Best Practice Busking Guide

Best Practice Busking Guide

This best practise guidance has been jointly produced by the Keep Streets Live Campaign, Liverpool City Council and Liverpool Business Improvement District. It aims to preserve and safeguard a vibrant, open and spontaneous street culture whilst at the same time giving businesses, residents and buskers alike the tools to deal with issues that sometimes arrive at street level. We believe that buskers and local authorities working together towards the common good is the best way of safeguarding the street performing tradition and keeping public spaces open to the arts. We are certain that Liverpool’s forward-looking approach will be followed in other towns and cities in the UK and beyond.

This post was written by
Singer-Songwriter/Professional Street Performer/Campaigner/Wandering Minstrel

44 Comments on "Best Practice Busking Guide"

  • A ‘practical’ busking code containing a basic framework of spots ( and importantly recognised ‘space’ ) together with common sense busking etiquette and rapid ‘civil’ back-up where necessary is what I as a ‘working’ Street Peformer look for in a city/town busking scheme. That plus perhaps one more valuable requirement eg an ‘efficient’ scheme – one that cuts out ‘the middleman’!.

    For me the great weakness of Liverpools ‘new’ so called best practice guide is firstly the title yuk! it sounds so CAB leaflet, so consumer, so patronising. Secondly and more importantly a busking code that does not include the ‘formalisation’ of space is for me a ‘no-no’ from the start, its just so open to abuse.

    In my experience, lets take for example Birmingham in recent months, if Performers are simply left to choose there own space without any formalisation then before long malpractices and ensuing conflicts do occur eg. what with the inevitable encroachments, drowning out by other performers at ‘close-range’ high volume level, and all the general insensitivities and lack of considerations that always happen and are sadly human all too human regardless of the rule book etc with regards busking.

    Given this all too often these days unhappy scenario I’ve found that the most reliableand preventative strategy for avoiding space incursion issues etc is I restate to have a basic framework of ‘naturalised’ and ‘agreed’ spots in place, that performers are clear about, recognise and ‘act’ upon. A system that I can vouchsafe works beautifully along these lines is the busking code in Stratford upon Avon, a busy tourist town where for instance there has been a 2hr rota system in place with regards busking pitches for 3 or so years now. I point out that the scheme is up and running and working very successfully, happily accepted by all concerned eg. players, council and businesses alike.

    With regards the situation in Liverpool I met a Street Act from Chester recently who claimed to have played in Liverpool for 20years or more and who described the situation contrary to you Jonny now as ‘chaos’. It seems that at times there are just too many performers clumped togother in too tighter spaces and many types of performance are just too prone to being interfered with by others. For example in a recent Twitter video of yours one where you rather proudly feature the towns Night Busking you can clearly identify 3 or 4 ‘loudish’ acts performing in close vicinity. If that were a regular occurance during the day, in the kinds of places I play, then acts like mine, or the Puppet Act above simply could not function, we’d just be drowned out by the noise.

    In fact if you were to think about the kind of act found in Stratford upon Avon eg jugglers, magicans, keyboard players, light folk singers/easy listening singers, light classical violinists, classical guitarists etc sadly all of these fantastic kinds of performances would be severely hindered in Liverpools current environment, and your ‘good’ practice guide not being necessarily able to help them, on the face of it anyways.

    Ok fine, experiment with the ‘current’ good practice guide in Liverpool, and genuinely see how it fairs. Again though, speaking from experience, this particular approach ( if it were the ‘sole’ approach ) would definitely not work in the places I’m familiar with, including more locations than than you might have others believe eg not just Stratford upon Avon and Birmingham but places I’ve played in farther afield.

    Nice designed booklet though Jonny, the graphic artist has done a good job here, its very well presented. I do chuckle though at the thought of for example the code in Stratford upon Avon being so elaborately printed, laminated, and framed as part of a photo-shoot with the Lord Mayor and Council Officials. An obvious PR stunt like that in in Shakespeareland would possibly be mocked for eternity, and if someone like me were to be involved at the centre of things, I’d be shot down in flames – and rightly so!.

