Young buskers: how to have a safe busk

Hout Bay boyWe’d love as many young buskers as possible to take part – wherever they are – including students in our own music projects. You can join in any time, and as often as you like.

We’d like you to have a safe and enjoyable busk so show this page to your parents, guardians or another adult who will be responsible for you when you busk.

The important stuff

Harriet


Young buskers are likely to need permission to busk. And you should be extra careful about following the rules. Here are some tips for you and for parents/guardians:

Check the rules. The rules and the way they are enforced vary from local authority to local authority, country to country so check them first. In some cities there is an age restriction on who can busk on public land and who can collect money. Even so, some local authorities may still allow young people to busk. It is highly likely that you will need to be accompanied by an adult so you must check this first. Plus in some places only adults can collect money so have one with you to accept donations. It may be all right for an older brother or sister to be with you but check this first. If you are busking in the UK, read our detailed guidance. More

Get permission. You must have permission from a parent, guardian or carer before we can accept your application – and that person must be responsible for you during your busk.

Assess the risks. We take child safety very seriously. You and your parent/guardian/carer need to decide carefully if you can busk for us. Please read the tips and guidance page before you register. Remember that local circumstances and rules vary and it is up to your parent/guardian/carer to assess the local situation, as we aren’t responsible for you while you busk.

So what’s next?


Trumpet playerDecide where (see our list of good locations, on the Tips page), the day and the time you’d like to busk. Contact your local authority to find out if and how you are allowed to busk. It’s always best to try a personal approach so ring first (or ask your parent/guardian/carer to ring) to:

  • explain you are raising money for charity by taking part in the Musequality World Busk;
  • tell them the location, the day and time you’d like to busk;
  • tell them your age and who will be with you at all times;
  • ask them how you can get permission to busk  – if they ask you to write a letter, use the standard letter in our download pack;
  • ask for the name, job title and direct line phone number of the person you’re speaking to (to take with you when you busk, in case you are asked);
  • make a list of all the things you were told to do – and do them, including taking proof of permission with you when you busk. If you are in the UK, read our detailed guidance. More
Check our tips and guidance page to make the most of your busk.

What if they say you can’t busk?


Erika Nauman with pupils from the German SchoolIf you are not allowed to busk, there are loads of other things you could do:
  •   why not hold a sponsored music marathon with friends or at school, taking it in turns to play? If 12 people take part, playing for half an hour each, your marathon will last for a massive six hours!
  • you could give a private concert for your family and friends. Have you been practising really hard? Then show off your skills! You could charge an entrance fee as a donation to Musequality.
  • how about performing in school assembly and holding a collection afterwards? Use our poster to advertise your performance.
  • or organise a busk in your school and invite parents and teachers to watch and listen (and donate!). Put your instrument case in front for collecting money or ask people to sponsor you. Why not involve your friends, too?
  • if you’ve got other ideas, let us know so we can pass them on!
  • Use our poster and sponsorship form so everyone knows you are taking part in the Musequality World Busk.

Afterwards
Tell us how it went, from applying for permission, to picking up the last coin – and whether you’d do it all again. We would love to see your pictures, too. Load them on to our Flickr page or email us

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Did you know?

World map Note

Did you know that lots of famous bands and soloists began their days as buskers? Pierce Brosnan, Robin Williams, Paul McCartney, Badly Drawn Boy, G4 and Hayley Westenra have all busked on the streets. Maybe one day you could also be as famous as them!


golden gate Note

David Juritz launched Musequality by busking round the world. He left his home with only a violin, backpack and a completely empty wallet and, for nearly five months, lived and travelled only on the money he raised from playing his violin. His 80,000 mile journey took him from his house in London to the USA, Uganda, Argentina, Japan, Australia, South Africa and many more exciting places!


the dogsNote

Almost as important as a busker is a bottler.  A bottler is someone whose job it is to collect money from the audience and a good bottler can make all the difference between a good and a bad day.  Make sure you have a bottler or two to help you!

Note

The word ‘busker’ only entered the English language in the mid nineteenth century. The word originates from the Spanish buscar, to seek.

Note 

The first laws that affected buskers were made over 2,000 years ago in 462 BC. Under Roman Law anyone caught singing about, or mocking, the government or its officials in public places faced being put to death!

Make the most of your busk. See our tips and guidance.

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