Busking

Meeting: 
MQT on 2014-09-17
Session date: 
September 17, 2014
Reference: 
2014/3223
Question By: 
John Biggs
Organisation: 
Labour Group
Asked Of: 
The Mayor
Category: 

Question

i.                    How many licensed buskers are there?

ii.                 What provision is there for new applicants?

iii.               Is there a lower age limit?

iv.               Have any buskers been 'de-licensed' and how many complaints have been received?

v.                 How much sponsorship income has been received?

vi.               Are any new pitches proposed?

vii.             Are you proposing licensed busking at any other locations (i.e. other than the tube) on the transport network?

Answer

Answer for Busking

Answer for Busking

Answered By: 
The Mayor

The GLA does not centrally collate data on this area. But my culture team is aware of the following:

i. How many licensed buskers are there?

We are aware of the following licensed buskers:

       Camden (acts with music / amplification only) have 84 licensed buskers

       Hillingdon have licensed buskers. GLA have asked for numbers, but this figure hasn't yet been provided.

       London Underground  have 269 licensed buskers

       In addition, Southbank Centre and Covent Garden have around 200 regular buskers / street performers.

       Through his new busking initiative, Busk In London, the Mayor is encouraging boroughs to adopt the voluntary busking code of conduct and apply minimum regulation to busking and street performance in public spaces.

ii. What provision is there for new applicants?

I am aware of the following provision for new applicants:

       Camden - buskers can apply throughout the year at www.camden.gov.uk

       Hillingdon - buskers can apply at www.hillingdon.gov.uk

       London Underground - the last auditions were held in Feb 2013 TfL are currently updating their booking system for buskers. Once this is complete, they plan to hold auditions. This is expected to be during 2015. The winners of the Mayor's busking competition - Gigs - receive licenses to busk on the London Underground.

       Covent Garden and Southbank Centre hold regular auditions.

       The picture across London is complex and fragmented, so the aim of Busk In London is to provide buskers and street performers with easier access to a range of busking locations across London, as well as a simple way to sign-up for licensed / managed busking locations.

iii. Is there a lower age limit?

       The minimum age limit on London Underground is 16. I am not aware of a specified age limit on other schemes.

iv. Have any buskers been 'de-licensed' and how many complaints have been received?

       London Underground have withdrawn licenses from 2 buskers since 2008. They receive very few complaints about busking on the Underground with only 1 in the year to date.

v. How much sponsorship income has been received?

       This is a matter for the management of each of the current licensed schemes. With regard to the Mayor's Gigs programme, current partners include Arts Council England, PRS For Music, Network Rail, TfL, Westfield, various BIDs and prize providers. This year they have provided both cash and in kind support totalling £132,800.

vi. Are any new pitches proposed?

       Transport for London regularly review the potential for new busking pitches across their transport network.  Through Busk In London the Mayor is looking to introduce new locations where busking is actively promoted on the transport network and at other local authority and privately owned locations.

vii. Are you proposing licensed busking at any other locations (i.e. other than the tube) on the transport network?

       No - we are not proposing the introduction of any more licensed schemes as these add to the complexity of busking in London and deter performers with fees, lengthy processes and varying rules. The aim of Busk In London is to create a culture change in busking in London. Busk In London is based on boroughs, land owners, the police and performers creating and signing up to a voluntary busking code of conduct with an agreed complaints resolution process in which recourse to the law is a last resort. This 'self-policing' approach, with responsible performers taking the lead, is proven to work in other cities.