    ( * You see one social fact that emerged during our most recent campaing with the District Council is that the Buskers of Stratford upon Avon are not lifes ‘natural’ followers, no! they’re rather a tough collection of strong-minded individuals, a small culture of Leaders. One individual putting themselves in the spotlight like that would simply not be tolerated)

    Finally excuse my scepticism here but how often in my experience have supposed ‘colourful’ information booklets from the council turned out to be no more than an excercise in style over content – if not a merely personalised albeit collaborative departmental expression of ‘universal’ platitudes!

    No as a ‘working’ Busker I personally like to be imbued with ‘content’ first. To broadly think, rationally draw out and emphasise the ‘jobbing’ details, thats the kind of approach I like to see, one that emphases a jobbing, ‘practical’ working perspective, one that actually solves the ‘key ‘problems of noise levels, ‘spots’ & spaces and performance standards. I’m not interested in a busking code that serves to impress on the PR level, no I desire a ‘rational’, well thought out set of conclusions, that are ‘fair’ and preferably placed in a public ‘democratic’ portal for everyone to see. I for one have no wish or desire to be walking around with a laminated ‘rule’ booklet ( soooo pretentious! soooo imposing!), no, I’d rather leave that in the hands of the referee.

    All I want to do is to be in a position to memorise the basic code, since afterall said and done busking is fundamentally about civic basic common-sense and decency anyway. No, keep it practical and impersonal, just set up the framework, back it up with some ‘realistic’ civic force and leave me the Artist, to get on with the job, just leave me to be creative and free ( no portable busking Bible, no ‘handy’ ten commandments required ), no please recognise that I’m quite capable of internalising the basic mores of busking by myself ( I don’t need any ‘moral’ help or support ) , so just let me be and you’ll see everything will be just .

    All in all then as for Liverpools so called best practice guide for busking it gets the thumbs down from me. It just does’nt go far enough in solving the day to day practical problems of busking. In fact for performers like me, in the kinds of places I like to play such a guide would prove more a hindrance than an opportunity, and in some cases it would represent a ‘negative’ framework that seriously could lead to the actual demise of some of the best acts
    out there. So here it is, Buskers beware!.

    • Shelagh Boardman says

      How I agree about the “busking” in Liverpool. We are a traditional dance team and actually did book spots to dance at with the Liverpool BID team. On arrival at one we saw two buskers on the opposite side of Church Street, so we moved further away from them before setting up. Their response – up the amplification. This not only caused earache for passers by, but overrode our acoustic music and threw some of the less experienced dancers into confusion as they were trying to listen to the music they knew.
      As we had booked the spot, and filled in all the forms for permission, this was certainly a pain in the posterior.
      We can’t dance just anywhere as we do actually draw a crowd, and have to be careful of shop doorways and windows, as well as allowing clear passage for passers by.
      There should be room for all. We give our takings to charity, and are only there for a maximum of 30 minutes at any one time.

  • Keep Streets Live exists to preserve the informal and spontaneous nature of busking.

    This guide sets out principles around pitch selection and etiquette in more detail then any other guide I’ve seen. Not only that but it is designed for the benefit of businesses and residents too who may not know the best way to approach a busker who is causing an issue.

    There is a detailed description of how enforcement action could be taken against buskers causing noise nuisance.

    There is an explicit recognition from the Mayor that busking is to be encouraged and supported.

    Buskers themselves are able to make use of this code. If you felt yourself to be bullied by the proximity of another busker to the detriment of your act, under this guidance you could call the council and ask for assistance if you had already tried to talk to the busker to no avail.

    Of course, this guidance would need to be adopted to the particulars of each locality where it was introduced, but it embodies values and principles that are relevant anywhere.

    The evening-tide video you saw does not reflect the day time scene in Liverpool. Nor does my proclamation that I am going to play ‘Wonderwall’ reflect my normal repertoire! It is quite simply the most requested song on the streets come the evening so I normally relent and play it once or twice if the person requesting it is adamant! After all, busking is for the delight of the audience as well as the performer!

  • Principles are not the problem Jonny, its their reliable application that is the problem and your Liverpool best practice guide simply does’nt do it for me.

