Busking Guidance


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Welcome to Bradford, a city with a history of independence and of progressive social reform. As a district Bradford has spectacular landscapes and cultural heritage and has been awarded UK City of Culture status in 2025.

Bradford Council welcomes the expression of musical talent that enhances the experience of visitors to the district. Busking can add vibrancy, ambience, colour and interest to the streets and city centre spaces whilst also providing a platform for aspiring artists to be seen and heard.

These guidelines aim to provide you with information on steps you can take to minimise disruption to others when you are busking in the Bradford district.

To ensure your experience is positive please take extra care to follow the guidelines:

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Before you perform

No animals: animals must not be used in any part of your performance.

Collecting money: any financial contribution made by members of the public should be voluntary and at their discretion. You must not ask for money or make visitors feel that they have to make a donation.

Charitable collections: Requests for donations for charity will require a permit from the Council's Licensing Team. Email licensing@bradford.gov.uk for more information.

Selling of merchandise: You must not sell CDs or other merchandise without the necessary street trading licence. If you intend on selling items, you will need to obtain a street licence to sell goods from the Council’s Licensing team. Please email licensing@bradford.gov.uk for further information. You can offer CD’s and other merchandise on a donation basis so long as you clearly request a minimum donation rather than a fixed price.

Your pitch: We have identified some busking sites that have good footfall and are central areas that will create ambience. For further information please see our map in our appendix. There may be other spaces you find to perform but please do speak with businesses nearby.

Ensure that your pitch doesn’t cause an obstruction to members of the public. If a crowd starts to gather please ensure you have ways to diminish this if the crowd becomes too large.

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What do we mean by noise? Noise is unwanted sound. Whilst the Council wants to support artists and allow you to be seen and heard we also have a statutory duty to investigate complaints of noise.

Busking and street performing can provide a source of complaint to Bradford Council.

Complaints arise as a result of excessive noise and the repetitive nature of the music being played. This causes annoyance to businesses, visitors, and city centre residents.

Volume: Keep the volume down. You are permitted to use a small portable battery powered speaker / amplifier. This must not be elevated and must be located on the ground.
Petrol and diesel powered generators are prohibited.

Brass / woodwind: Do not amplify brass and woodwind instruments and use dampers if required.

Drums / percussion: Drumsticks are not permitted unless you are using damping pads on your drum kit.

Please note that Bradford Council is not liable for damage to your equipment.

Repetition: If you have a limited repertoire of material aim to give at least 30 minutes before repeating a song. Please move around different spaces as repetitive sounds can result in complaints.

Location: Please consider the location of where you are performing. Bradford city centre and the district towns are of mixed use, which means it has both businesses and residential properties in close proximity to the centre. If you are made aware of a complaint of noise please turn the volume down and consider moving from that location.

Please do not busk within 50 meters of another busker / performer.

Time: You must not perform for more than 1 hour in any location per day. When you have performed for 1 hour you must move to another location at least 50 meters away from the original location.

You are allowed to perform during the following hours:

  • Monday to Friday - 10am to 8pm
  • Saturday - 10am to 6pm
  • Sunday and Public holidays - 11am to 5pm

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If for any reason the guidance is not being followed and a situation arises, the Council may interject with the following enforcement:

You must stop performing and / or turn the volume down if asked to do so by a Council Officer from our enforcement team, Police Officer / Police Community Support Officer.

You must comply with any request to provide your name, address and date of birth to any Council Officer from our enforcement team and or Police Officer / Police Community Support Officer and not obstruct them when they are undertaking their duties.

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Legal requirements

The Environmental Protection Act 1990: An Abatement Notice can be served for noise that constitutes a statutory nuisance. Contravention of an Abatement Notice is a criminal offence if convicted in the magistrates court and can lead to an unlimited fine. The Council can also seize noise equipment including musical instruments.

Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014: Community Protection Warnings and Notices can be served by both Council and Police Officers when the noise is causing a detrimental impact on the quality of life of those in the locality, is persistent and continuing and is unreasonable. A fixed penalty notice of up to £100 can be issued, you can be prosecuted and if found guilty face a fine of up to £2,500 and your equipment can be seized.

The Highways Act 1980: relates to the obstruction of the public highway and a person found guilty is liable to a fine.

The Public Order Act: includes a number of offences including harassment, alarm and distress.

Copyright Music: Buskers must hold a Performing Rights Society (PRS) music licence in order to lawfully play copyrighted music in public. The licence gives legal permission to play copyrighted music for prolonged periods of time.

Children and Busking: It is illegal for children under the age of 14 to busk. Children over 14 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian and should not busk during school term time.

Any act which is designed primarily to appeal to children under the age of 13 must have obtained the prior authorisation of the Council.

Byelaws: Bradford Council has a number of byelaws across the district. This includes City Park located at BD1 1HY. Music of any kind is not permitted to be performed on City Park unless it has been booked by or arranged with the Council.

For more information on Bradford district's byelaws please see the Byelaws for pleasure grounds, public walks and open spaces in the District of Bradford pdf

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Useful links

Equity offers advice and support to street performers including public liability insurance. Contact northeastengland@equity.org.uk or visit www.equity.org.uk

Musicians Union Contact the North Regional Office on 0161 236 1764 or LiveintheNorth@theMU.org or visit www.theMU.org

The Keep Streets Alive Campaign is a not-for-profit organisation which advocates for public spaces that are open to informal offerings of art and music.
For more information contact contact@keepstreetsalive.com or visit keepstreetslive.com 

Further Information If you are interested in wider street performance opportunities, please contact our Events Team: EventsTeaminfo@bradford.gov.uk

If you are interested in performing in Ilkley, Bingley, Keighley, Haworth, Shipley, Saltaire please be considerate of your location and liaise with shops/businesses nearby.

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Recommended sites

Bradford city centre

Map of suggested busking locations Bradford

Bradford city centre recommended sites are:

  • corner of Kirkgate and Darley Street
  • corner of Hustlergate and Market Street
  • corner of Sunbridge Road and Tyrrel Street
  • corner of Bank Street and Broadway 

Please note: Busking is not permitted on City Park or Centenary Square.


Map of suggested busking locations Ilkley

Ilkley recommended sites are:

  • West end of The Grove
  • corner of Station Road and Wells Promenade (by Fountain)
  • Station plaza, Station Road

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General enquires:

To make a general enquiry by phone: 01274 341000 or email: eventsteaminfo@bradford.gov.uk