Busking in Scotland

Busking in Scotland

We were recently contacted by The Times to discuss stories of clampdowns on busking in Scotland. We’ve already been campaigning in Edinburgh for some time, but there have apparently been worrying developments in Dundee where amplification has been banned and performance limited to three locations across the entire city.

KSL Director Chester Bingley quoted in The Times.

“We recognise some street performance can be disruptive but the way forward is to have structured communication with all parties to find workable solutions. Edinburgh council have chosen not to do this and have put up their own signs that have no basis in law. Choosing to perform in the streets is not illegal and has deep historic and cultural roots.”

The arbitrary rules introduced by Edinburgh and Dundee have no basis whatsoever in law. In fact, as Police Officers in Scotland already have extensive powers under Section 54 of the 1982 Civic Governance Act to stop any busker if they are giving ‘reasonable cause for annoyance’, they are also rendered utterly unnecessary. Councils already have every weapon they need to deal with any problems that arise on a case-by-case basis. These ‘rules’ merely serve to extend punishment to those who are causing no disturbance and facilitate the domination and control of public spaces by BIDs and local authorities.

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

6 Comments on "Busking in Scotland"

  • Ben says

    Over-regulation destroys the human spirit. If there are good reasons why very loud continual music might be restricted (eg because it is reducing city trade or continually disturbing the peace in residential areas) the rather than impose an outright ban on all music/amplification, I would prefer it if UK councils created sensible rules (eg the existing 9am -9pm rule) perhaps allowing amplifiers up to specific Db nosie levels, in specific areas, on specific days.
    Buskers and other street performers can be fun and create feelings of well-being, whilst adding to towns’ and cities’ overall vibrancy and vitality, drawing in vistors and revenue for some local businesses, and providing a public testing ground for budding new performers.
    Let’s not be heavy handed here. Create some workable rules and guidelines that offer reasonable and generally liberal solutions for all parties concerned.

  • Alexander Hudson says

    Can you still busk with Corovirus and lock down?

    • Chester Bingley says

      Hi! As you’ve posted this question on the Busking in Scotland post I’m presuming you’re referring to the situation in Scotland. As far as KSL are aware the First Minister has included busking in the list of activities that is prohibited. Unfortunately we don’t have a link to confirm if this is the case or not, or whether the restriction is more complex than that.

  • Hannah says

    I’m 14 and I’m from Dundee can I start in the city centre and how do I do that??

    • Chester Bingley says

      Normally it is illegal to busk under the age of 16 in the UK. I’m not aware if the situation in Scotland is any different as there may be some legal differences regarding minors working.

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