    The reality is that there are all sorts of Buskers out there: the not so conscientous, the more hustley, the envious, the downright malicously destructive who on the day, will always be inclined to sets up in too close a proximity to other acts and ‘negatively’ interfere with them, drowns them out etc. They will do this and carry on performing this kind of ‘destructive’ behaviour unless clear ‘boundaries’ are set out for them in the form of spots and rules of conduct by ‘responsible’ persons or authorities beforehand. All genuine Psychologists know this Jonny, that this is the most effective method for dealing with the antics of selfish juveniles.

    One thing I really don’t like the idea of is attending a ‘monthly’ meetings as a means of resolving disputes or conflicts. No I want my grievances either sorted out on the day ( as most are in the towns I Street Perform in, the mechanisms are thankfully in place to do that ) or privately through some sort of official complaints procedure with a civil body, and a person responsible, a Manager for instance. In fact I’ve sorted most of my ‘work’ related problems out over the telephone, with such a person, its as simple and easy as that.

    In the past ( in the ‘early’ stages ) when I’ve felt the need back up and support on an issue I’ve gone through the Music Union. On reflection though, this has proved quiet naieve and unnecessary, truth is, be very careful who you choose ( if you have that ‘option’ ) as a Union Rep in such circumstances because this is an organisation with its own tiresome and cubmersome kind of beauracracy and not always that good a bunch of Union Reps.

    Its in this context that I’m also against monthly ‘meetings’ as a solution. Its again smacks of that kind of as a longwinded, time-consuming process and one that quite disturbingly can eat into your private space. Buskers beware despite appearances, before you know it, a simple problem that in theory could be resolved more effectively by ‘direct’ civic responsibility is drawn out into a draining, meandering political game, your journey end up even as quite simply a political dead end!. No, the setting up of busking style committee apparachik in our towns and cities is not the answer, all we have here is a recipe for a local form of Mauism and all the soul destroying ramifications that this brand of politic brings with it. Only a sad or very lonely person would be enticed to get involved in such a potentially suffocating social network as that,

    No words are simply not enough, we all can agree on that, however rule by ‘intermediary’ committee such as that currently being brought about in Liverpool is certainly not the answer. The fact is Busking codes of conduct have been with us for a long time, in many parts of the country Jonny. The priniples of Busking have already been carefully thought out in many other places by other ‘intelligent’ human beings, and once more they have been applied successfully. In fact it does’nt take long too learn, it soon becomes pretty clear, that Busking Etiquette is not a brain science its all basically human common-sense.

    Its all then about finding a ‘rational’ effective means for applying these principles and ie. making the ‘moral’ ideal of busking space and freedom a ‘reality.’ My experience tells me, playing in towns and cities other than Liverpool that such ‘ground’ ideals are achievable and all without the need to be taken over by either impersonal outside political forces or ‘fellow’ Buskers ( or at least some of them eg. ones of the more political activist variety ).

    There are more than a few ‘workable’ rational alternative busking schemes to Jonny Walkers best practice guide in Liverpool. Already succesfully in operation in other parts of the country, it is only wise and indeed in good form that they be paid heed too and aknowledged .

  • The real sad thing, a very ‘serious’ potential problem down the line, is that schemes such as the one you have now up and running in Liverpool, best practice guide and all, despite the lofty ambitions rather than creating a ‘civil’ framework that enables authentic and artistic enhancement of the Public space by ordinary ‘positive’ imaginative people, the outcome in ‘reality’ is a mechanism by which the less scrupulous amongst us prevail out there on the streets, bringing with them their own brand of crap, chaos and yes cultural trash. Rather than a positive outcome eg. an entertaining and charming town or city centre atmosphere, we disasterously end up with a kind of grotesque reverse ie. where a kind of culural rot sets in and the actual public space in reality is degraded.

    • On a topical note check out the You Tube Video ‘ Slovak Violinists Play Jazz With Jez Broun ‘ ( *Bath Buskers Website Host ) and spot the ‘real’ musicans.

      Don’t get me wrong here I do like Jez’s approach to busking, and respect his commitment to supporting Street Performing and Bath Buskers. Whilst he does clearly have ‘Old School’ eccentric trash busking associations, he himself verily manages to come across as the fairly honest straightforward’ busking amateur, refreshingly down to earth methinks!.

      Anyway take a peek at this small ensemble because they really do represent the kind of musicans that I really like to see on the streets whether during the day, or on an evenings Midsummer Nights romance.

