Code of Conduct - busking

There is no licence or permit required to busk. You cannot sell CD's or any other memorabilia; or advertise if you are raising money for charity, each of these things require a permit. Please read  the code of conduct below.

Leaflet/flyer distribution

You do not require a licence to distribute flyers or leaflets (you are not permitted to sell any goods), however we do not allow static furniture within the town centre. I would also advise that if there is any excess litter caused by people discarding your flyers/leaflets you may incur a charge from us.

Code of Conduct for buskers and street performers

The Harrogate district is a vibrant place to live, work and visit. Responsible buskers can enhance the atmosphere of town centres, but it is important that you take the needs of others such as shoppers, businesses and residents into account.

This voluntary Code of Conduct aims to ensure that anyone can enjoy your performances, whilst not being inconvenienced.

Busking is performing music, usually singing accompanied by an instrument, dance or theatre in a public place, with the intention of receiving contributions from members of the public.

Most complaints about buskers are about noise levels, the length of time they perform and the repetitive nature of performances. This Code of Conduct is intended to help you, as a busker, understand your responsibilities so that you can perform without any conflict arising.

The Code of Conduct

  • when selecting your site, don't block entrances to shops, offices or other buildings, or the highway. Avoid playing near public phone boxes. Always allow enough space for pedestrians and emergency vehicles to pass by safely
  • where possible, before starting to perform, introduce yourself to the businesses immediately next to where you intend to play. This may reduce the likelihood of complaints from them
  • don't perform within 100 metres of another busker
  • a busker should not perform for any longer than 1½ hours in the same location
  • once you've moved site, don't come back within three hours
  • keep the volume of your performance to an acceptable level - if it can be plainly heard 50 metres away, this is too loud
  • be aware of your sound volume and try to adapt your equipment to reduce your noise levels
  • vary your repertoire - if you have a limited number of songs that you perform, switch sites more regularly
  • you can receive donations from the public, but these must be voluntary. You must not actively solicit monetary contributions
  • do not sell any anything including CDs. You will need a street trading licence if you want to sell goods. This is available from us
  • do not request donations to a charity unless you have a permit. This is available from us
  • you must comply immediately with any instructions from officers of Harrogate Borough Council and North Yorkshire Police. These instructions could be to reduce your volume, move your location, or stop performing

Your co-operation is appreciated. Failure to adhere to this voluntary Code of Conduct could result in more restrictive controls being introduced which may limit your ability to perform.

Resolving issues

  • if someone approaches you to say they have been disturbed by the noise of your performance, do not be confrontational
  • be reasonable with the person complaining. Ensure that you have been sticking to the Code of Conduct
  • try to reach a compromise - can you reduce your volume or move to another site?
  • if you feel that you have adhered to the code, but can't come to a compromise with the person complaining, politely inform them that you are following the code
  • if you cannot reach a compromise, please phone us on 01423 500600 for assistance. An officer will attempt to help mediate