Both thanks to the wholesale privatisation of our public spaces and some common misconceptions about busking, cities are increasingly restricting street performance or banning it altogether. This section of the site aims to collect together tools to help buskers defend themselves in courthouses and council meetings. We can’t do this without your help.
We need people to provide us with:

  • Testimonials
  • Model currently working permit systems
  • Information about busker-friendly civil rights organisations

Scroll down to read more, and see how you can help!

The perfect permit system

There is no such thing...

Each city has different needs, but there is one thing for certain: mandatory, expensive and arbitrarily restrictive permit systems create WORSE public spaces, not BETTER. Our aim is to show examples of cities that are doing it right.

There will always be arguments over the best way of doing things. However, if you know of a system that seems to be working well — one which encourages a healthy street culture and promotes public displays of art — please tell us about it! As they come in, we’ll add them here.

Making the best of a bad situation...

Here are a some dicussions on they way forwards where permits are concerned we hope to one day have them here available to all to download and use freely.

Part One: Pros and Cons Part Two: Guidelines Part Three: SPACE (the perfect system?)

Partners and peers

Busker Hall of Fame
"GREAT STORIES FROM THE WORLD OF STREET THEATRE." Busker HOF does what it says on the tin — shows you some of the legends of the pitch, sharing stories with you. A fantastic podcast, blog, site etc!
Busker TV
An internet TV channel promoting street musicians and artists from Ireland and from around the world.
Dolphin Creative
Our passion for festivals have taken us around the world working in partnership with the largest most prestigious cultural institutions. Our knowledge and experience of the cultural landscape and our passion for promoting the arts by working with partners give us a unique insight into how we can help you produce outstanding results.
Nomad Wiki
Here you'll find out about free camping and tramp lifestyle, not for tourists. We're currently working on 154 articles. See also our group on Facebook or join the discussion in Chatroom - you can also plunge in right now, create an account and start writing. Some useful links for buskers, too.
School of Busking
The School of Busking provides live classes in small groups, workshops, lectures and one to one tuition. We also bring you FREE online busking resources, videos, articles, blog and PDF fils to help.
The aMillion BaZillion Art Society exists to grow the arts. We are passionate about producing interactive public events featuring exceptional local and international talent. In a world full of trouble and confusion, arts serve to bring people together, strengthen communities, inspire minds and infuse the world with the magic of being alive. Witnessing creativity reminds us that the future is unwritten. Bringing 100,000 people together to celebrate life and art is healing.
We believe in a New York where public performance is a vibrant and celebrated part of artistic life! That means providing accurate information about the legality and reality of subway performance to MTA officials, NYPD officers, and to every subway rider; helping subway performers to advocate for themselves and to sue when their rights are violated; and promoting, organizing, and curating events and exhibitions that celebrity the diversity and the excellence of New York City’s subway art.
Artistas Na Rua
Quem não gosta de andar pelas ruas de uma cidade e ter a deliciosa surpresa de assistir, nem que seja por alguns poucos segundos, a artistas doando seu tempo e sua alma por você? Não importa o tipo de arte, se ela te agrada, te completa ou até mesmo te ofende. É uma das raras coisas que ajudam a quebrar o gelo da rotina, a nos desligar temporariamente de nossas responsabilidades e nos transportar para lugares que alimentam nossa capacidade de relaxamento, reflexão, criatividade e afins.
World Street Music
World Street Music is project about talented street musicians from around the world. They film HD videos with quality sound. The project started in August 2012.
Strad@perta (openstreet) in the brand new web system allowing artists to select and book pitches and timetables in Milan via internet. The system, implemented by F.N.A.S., can be extended to other It and EU cities. Through the same web platform artists will be able to book pitches in several cities. After testing phase whole platform will be available also in English and will be proposed to main EU cities.
Italian Federation for Street Arts
The F.N.A.S. is the national federation of Italian street artists, art operators and festival organizers. It provides services and grants visibility to hundreds of Italian festivals and artists on national and European scale. The best reference to get in touch with the italian ambit of street show, music and festivals.
The event is fast becoming an unmissable fixture on the musical world’s calendar. In 2009, we set a world record for biggest co-ordinated busk. In 2010 we raised money to help the Holy Trinity Music School that was destroyed by the Haitian earthquake. In 2011 we sent money to schemes for some of the poorest children in Uganda, Thailand, India and South Africa. Naturally we want it to be bigger and better than ever, so this year’s theme is ‘Extreme Busking’. Could you try for the highest altitude busk? How about a deepest busk – underwater? Can you beat the Rothera Research Station’s furthest south busking record? How about furthest north? Most colourful costume? Largest group? What about most unusual location – can you beat the aircraft carrier busk of 2009?
Articles and resources for street performers. They also have a comprehensive listing of Busking Licensing & Permits, Competitions, Events & Festivals plus Musicians Job Listings.
Undercover New York
Nick’s first website, devoted to buskers in The Big Apple.
Total Theatre
Total Theatre is a national agency with an international focus, developing contemporary theatre for both theatre makers and theatre audiences. Total Theatre works in many ways to support and contemporary theatre artists, for example through communication, celebration, advocacy, collaboration, and professional development.
Street Sounds
Have you ever seen something so good that you wish everybody could also see it? That’s Street Sounds. We show the world good and talented musicians on the streets and their stories because we want all of you to share the same excitement that we feel when we see them.