      • Byetheway my ambitions are ‘amateur’ too, my intention is to be an example of the ‘excellent’ amateur in the spirit of Cuban Boxers, Brazil Choro Musicans ( Composers and Performers! ),
        El Systemo Students, P/T Inventors, Mountaineers, Miscellaneous ‘Classic’ Writers, Russian Olympic Gymnasts and the like.

        Yes Amateurism an often forgotten cultural concept yet a worthy human tradition in Art as in Sport. Its no shame being an amateur, one can be ‘top form’ and yet essentially be an amateur, its also very possible to earn ‘good’ money at an amateur pursuit. I love the idea of amaterism, and its a value that I’m passionately commited too, for me its one of the few truly ‘romantic’ pathways left.

  • The precise aim of this guidance is to allow street performance to flourish and to enable the council to take necessary steps to address any abuses.

    The on the spot civic mediation you seek is provided for by this guidance. If someone sets up too close or causes an objective nuisance you can call the council and ask for steps to be taken.

    This document contains detailed descriptions of what will happen to address complaints and what enforcement action can be taken.

    What it doesn’t contain is blanket restrictions on where and when people can play. Designated pitches often lead to the delegitimising of busking in public space. In Nottingham there are only three official pitches now, in Birmingham there are only 5. This is plainly nonsensical.

    This guidance treats performers with enough respect to assume that they don’t need to be treated as if they were children or subjected to ‘psychological’ boundaries, rather it calls for common courtesy and mutual respect to be shown to performers and other stakeholders alike.

    With respect it feels like you haven’t fully digested the meat of this guidance which is really contained in the ‘resolving issues’ section.

    The open buskers forum is an informal context to enable people to get to know eachother and to provide support to buskers. It’s also a place where buskers can speak to the council and resolve issues. It’s an ongoing dialogue and is not closed to all but a chosen ‘clique’ but is actually open to everyone.

    • The Birmingham ‘busking’ map is currently under review. Also realise that there are extensive road works and building works going on in the city at the moment, so everything is of a flux at present.

      In fact at present the stratosphere of Birmingham is rather like an Italian ‘futurist’ city of the early 20th Century. Not a bad phase to be going through as it creates a heady atmosphere of many possibilites, I’m just eager that we manage to avoid any form of ‘civic’ fascism if you know what I mean, now that would be a catastrophic event for busking – if it were to happen of course!?!?.

  • At last a road map that enables buskers to work sensibly and shows a way forward without heavy handed legislation! For God’s sake (and ours) seize this opportunity and make it work! The streets are neither a bottomless money pit for the loudest and most aggressive performer, nor the exlusive property of those who have businesses or accommodation there. They are commonly owned public spaces in which different activities co-exist. Because this is the first policy document which has included input from buskers, it is also the fairest and most sensibly based that I have seen yet. Promote the idea and make it work!

    • Alan you’re either mis-informed or being deliberately mis-leading here ( or have a very ‘black’ sense of humour ) because this is definitely not the first policy document that has had input from Buskers.

      The scheme in Stratford upon Avon for instance was orchestrated by local folk and ‘session’ musican Marion Morgan and in its successful development 3 or 4 years ago took on board the ideas and values regards busking of all interested parties.

      The Liverpool scheme is certainly not one I would promote for the towns and cities I tend to work in like Stratford, it just would’nt rationally fit , indeed it does’nt feel right for for a place like this. I argue furthermore the fear that a Liverpool style scheme would be in fact the demise of busking in this type of quite ‘different’ place ( a place that contrasts both demographically and in terms of economic market )

      Alan you really are guilty of echoing Jonny Walker type platitudes here with your talk of the streets neither being a ‘bottomless pit…’ nor ‘exlusive property…’. etc. The truth is the problem of noise nuisance eg too high volume levels and the commercial mass enculturisation of the streets and public spaces are ‘political’ realities that simply won’t go away, they certainly are’nt dealt with adequately by your so called best practice guide.

      I’ve seen it time and time again, we ‘possibly’ currently have a situation in Bath for instance where yes even so called ‘quality’ acts ( ie. otherwise decent artists and performers ) are too loud and so cause a stir. Instead of honestly targeting the ‘direct’ cause ( if and when idenfied ) what Council authorities often seem to want to do use what is in fact an easily resolved issue to act out more ‘draconian’ measures, often in the service of ‘established’ vest interests in Baths case the Church, in other cities such as Birmingham various related Retail Business.

