that to the next level. Saturday 23 July is International Busking Day. We've got around 100 worldwide locations doing their bit - with busking in high streets, parks, beaches, subways, refugee camps, jungles, mountains and more.

The festival

London will be kicking off the two-day Busk in London Festival in Trafalgar Square.

This celebration will include world-class physical theatre, magic and illusion, street dance and music. International acts are coming to perform in London for the first time - some from as far as Australia - alongside a healthy selection of homegrown talent.

There's no entrance fee or ticket to the festival, but we guarantee that after watching their shows you'll want to reward our performers with some well-earned cash. You'll definitely be getting your money's worth!

This year we've linked up with organisations including the National Gallery, Roland, Gibson Guitars, the Musicians' Union and Morley College London to offer a series of free workshops and activities at the festival, designed for both performers and families. Whether you're looking for top tips on the music business or want to learn the basics of street dance, there's something for everyone.

Young musicians

We're also commited to developing the skills of the next generation.

Gigs, the Mayor's annual busking competition, will showcase talented young musicians aged 11 to 25 at some of the capital's highest footfall locations. The public can watch a performance from 23 July to 7 August and vote for their favourites online.