Manchester City Council

Licences & permissions Busking - code of conduct

Although a Busker's licence is not required all Buskers must adhere to the following Code of Conduct:

The location/pitch for any street performance or busking and method of activity, including the placing of equipment on the highway, must not cause undue obstruction to other users of the highway, such as pedestrians and street cleaners. Any performance or busking activity must also not cause a noise nuisance to those living or working nearby due to either the volume and/or duration of the performance.

Buskers/Performers shall not:

  • perform within 50 metres of any tram tracks;
  • make use of street furniture such as public seating, lampposts, planters, railings etc; this includes the attachment of posters and adverts;
  • set-up within 50 metres of another busker/performer;
  • be present for more than 90 minutes in any one location (including breaks) and not return to the same location within the same 24 hours;
  • use amplification or drums, trumpets or other loud instruments or otherwise cause noise nuisance to residents or businesses;
  • perform in a manner that could be considered dangerous and/or inappropriate and shall not be dressed or conduct themselves in a manner that is likely to cause alarm, distress or offence to members of the public;
  • actively collect money, using signage or any other means; however, it will be permissible to have a receptacle, such as a hat, music case or box for the acceptance of donations from the public;
  • sell any merchandise; or
  • obstruct access to shops, cash machines, phones and post boxes.

In addition Buskers/Performers are requested to take regular breaks in order to allow crowds to disperse, and are expected to comply with any reasonable request made by a council or police officer.

A responsible adult should accompany minors busking or performing.

There are a number of noise-sensitive locations within the city centre where street performers or buskers are advised not to perform:

  • junction of Market Street/Brown Street; and
  • covered area of Market Street.

Performances in these locations are highly likely to cause noise nuisance.

We will:

  • continue to investigate complaints that are received about the activities of buskers and street performers; and
  • carry out spot checks on performers in order to ensure that they are complying with the code.

Where it is deemed that there is non-compliance with the code and therefore an individual or group are causing a noise nuisance, then report this to us, or obstruction to the highway enforcement action will be taken. Advice will be offered in all cases and reasonable opportunity will be given to rectify issues identified; however, if problems persist, the authorities will use the statutory powers available to them to resolve such problems.

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