      A very ‘rational’ and simple way to avoid such political gaming and enhance the possibility of more justice for Buskers is to adopt schemes like the one in Stratford upon Avon wherebye ‘naturalised’ spots become clearly identified ‘formal’ spaces and rather like an area of natural beauty they and the performers who use them can be easily protected.

      This approach plus some common sense ‘flexibiltiy’ combines to provide for me the ‘best of all worlds’ type solution that I as a ‘working ‘Busker am looking for when out on the job. I’m sorry Alan but I retain my ‘serious’ reservations about the Liverpool scheme and its ‘new’ best practice guide. For me, the scheme ( & guide ) just does’nt represent that overall ‘healthy’ fix to the problems I meet on ‘the streets’ every week, whilst performing regularly in our towns and cities out there in the ‘real’ world.

      • Sam Austin says

        Stratford-Upon-Avon is a good example of a busking scheme, but it is far from perfect. A fair number of the pitches are poorly chosen and in some places there aren’t enough of them, they also offer no flexibility for different types of act. From what I can tell this Liverpool best practice guide is an improvement, laying out general rules for setting up.

        I imagine that if Strat-O-A had a code like this in place,with the resolving issues bit, that whole ruckus over Bancroft Gardens wouldn’t have happened, or certainly would have been lessened.

        • Most performers in Stratford upon Avon I think will disagree with you Sam, including some of those who have been Street Perfoming in the town for 20 years or so now.

          The great thing about the map of ‘formalised’ spaces that pertain to Stratford is that they are the result of a kind of natural evolution rather than some ‘artifical’ beauracratic i.e. all the current busking spots are ones that players ‘naturally’ gravitate to.

          Anyone who visits the town may also be pleasantly surprised as to how well the ‘busking’ spots fit into the towns ‘man-made’ architecture as well. In fact I played at the wedding recently of a couple who work for a Stratford based architects/landscape design office and only the other month we had a long ‘positive’ discussion on this very topic.

          • As for acts Sam believe me when I say there is space for every kind of act large or small, not only is there ‘ Street ‘ space there is ‘ Park ‘ space. The big difference between say Stratford upon Avon and Liverpool ( even cities like Birmingham ) is in terms of market demographic.

            So for example whereas playing Oasis ‘Wonderwall’ may go down well on the High Street on a Fri Night in Liverpool or even Birmingham for that matter, it would’nt be the case in Stratford. The most successful acts with regards entertaining the ‘evening’ Shakespeare Theatre crowd tend to be either Jazz or esp. Classical eg Piano or Opera Vocals.

          • The dispute in the Bancroft Gardens was really about the politics of ‘ownership’ ( nothing to do with the code as such ).

            Whereas the rest of the town falls under County Council jurisdiction the Bancroft Gardens, is a park area, owned by the District Council, partly by British Waterways.

            The District Council started the dispute by granting new ‘contract’ Gardeners powers to act as ‘security’ on the park in line with a 1901 Byelaw they’d dug up, and used to basically kick everyone i.e. Street Artist Performers out of the area.

            We campaigned against the move and within a few days the crisis was resolved. The Gardeners no longer act as Park Wardens, and the code that pertains is self-policed i.e. us Buskers who tend to know each other, and get on well together, are left to govern ourselves. Which we do generally successfully!.

          • Sam Austin says

            Certainly not all spots, which was my point. Most of them are good, but some are not and you never see anyone using them for that reason.

            The code works well in S-O-A, but there are shortcomings, it could be improved.

            Time will tell, but I think this code will be a good one, though I’ve never actually busked in Liverpool. Maintaining freedom to set up where you feel will be best, whilst setting out a comprehensive and friendly set of guidelines for resolving issues.

            P.S. ‘The dispute in the Bancroft Gardens was really about the politics of ‘ownership’ ( nothing to do with the code as such ).’ – The code didn’t provide any reasonable way to resolve the issue, so it was lacking in this instance. Something this Liverpool code improves on.