Covent Garden Street Performers Association
The SPA offers a single point of contact and ratification for a large number of established and experienced street performers who have their roots in the Covent Garden area of London. All SPA licensed performers are carefully auditioned on merit, experience and talent and meet agreed standards of quality and suitability. Each performer is also required to pass a full risk and safety assessment. We provide coaching and support for those starting out as street performers. We offer ongoing support and guidance to all our members. Sharing our experience and developing our craft is vital to our future success and ensures continuing high quality standards.
San Francisco Street Musician's Guild
The san Francisco Street Musician’s Guild is a coalition of Street Musicians dedicated to promoting free live music on the streets of San Francisco.
Pocket Productions
The Mission of Pocket Productions is to develop the arts community in Columbia, SC, by stimulating cooperation between and innovation among local artists and arts organizations. We aim to increase the number of residents who attend art events and support the arts, thereby developing Columbia economically and expanding the influence and exposure of the arts in the community at large.
Playing for Change
Playing for Change is a multimedia movement created to inspire, connect, and bring peace to the world through music. The idea for this project arose from a common belief that music has the power to break down boundaries and overcome distances between people. No matter whether people come from different geographic, political, economic, spiritual or ideological backgrounds, music has the universal power to transcend and unite us as one human race. And with this truth firmly fixed in our minds, we set out to share it with the world.
A huge selection of articles written by performers, for performers, and a massive array of bulletin boards for discussing performing related topics!
PANDA – the performing arts network, “supporting the generation of innovative creativity.” We do this through: regular networking events, an online community, encouraging collaboration, monthly newsletter, brokering special offers and discounts for members; training programmes, one-to-ones, action/peer learning facilitation, consultancy (for individuals and organisations), information, advocacy of the sector. PANDA’s mission is to proactively support a vibrant enterprise culture by nurturing talent, creating connections and providing an authoritative voice for the performing arts sector.
Open Street
The creation of a international debate, the comparisons between normative and laws, different urban patterns and policies for development and support of street arts, will drive to a new consciousness and will produce new stimulus in administrators and art operators. This route could not be undertaken on a simple regional or local level. Our country, now, is Europe!
New Work Network
New Work Network supports the development of new performance, live and interdisciplinary arts practices by nurturing arts practitioners through the creation of innovative professional development activities that focus on networking, exchange and collaboration across the UK and internationally. They offer: A social networking website that allows artists to meet online, and market their work; NWN organised schemes, events and activities that focus on advocacy, information exchange, critical debate professional development and networking; An email and telephone advice and sign posting service for NWN members; Activator bursaries and professional development support for artist-led networks; Travel bursaries to allow arts professionals to attend and network at platforms, festivals and key cultural events; An advice and troubleshooting service led by NWN staff in collaboration with the NWN Associates; NWN provide a dedicated Resources section containing downloadable toolkits and articles relating to artistic practices; A weekly NWN e-digest (for members only) and NWN newsletter.
Nasa (UK)
The National Association of Street Artists is an independent UK network of creative practitioners making work for the outdoors. NASA aims to support and develop the professional practice of UK based street artists by: engaging in strategy and policy discussions; advocating for the sector and networking with key organisations; providing information sharing, discussion forums and peer support; undertaking research and delivering developmental projects.
The Musicians Union (UK)
The Musicians’ Union is a globally-respected organisation which represents over 30,000 musicians working in all sectors of the music business. As well as negotiating on behalf of musicians with all the major employers in the industry, the MU offers a range of services tailored for the self-employed by providing assistance for professional and student musicians of all ages. The Musicians’ Union has specialist full-time officials available to immediately tackle the issues raised by musicians working in the live arena, the recording studio, or when writing and composing.
The Magic Café
An online forum for street performers of the magical variety (who discuss topics relevant to ALL buskers)
Keep Streets Live
Keep Streets Live! is the campaigning wing of the Association of Street Artists and Performers (ASAP!). To date, we have been fighting a high-profile campaign urging Liverpool City Council to repeal an oppresive, unfair and unlawful street performance policy. Our actions have garned a slew of national media coverage and public support. As a result of our activities, a temporary suspension of the enforcement of Liverpool’s policy has been achieved, pending the decision of a High Court judicial review.
Our mission is to facilitate the creation of excellent professional performing arts by supporting, developing and representing the people who manage and produce it. ITC will strive to perform a vital facilitating role for the performing arts. It will encourage and sustain performing arts practitioners and organisations by: providing comprehensive advice and support services to performing arts businesses so that they can concentrate on creating high quality, imaginative art; providing a strong voice for the UK performing arts sector – raising its profile and representing its interests with policy makers; uniting a community of performing arts professionals where sharing of good practice and peer-learning can take place; empowering, educating and energising arts professionals through professional development suitable to all stages of their careers.
