What is busking ?

Busking is a spontaneous and informal performance of music or other art form where voluntary donations are invited from the public. These performances are not booked and are thus considered ‘incidental’ to other activities.

Does busking require a license?

No. In the UK busking is not a licensed activity on the Public Highway. This is made clear in the 2003 Licencing Act Sections 15.62-15.64. The only exceptions are the boroughs of Camden, Hillingdon, Westminster and Greenwich which have enacted special powers under the London Local Authorities Act. In the cases of Camden and Greenwich this only applies to certain acts and areas. As no formal transaction takes place and no goods change hands there is no need for a Street Trader’s or Pedlar’s license.

Is busking begging?

No. It has been established in UK law that busking is NOT begging as the performer offers ‘value for money’.

Do I need to pay tax on/declare money I earn busking?

Yes. Busking is a form of taxable income. If you busk regularly you should register as a self-employed musician/entertainer. You will find that in practice many of your expenses are tax-deductible so you may not have to pay any tax, just National Insurance contributions. Likewise you should declare busking earnings if you are in receipt of any benefits, tax credits etc.

How do I busk responsibly?

CLICK HERE to visit our page on tips for responsible busking.


If you have any more questions you’d like answered about busking and street performance please comment below or email contact@keepstreetslive.com