  • * Please note that with reference to the Bath Abbey issue I touch upon ( above ) wherebye a local Church Rector felt obliged to halt his Sunday Evensong Service due to what he complained was noise interference from Buskers performing in the vicinity, I use the word ‘possibly’ when arguing possible causes of the incident eg. 1 or perhaps 2 inconsiderate street performing individuals !. Of course in this case the facts behind the issue may prove to be a lot more sinister.

    A witness has come forward claiming that they were inside the Church when events took place and that there was in fact no interference coming from outside, indeed the Rector just took it upon himself, seemingly capricously, to close down the service of his own accord, without ‘objective’ good reason.

    If this is the case, clearly it is possible then, that what we are dealing with here is in fact not yet another instance of busking nuisance, but in reality, a fascinatingly rare testimonied example of complainer deviance, that is more specifically, we are dealing with an ‘evil’ Priest.

    ( * See Guardian Article : Bath Buskers Fight Back Over Threat To Ban Amplified Music Around Abbey Tues 23rd Sept 2014 )

  • Jonny says

    I would like to point out that when I play ‘Wonderwall’ it is normally because it has been requested for the umpteenth time and not because of any deep love for the song (catchy though It certainly is).

    For the Shakespeare crowd I would choose Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Simon and Garfunkel, the Beatles and some of my own songs.

    Part of the art of busking is tailoring repertoire to geographic and demographic contexts!

    • Funny, you know you’re not the only one to express such ‘musical’ sentiments Jonny. God knows how many times have I heard ‘Hallelujah!’ echoing from the otherside of the Bancroft at 7pm at night.

      In fact, some respect due to the act behind this now well ‘familiar’ sound, they don’t seem to do too badly with the Theatre Crowd, but I tell you they don’t do half as well as the Classical Pianist I’ve seen playing recently at this time of night, boy, he milks it in, ‘pennies from heaven!’.

  • On reflection the one day in the week that does have more of a ‘popular’ flavour in Stratford upon Avon is Sunday. This is the day that Brummie families out on a day trip , and Biker Clubs out on a run, often flock to the town.

    Having said that, again ‘experience’ has taught me that even so, someone like me, with my kind of romantic ‘solo’ guitar sound ( I’m not your usual bog standard popular eg ‘Godfather’, playing Classical Guitarist ) , can do well on this ‘particular’ day by virtue of the fact that I come across as a little different from the kinds of Busker this public are generally used to. Thats because many of these ‘folks’ Sunday day-out ‘is’ ( acts as ) a kind of leisure ‘escape’ and as such they are ‘open’ to sounds that are indeed a little more exotic.

    • Again please don’t get me wrong here, one of the best ‘Street’ Classical Guitarists that I’ve come across does an excellent arrangement of The Godfather. A Russian Academy trained ‘Musician’, he performs a beautifully arranged ‘advanced’ popular set, and he’s very much appreciated by the public wherever he plays and does particularly well, excellently in fact, in places like Nice in the South of France!.

  • * A Reply to Sam Austin ( Above )

    Sam you say the code in Stratford upon Avon does’nt provide any reasonable way to resolve a dispute, well I restate my case again, in actual fact the dispute that did occur on the Bancroft Gardens was in fact, resolved importantly ‘ in a few days ‘. All you have to do is pick up the telephone and speak to Stratforward, or the ‘Street Scene ‘ Dept at the District Council and the situation is well on its way to being resolved.

    During my earlier stage busking in Stratford upon Avon, 3 years or so back, I had a ‘few’ disputes crop up one of which I solved with MU back-up ( again in hindsight this was not necessary! ). All I had to do is make an appointment to speak to the Creative Events Manager Marion Morgan ( coincidently the actual Stratford upon Avon Busking Scheme Architect, a local folk musician & recording session player, and MU rep herself ) and the issue was resolved. Thats all you have to do, the infrastrucure is there, its all basic commonsense, no long drawn out ‘meetings’ processes,or ‘buskers’ red-tape, a ‘simple’ remedy available to anyone in next to no time.