ISAN is an independent group of producers, presenters, promoters and artists working in outdoor arts from the UK and Ireland. They develop the outdoor arts sector through networking, lobbying, information-sharing, training, research, and advocacy support and advice. They are committed to supporting outdoor arts in all its forms.
There’s a brave new world filled with entertainment, news and tools made by everyone, and not just the big guys. This new world deserves your support. Simply click on Flattr buttons on blogs and websites. Creators can make a decent living, because if lots of us do this, sums add up quickly and can keep a blog or a useful piece of software going.
Edinburgh Fringe Festival
The biggest (and often most popular) street performer festival in the world.
Cest is D'Best
We bring vivacity, energy, culture and laughter for all good-natured human beings: children, employed people, clowns, members of unions, students, the retired, trumpet players, foreigners, locals, hedonists, idealists, environmentalists, hometown boosters, sportsmen and sportswomen, musicians, actors and actresses, philosophers, dancers, runners, the loud and the silent, those who clap and those who whistle…. 6 stages, with hundreds of performers from all over the world, 5 days filled with performances, music, drama, children’s activities, art, sport and other events will put a smile on the faces of fans and visitors to Zagreb.
Conflux aims to develop and promote a thriving community of artists and educators working in the fields of street arts, physical theatre and circus in Scotland. Conflux’s core aim is to ensure that this community will have the tools to be fully self-sustaining by 2013. On that basis Conflux will be supporting a variety of artistic and educational projects both independently and in collaboration with its partners, and will be focussing on providing spaces, equipment, guidance and training to enable practitioners to operate independently and successfully in Scotland
City Lore
City Lore’s mission is to foster New York City – and America’s – living cultural heritage through education and public programs. We document, present, and advocate for New York City’s grassroots cultures to ensure their living legacy in stories and histories, places and traditions. We work in four cultural domains: urban folklore and history; preservation; arts education; and grassroots poetry traditions. In each of these realms, we see ourselves as furthering cultural equity and modeling a better world with projects as dynamic and diverse as New York City itself.
Circus Development Agency
The UK’s national advocacy organisation for circus has the aim of raising the profile of circus as a cultural activity; ensuring that circus is a viable industry offering secure and worthwhile employment; promoting training and sharing of skills; and providing a forum for the industry. The agency has a wealth of information about training and professional development opportunities on their website, as well as general advice. They also have a monthly newsletter and run events.
Circostrada Network is a European platform for the street arts and circus, dedicated to information, observation and professional exchanges. Representing more than 50 members from 17 countries, the network is working to develop the structuring and recognition of these sectors in Europe. HorsLesMurs, French national information centre for street arts and circus arts, is the general secretariat of the network. Created in 1993 by the Ministry of Culture and Communication, it supports artistic activities through observation, documentation, training, expertise, research and publishing.
The Citizens’ Initiative BuskerVille was founded in 2010 to support and promote street art (busking) in Prague. The main objective of the initiative is primarily to simplify the legislation and the process of obtaining permits for the operation of street art and integral transformation of the use of public space in Prague and the whole country.
Buskers Advocates
Street Arts and Buskers Advocates cultivates ongoing fundamental relationships between artists and communities by celebrating self-expression as a basic human right essential for the healthy growth of youth, individuals and communities. Street Arts and Buskers Advocates is a program of Community Arts Advocates, Inc., a nonprofit organization dedicated to expanding public awareness, participation in and support of the arts through performances and festivals, exhibits and workshops, publications and publicity, educational forums, nonprofit arts management consultation services, and collaborative projects.
Busker Central
Busker Central is a busker and street performer reference site and a non-profit co-operative promoting busking around the globe. Each month, the popular Busker Central News Blog keeps you up-to-date and informed with interesting stories, legal issues, and events on busking and street performing from around the world.
Busker World
Would you like to protect your guitar (mandolin, bass, banjo, sax, etc.) from these elements? The Busker Bag ™ was developed as a method of protecting your instrument against elements that would serve to harm its finish or tone.
Busker Bags
Would you like to protect your guitar (mandolin, bass, banjo, sax, etc.) from these elements? The Busker Bag ™ was developed as a method of protecting your instrument against elements that would serve to harm its finish or tone.
Busk Action
Buskaction stands for the promotion of the ART of busking. (Based in London).
Bandstand Busking
Bandstand Busking brings life to unused bandstands across London. There are dozens of bandstands spread across the city, but when did you last spot one surrounded by a crowd excited to watch a talented band? We’re here to fill that gloomy void.
The Association of Street Artists and Performers (ASAP!) is a UK-based social enterprise which informs performers of their legal rights and responsibilities, whilst raising public awareness of what it is that performers do. We campaign against needlessly restrictive policies and strive to build strong links both with local authorities and within the performance community. We offer advice, training and support to members on how to get the most out of street performance, and how to contribute positively to the life and atomosphere of our nation’s streets.
ArtsWork Berlin


