Busking and Street Performing – Advice on Laws and Finding the Perfect Pitch!

So you have some talent and would like to make a bit of money! How are you going to attract a crowd, what sort of show can you create and how are you going to end up with the money being put in your upturned hat at the end! Do not fear, for this article…

So you have some talent and would like to make a bit of money! How are you going to attract a crowd, what sort of show can you create and how are you going to end up with the money being put in your upturned hat at the end! Do not fear, for this article will help you to get started! It has been said that if you can perform on the street, then you have the necessary skills to perform anywhere!

Busking Laws

There is no universal code of conduct for Buskers, although it is common sense that you are likely to get into trouble if you impede pedestrian traffic flow, block or other obstacle entrances or exits, or do things that endanger the public. It is common law that any disturbing or noisy behaviors may not be connected after certain hours in the night. In the UK places requiring licenses to busk may also require you to audition!

Permits will only cover you for a certain place and they are not transferable between different towns, so a lot of buskers will not bother with them unless they are always going to use the same pitch. Perhaps the best attitude is to simply smile and move on if the Police turn up! Sometimes easier to plead ignorance than ask permission (but that's for you to decide!)

Watch Out: Buskers can find themselves targeted by thieves, especially if they work alone. It can not be easy to keep an eye on all your props, and your earnings at the same time, and there is a process called “dipping” or “skimming” where the customer pretends to make a donation and takes money out instead! George Burns (comedian) described his days as a busker in the following way.

“Sometimes the Custom thread something in the hats.

Where to Busk (find your perfect “Pitch”)

You could perform the exact same routine in 2 different places and make completely different amounts of money, so finding a good pitch (performance area) is essential if you want to make money. If you can find a place that has high visibility, possibly some seating nearby, low background noise, and plenty of pedestrians walking by then you are in with a good chance!

If you decide to busk outside someone's shop and they get annoyed with you, then this is not a workable pitch and you should move on. There is no point making enemies and making the situation worse for the other buskers in the town by giving everyone a bad name!

Here is a Busking Wikipedia page of all the best known Busking Locations in the world. Be aware that as these locations are the most popular you will most likely need a Busking permit / license to perform there!