    As for the issue of popular and ‘unpopular’ spots, one advantage of the 2hr rota scheme is that it does give performers fair whack at some of these ‘popular’ spots and there are more than a few of them. If this were not the case, conflict would inevitabley crop up between performers eager for access to such space. Also remember that Stratford upon Avon is a ‘small’ town compared to Birmingham and Liverpool so there are certain ‘natural’/town plan restrictions that these other large urban centres do not face.

    At the end of the day, as a ‘jobbing’ Busker you soon become aware that its all about ‘the law of averages’ and that ‘monetary’ success depends on an awareness of the principles of business ‘ratios’. The hard ‘realit’y is out there on the road ( in any business/commercial universe ) is that there is always good and ‘bad’ ground, fertile and hard soil, freeways and ‘road’ obsatcles so to be ‘truly’ successful its really a matter of patience and ‘persistance’ not only over the day but over the week, and then a question of totting up your averages. Unfortunately, this is a quality that cannot be built into any busking scheme this is a matter of virtue, ‘moral’ character and individual tenacity.

    Anyway back to the initial point on dispute resolution in Stratford upon Avon, there is an ‘open’ door available to anybody, any Busker, any time to use, no need to go through any ‘intermediaries’ or tiresome ‘middlemen’ ( or women ? ), its easy, the human infrastructure is there for you to simply sort out the problem yourself, just pick up the telephone etc. Its only at times of busking ‘crisis’ do you really need other ‘others’ to join in.

    • Reply to Sam Austin ( above )

      Bytheway, whilst there is general agreement as to what are the ‘good’ busking spaces ( ‘natural’ spots ) in the town, it does vary according to the individual and ‘type’ of act what counts as the most/least attractive spots for them.

      There are perhaps 2 spots/spaces that I notice performers genrally avoiding in the town, but again its quite possible that even these spaces could be ‘turned’ and more than adequately ploughed by the ‘right’ performer ( someone with at least a little ‘charm!’ and audacity! ).

      • In a place like Stratford upon Avon having a ‘basic’ framework of ‘natural’ busking spots in place for Street Perfomers, is for me is a ‘solution’ that works very well, and given the nature of the town with its architecture, ‘sensitive’ performance areas, cultural mileu and pubic space is much more an attractive ‘option’ than the current Liverpool approach vaunted by yourself.

        At the moment there are no ‘real’ problems in the town, and the current balance works just fine. As and when ‘conditions’ change then may the scheme be looked at again and accordingly ‘revised’!.

        • Oh and Sam, if I had to choose between going through Marion Morgan or someone like Jonny Walker, or his supporters, as a means to solve ‘busking’ problems like these as and when they crop up, I’d much prefer Marion ( For me, in situations like this, someone like her would be much more the ‘healthier’ option!. )

          In fact the Bancroft Gardens debacle, I’m almost certain, would have been avoided if she had still been around at the time. One ‘key’ problem was that Stratforward was in ‘management’ crisis itself when the Bancroft issue took place, and for sure I’d say that this was a ‘contributary’ cause!.

          Thank heavens, this little ‘crisis’ has been remedied and we now have a ‘good’ Stratforward Manager in place to help prevent such matters.

          • Sam, what you’ve got in Stratford upon Avon at the ‘local’ level with regards its general busking scheme is the ‘collective’ wisdom of the ages as to the best busking spots/’zones’ in the town and how best to arrange them. Of course ‘serious’ and importantly ‘genuine’ suggestions by ‘newcomers’ to busking in Stratford on how to improve on this design are welcomed!.

  • Finally, one important question you could ask Sam, is well then Nigel, Q. Do you get a sense of ‘full’ Autonomy – ie. of doing ‘freely’ what you choose, the kind of ‘freedom’ that really makes you happy while out Street Performing ( ‘working!’ ), in Stratford upon Avon? . Well my answer to that question would be No!, however this is not necessarily anything to do with the current Busking Scheme. No its more an issue of what authentically can you be, what ‘freely’ can you do given the character and ‘architecture’ of the whole place itself? And for me, this is a ‘musical’ artistic, ‘existential’ human problem that no matter of tinkering with the ‘local’ busking code can resolve!.