Inspiring, honest and open testimonials by buskers, academics, lawyers, celebrities and business people from around the world. Add your voice!

Busking Testimonials.

We asked people around the world to send us their busking testimonials. These are short pieces that answer the following three questions:

What has busking done for you, personally?
What is important about it in general?
Why should it be protected?

Give us your own busking Testimonial

Send your answers to with the subject line “Busker Testimonial”.

Also, please remember to include details about what you do. Are you a busker? What is your performance? Are you a professional?In what field?



Street performers often get discouraged because of the perceived closeness of busking to begging, because of the rejection they get from 9/10 of passersby, or simply because of the daily grind of putting your emotions and talent out there day after day, week after week. We’re hoping these inspiring stories will help street performers feel better about what they do, and remind them of the inherent value associated with their work — it really does help to change the world!

Changing perceptions

People often think of buskers as either beggars or, at best, as failed artists. You could argue that in a few cases this is correct (it’s not too important, but The Busking Project does NOT support this idea). But in the majority of cases street performance is a political, social or artistic choice, and even as a career goal. Beautifying our cities, getting paid to practice, meeting your audience, giving art to those who can’t afford staged live performances, or just choosing to live an alternative lifestyle to the regular 9 to 5, there are different definitions of “success”, especially in the art world. We’re hoping these testimonies will demonstrate that.

Defending your rights

By creating a body of evidence to show real stories written by and about buskers, we hope to influence the minds of judges and council members considering new legislation limiting public art. This is a common problem, and buskers are often in court trying to defend themselves and their methods. Testimonials written by buskers, celebrities, city planners, academics, audience members, judges, lawyers, mayors, police officers, artists, merchants, businessmen and people who work in the tourist industry are just one part of the package of documents we’re collecting to give as free downloads when the need arises.

What will you do with them?

We’ll offer them as a free download on the website. Other documents will include a list of previous court cases in which street performance has been successfully defended, and detailed descriptions of cities in which busking is treated fairly by the authorities and yet still work well.


Yes. Here are the first twenty we received. They make for very inspiring reading:

You can download them right here!

How long should it be?

These will be read by people who are often very busy: judges and council members. So, tell us everything you think is important, but try to keep it to one page.

What will that achieve?

Perhaps not very much. But this is the kind of information that buskers all over the world are looking for — we get contacted every month by buskers who are going to court and would like support. Once all this information is in one place, perhaps we’ll be able to help street performers fight for their own rights in their own cities, benefitting us all!


My English isn't very good?

Yes! We copy edit every testimonial before publishing it. This means simple spelling and grammar mistakes, so don’t worry! As long as we can understand what you are trying to say, by the time it is published, it will sound very professional.

Have them in my languange?

Not yet. But if you’d like to help us translate them, it would help us out hugely. These issues are prevalent all over the world, not just in English speaking countries.

How can I thank you?

In the usual way…put a tip in our hat, and click here to donate! (All donations go directly towards funding The Busking Project’s success).