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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The side walk shuffle » » Busking laws UK (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

kaos
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In the uk do you need a licence of somesort to busk in the streets? And if so how do you go about getting one? Thanks.

Also what are the best types of effects to perform when busking?
Mario Morris
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Mario Morris
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In my experiance largely you don't need a license, unless you are on private property then you may need permission. Some city councils have introduced licensing, as a way to control busking but one could argue that this is not law. I have a simple policy— it is easier to say sorry than ask for permission.

Scotland on the other hand has diffrent laws which I am not familar with.
Mario
kaos
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Thanks Mario that's a great help!
Kondini
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I have found that if you contact the local Library of the Town you wish to busk in they will advise. In larger Cities such as Salisbury and Wolverhampton they promote street work but have definate no go areas (In Salisbury there are even signs saying No Busking Here ! )City of Bath will send you a little card with their rules on but most of it is common sense anyway.
KerryJK
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They certainly will advise you, generally to contact department x, fill in form xxxx, pay admin fee of £xxxx, take it to department y, have it returned, send it to department z to be filed in the bin, pay bin filing fee £zzzz, stand on one leg, fill in form xyz, take it to city hall, have it torn up in your face, whistle "Rule Britannia" with your head in a bowl of custard, pay custard tax £yyy, fill in...

By the time you've done all this and made it back out on the streets someone's taken your pitch.

Busking always has been a lawless activity, the trick is to use good audience management to deal with police and to move on if asked. Most of the council policies are there more to keep you in a paper loop and off the streets (the weasel compromise between controlling street busking and not being seen to stifle the life of the city) and you'll be dealing with street trader laws anyway.

The first time I ever gave money to a busker as a teenager was on the London Underground, in one of those hideous tube stations that's a mass of unfriendly tiled echoey tunnels such as you might find in a Dr. Who Dalek episode or Kafka novel. The sax player in question had set up directly beneath a particularly unfriendly official looking notice bearing the legend "NO BUSKING, BY ORDER".
Score one for humanity.
Kondini
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It's a pity, I know, but truth is you either fight them or play them at their own game. Over the years, no matter how clever you may think you are, the Law will apply and no way will you get away with nowt, so if you want to make any kind of living doing street entertainment then bend the rules but don't break them. I have several pitches which are risky and I have worked them on and off for many years. Up 'till three weeks ago my stand was that I shall work when and where I please. Since that time (for reasons I will not divulge here) my attitude has changed. (Maybe if I mention Revenue and Local Government you may get the picture.) I want to work and will adjust so that I can.
KerryJK
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In fairness I imagine that the playing field does change a bit at your level, Kondini; it's much easier to work the system when no-one knows or much cares who you are, but once you reach a level where you could be recognised by the wrong people it's time to start playing the game.

I'd be interested to know if it ever gets any easier to deal with the beaurocrats once you have established yourself so they don't just think "great, another nuisance workshy beggar, a candidate for Confidential Waste I believe"? As I have already inferred, trying to play it by the book as a no-name newcomer is a hiding to nothing, the old expression "not what you know but who," or at least who knows you, definitely comes into play.
ninjaduffy
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Hi all,
I have busked in most places in the UK as a musician. As long as you are not selling you can do it anywhere UNTIL you are asked to move. Then the best idea is to move (a little) then start again. If a copper asks you to move then do.

I have always found the best pitch outside shops that are shut for some reason i.e. decorating, re fit (this way you can get on the high street). The best times of the day are without a doubt 9 am until 2 pm. By the afternoon people are a bit more tired and have spent their spare money. The sunnier the better also.

Now I find myself without a band and as a magi I am to start busking again... but with a difference.

I have just ordered a few hundred Svengali decks and a few other things, I plan to start pitching soon on the streets of Shrewsbury, Shropshire. I must admit that it is a bit of an experiment. The plan is to pitch at fairs, markets and festivals in and around Shropshire.

I will get a little table and every ten minutes perform a mini magic show; this will be advertised by posters around my little table. The show has three very basic effects in it and I will be selling two of them after the show with the third effect free if you buy the other two.

So that's 6 shows a hour at 5 min per show, 3 mins to get the money, one min to chat and one min to reset.

I am going to get a horn of some kind so I can signal the beginning of my show.

That's my plan. I reckon I am onto a winner.

I have applied for a hawkers and peddlers license. It is £12.50 a year, because it's magic, because I work with kids, because I am police checked every year for my job I reckon I will get the license.

Kev,

So what do you all think?
Catmouth
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Just so you UK guys know, I'm headed your way in a few weeks... lol not to snag any coins, just another visit. Lots of cool info in this post about busking in the UK. I was kind of concerned about that as I am almost always fiddling with my cards, and sometimes I reluctantly draw a small crowd hehe. I'm still a novice and I never really work the streets yet; don't know if I ever will 'cept for maybe the fun of it. I just don't want to show any manipulations unless I have it inside and out, and no one is impressed with just the mechanics of controlling cards hehehe. Hope to run into some of you while I'm there.
jezza pk magic
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bristol uk
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Can anyone tell me the effects that work best on the street? Needle thru arm? m5? Masters? Colour Fusion? Cards?

I got to sort out ready for a trip to dam in 10 days. I will be trying streets and coffee shops, and some things, like pk spoon, are better for coffee shops etc. Just need to know how to sort which is for which situation.

thanks

jezza
how many times must i say,"i wish i thought of that"?
taoist
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Jezza, I'd suggest routines that involve audience members and create more emotional conflict than the approach of "see what I can do magic". It seems the more successful acts do fewer effects but routine them well.
aitchy
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Jezza PK - James James's (or Tarten Trickster) routine is probably the best street show I've seen for a UK crowd - just a borrowed bill switch, swallowing big balloon, and then long, Gazzo style cups - but lasts a long time with the gags.

For Amsterdam - where tourists will be stoned or drunk - I guess they'll like simple, visual things they don't have to pay attention to (even as simple as Hummer Card and D'lites).

I asked my council today about busking, and they just said, "Not in the market place." Seems fair.

As for the person above who was going to sell Svengali decks, you'll need a trader's licence - unless you do the show and say, "If you tip me £5 or more -you get this free card trick"..... But to out and out sell, you need to register/pay fees, tax, etc.
ed rhodes
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Quote:
On 2008-11-21 18:51, aitchy wrote:
As for the person above who was going to sell Svengali decks, you'll need a trader's licence - unless you do the show and say, "If you tip me £5 or more -you get this free card trick"..... But to out and out sell, you need to register/pay fees, tax, etc.


You reminded me of a sci-fi convention I went to where they'd made a life-sized Yoda doll. By rights, they couldn't see the doll because it was a copy-righted character, and they didn't have Lucas Arts permission to sell. But they made a Lucite item, which they called "Yoda's Credit Card," and the person who placed the highest bid for the credit card would receive the doll as a free added bonus!
"He was born with the gift of laughter and a sense that the world was mad." - Rafael Sabatini, Scaramouche
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