  • The Busking ‘Consumer’ Guide To Liverpool, plus any other UK town or city you might care to mention ( An ‘Independant’ Evalution Criteria )

    1. Do the buses run on time – yes most impt ? ( Tick )

    2. Are there enough ‘park benches’ in the grounds of the Church Cathedral so as to enourage democratic ‘leisure’ eg. ball games, & so ‘parents’ can rest while the kids run around playing ‘ball’ ! ( Tick )

    3. Are the flags eg. Union Jack, St George Cross, flying ‘freely’ aloft the Town Hall roof so as to emit a feeling of warmth, love & welcome to ‘shoppers’, visitors & tourists alike ? ( Tick )

    4. Are all forms of musical entertainment encouraged in the city – centre providing an air of ‘sociability’, cultural exuberance, & ‘grace’ in the ‘public’ space eg. professional ‘High St Entertainment’ such as Andean Pipe Players, the actual Scot’s both ‘solo’ performers & full ‘ensembles’, Traditional Morris Dancing Troupes including both ‘Hornpipe’ & Horn alike ? ( Tick )

    etc etc

    Please wd all ‘newcomers’, window shoppers, & daytrippers alike fill in this Place & public ‘wellbeing’ questionairre as we at the Liverpool BID Town Management Partnership , along with ‘other’ City Centre Social Research Providers, most definitely wish you all, ‘city’ dwellers & the town population alike, the very best, & most of all abundance of both Happiness & health in your lives ! . Thanyou ! .

    • Note ( Offical Council Apologes ! )

      Whoops, sorry for misleading you, but the actual ‘independant’ criteria remains hidden these are the ‘explicit’ questions ( above ).

      On behalf of Liverpool City Council, The BID, Our Uk Independant ‘Research’ Partners, Offical Sponsors, Retailors, Shareholders, ‘High’ Street Banks, ‘Commercial’ London Banks, Her Majesty’s Government, The UK Government in Waiting, The International Trade Finance Body, The IMF, & World ‘Heritage’ Fund, I wholeheartedly apologise. Sorrreeeeee! .

      • Further Notes ( A very Special Apology ! )

        Oh I almost forget, how could I , anyway here it is, plus a very ‘special’ apology from the ‘new’ President of the USA, yes the presiding President in Waiting, Head of Congress, Senate, & the Supreme Court, & Supreme Commander of the combined ‘armed’ forces of the United States of America , yes Leader ‘elect’ President Donald Trump ! .

        • * An Aside ( The Greatest Story Ever Told )

          The most phenomenal amount of money & ‘wealth’ ever earned ( I won’t say ‘created’ cos’ thats a hotly disputed term here ! ) by an ‘identifiable’ Social Class ( A Bourgeiouse Group ) ‘rooted’ in the birth of the English Industrial Revolution ( it happened here first folks ! ) & ‘dramatically’ grown since, with us today ( the early 21st ! ) in the most technological & organisationally ( consumer ‘driven’ or is it in this instance market created ? ) ‘advanced’ form. Well thats a ‘public’ guide worth writing, printing & ‘distributing’ across town & city ! .

          • ( * In Memory of Fidel Castro, Prime Minister Of Cuba 1959-1976, President 1976-2006, who died aged 90yrs Nov 25 2016. He was born in Biran, Cuba in 1926 )

          • * Re-thinking ‘Capitalism’ in the 21st Century.

          • * Rethinking ‘democracy’ in America ( the place where you’ve got little, if no chance, of running for ‘Presidential’ office unless you’re a millionaire ).

          • * We hear alot ( no doubt even more so following Castros death ) about the pro’s & ‘cons’ ( more cons ! ) of Socialist Dictatorship but ‘rephrase’ ( above ) The ‘true’ History of Capitalism over the last 200 years ” The Greatest Story ‘Never’ Told ! ” .

          • ( See. The Tyranny of the USA & ‘Foreign’ Policy, Socialist Dictatorship, Injustice, ‘tragedy’, horror & death ).

          • – ‘Flawed’ Actors & how authentic social revolutions should never be ‘separated’ from the people nor ‘forced’ ! .

          • – Leaders, Victims of ‘Circumstance’, & ‘real’ politik ! .

          • Q. When ‘killing’ is excusable ( ‘just’ assassination ! ) & when its not ( i.e. political ‘murder’ )? .

          • These are very much the ‘issues’ of not just yesteryear ( eg. 1950’s/1960’s current affairs ) but of today ! .

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