BATH BUSKING UPDATE - November 2015
This website is an unofficial initiative by a few buskers several years ago and I have been asked by its owner Fiona Coulter to manage it.
Firstly a message of condolence to our Parisienne friends who allow us the freedom to share joyful entertainment on the streets that is valued globally as an important part of our culture.
By definition the "busking community" is transient and none of us 'own' the streets. Buskers passing through the city in the true traditional spirit of the travelling minstrel should be able to find a good pitch at any time of the day and hence the 10am meetings traditionally (and as stated in the Bath Buskers Guide) are for Abbey Churchyard only. If you find a different system operating on the street please bear in mind that busking is for anyone ranging from the homeless to university students wishing to gain public performance confidence.
There is currently (historically) no busking permit in the city but there is a time-served Bath Busking Code of Practice agreed with the city council and updated a few years ago in the form of the The Bath Buskers Guide where a few buskers sat around the table with the city centre stakeholders including shopkeepers, Bath Abbey, the council and the Police. Please ensure you read the guide here online as it addresses the issues of pitches, how they are booked, where they are, noise and amplification protocol. The only changes are the recent PSPO Order and as Bath is an enclosed "acoustic bowl" street entertainers are asked to keep noise levels down and this does not just apply to amplification but applies to the full gammit from opera singers to Outer Zebradian long-haired Yakish Flautists.
Once amplification was banned in Bath but was lifted at the same time the Bath Buskers Guide was published. There has been recent controversy whether they should be banned again but the recent enforcement of PSPO law appears to have addressed excessive noise issues.
We are not allowed to ask for money but can accept donations and the pitch is for one hour with no repeat repertoires and except for the Pump Rooms that are booked at 10am no other pitches should be booked but should be turn up and wait until the busker has played.
There is talk of a CD licence in existence but this has been launched by the Council without consultation with buskers and is felt by a few buskers (including myself) to be inherently unfair as it further encourages the local unhealthy protective practice that has emerged in recent years of a few buskers hogging the streets 24/7 and will create a two-tier system catering for those who can afford to pay a £200 a year licence.
Please be generous if you are a local busker and allow others to have a chance to play in this wonderful city.
Busker and website manager