Mayor, Jessie Ware, Tinchy Stryder and The Vamps show #LondonIsOpen

22 July 2016

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, today told the world’s performers that #LondonIsOpen as he hailed the diversity and talent of the capital’s international and home-grown artists ahead of International Busking Day.

Top music stars Jessie Ware, Tinchy Stryder and The Vamps joined the Mayor in his message of welcome. They were also joined by‎ Ireland’s biggest independent band, Keywest, as they met performers who will be taking part in International Busking Day at Trafalgar Square tomorrow. 

Sadiq Khan’s message is part of his major new #LondonIsOpen campaign, which officially launched earlier this week to spread the message that, following the EU referendum, London remains united, full of creativity and open for business. 

Other stars supporting #LondonIsOpen include Niall Horan, Jude Law, Jarvis Cocker, Corrine Bailey Rae, Chris Moyles, Ella Eyre, Olly Murs, Sink the Pink, Baaba Maal, Konnie Huq and Nathan Sykes.

The campaign will be promoted at International Busking Day, which is organised by Busk in London and will see London leading 50 global cities and more than 50 locations across the UK in the most ambitious celebration of busking and street performance ever staged.

Buskers worldwide will bring thousands of people together, with music, magic, street theatre, circus arts and other acts on show in cities including New York, Sydney, Barcelona, Hong Kong and Paris.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “Few if any places on earth can rival our city for its arts and culture and I’m enormously proud that London will host the first ever International Busking Day. Bringing 50 world cities together for this unprecedented celebration of street performance highlights the capital’s huge diversity and international appeal, which attracts exceptional talent from around the globe.

“I want to send a message, loud and clear, that #LondonIsOpen to the world’s artists, performers, businesses, people and ideas, and I urge everyone to get behind the campaign and show everyone why London truly is the greatest city on earth.”

London’s buskers are an important part of any visit to the capital, with overwhelming support from tourists. A recent survey, commissioned by Busk in London, from the University of Westminster’s MusicTank, found that eighty-six per cent of visitors surveyed in Portobello Road, Covent Garden and Trafalgar Square said busking enhanced their experience.

London’s International Busking Day performances will take place on Trafalgar Square from 12.30-8pm on Saturday 23 July. The festivities also kick off the two-day Busk in London Festival, which is returning with world class physical theatre, magic and illusion, street dance and music on 23 and 24 July on Trafalgar Square. This year, for the first time, it will include performance masterclasses and 'Give it a Go' sessions as part of the brand new Busk in London Academy in partnership with Morley College London.

While Trafalgar Square plays host to world class street performers for the Busk in London Festival there is the opportunity to find inspiration through an exclusive tour of performances paintings in the National Gallery’s collection.  Festival goers will join a National Gallery expert for an hour long tour running on 23 and 24 July followed by an opportunity to create their own art works in Trafalgar Square on the Festival’s visual arts pitch where all materials are provided.

The Busk in London programme, which aims to make busking on London’s streets as easy as possible for performers, has also had high-profile support from a variety of stars including Billy Bragg, Corinne Bailey Rae, CC Smugglers, Danny Goffey, Fatboy Slim, Hugh Cornwell, Jack Savoretti, Jon McClure (Reverend & The Makers), Kiko BUN, King Charles, KT Tunstall, SEAL, Andrew Patrick from STOMP, Todd Dorigo, The View, Whinnie Williams and 'Whispering' Bob Harris, who have all signed up as Ambassadors of the Busk in London scheme. A full list of Ambassadors can be found at http://buskinlondon.com/ambassadors.

The Mayor is urging all Londoners, organisations and businesses to show their support for the #LondonIsOpen message via social media and videos and photos of doors opening around London to welcome people in. #LondonIsOpen will be promoted at other major events and leading visitor attractions across the capital this summer. It is being supported by a host of top names, businesses, and organisations across the capital including Richard Branson, City of London Policy Chairman Mark Boleat, Chief Executive of London Stock Exchange Xavier Rolet, Google, Hilton, Merlin Entertainments, Freuds, Chief Executive of Patisserie Valerie Paul May, Pavegen, Central Working, Swiftkey, Seedrs, Unruly, Nigel Carrington, Vice-Chancellor, University of the Arts, Prof Julia Black, Interim Director designate and Pro Director for Research, London School of Economics, Professor Edward Byrne AC, President & Principal, King’s College London and Professor Pat Bailey, Deputy Vice Chancellor, London South Bank University.

For the full International Busking Day programme, visit http://buskinlondon.com/internationalbuskingday

Support from around the world for International Busking Day 

"The street is the oldest stage in the world and it is where the musician gets the most sincere and honest feedback ever from an audience. It is raw, it is freely accessible, it is genuine. And, if someone stops to listen, it's because a connection has been made.”  

Daniel Bacchieri, StreetMusicMap Founder & Curator based in Rio

"As the music industry continues to evolve, street performance offers efficient ways for upcoming talent to connect immediately with public audiences, and build a career."

Dr Catherine Moore, NYU Steinhardt

"So much incredible talent is honed on the streets. It's an equal playing field and gives us all access to a rich mix of culture. International Busking Day is a world-wide celebration of this and LA is excited to be involved.” 

Professor Richard Smith, University of Southern California Thornton School of Music

“Reykjavík is pleased to support the first ever International Busking Day, showcasing grass roots talent and how it connects us all no matter who we are and where we live.” 

Visit Reykjavík 

"Street performance has the capacity to create a sense of place and to create positive change within a city. Where there's music on the streets, you'll find a city that's open to creative possibilities, a place that thinks and cares about citizens.

Luke Jerram, Artist behind the international street pianos project Play Me I'm Yours

Notes to editors

Notes to editors 

·         Busk in London aims to build on the success over eight years of the annual Gigs busking competition,  as well as London Underground's long-running busking scheme. It also builds on the popular London 2012 cultural programme, which saw artists bring a variety of arts and entertainment to high streets and town centres across the capital.The scheme is supported by City of Westminster Council, Heart of London Business Alliance, Network Rail, Northbank Business Improvement District, New West End Company, Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea, PRS for Music, Richer Sounds and Transport for London.

·         #LondonIsOpen will show the world that London remains entrepreneurial, international, and full of creativity and possibility, while reassuring the more than one million foreign nationals who live in London that they will always be welcome, and that any form of discrimination will not be tolerated. The Mayor is urging all Londoners, organisations and businesses to show their support for the #LondonIsOpen message via social media, through other creative ways. The starting idea for the campaign is built around London opening its doors to welcome people in, and will encourage people to use this as a platform for their own contributions. A film of famous locations opening their doors has been produced https://youtu.be/ErLq9nir41E.

To view the #LondonIsOpen campaign videos, please visit:

·         Doors video: https://youtu.be/ErLq9nir41E

·         #LondonIsOpen featuring Corinne Bailey Rae & Olly Murs: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tyAriyj1uug

·         #LondonIsOpen featuring Konnie Huq, Chris Moyles, Sandra from Gogglebox: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hd2HZiI-Ioc

·         #LondonIsOpen featuring Jude Law, Jarvis Cocker: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cf-scNhLVgQ

·         MusicTank is a music business think tank and consultancy operated by University of Westminster.  Its recent study of 1,042 respondents in prime London street entertainment locations - Covent Garden, Trafalgar Square and Portobello Road - found that 86% of tourists and 62% of residents surveyed were in favour of busking/ street entertainment. The overwhelming view of tourists was that busking enhanced the visitor experience whilst the majority of residents favoured it for its cultural contribution to the capital. Download the report here: http://www.musictank.co.uk/product/london-street-peformance-research/