Busking code of conduct for Craven and Harrogate

Find information about busking in the Craven and Harrogate areas.

This page contains information about busking and street performances for both the Craven and Harrogate areas. 

Street performance and busking in Craven

Although a busker's licence is not required for the district all buskers must adhere to our code of conduct.

Code of conduct

The location or 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 must not:

  • make use of street furniture such as public seating, lamp posts, planters, railings (this includes attaching posters and adverts)
  • set up within 50 metres of another busker or performer
  • be present for more than 90 minutes in any one location (including breaks)
  • 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 must 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
  • obstruct access to shops, cash machines, phones and post boxes

In addition buskers and 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.

Minors busking

A responsible adult should accompany minors busking or performing.

What we will do

We will:

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

Reporting noise nuisance

If you think that an individual or group are causing a noise nuisance, please report this to environmental health. We will offer advice and try to deal with each case reasonably. If any issues that have been raised continue to be a problem afterwards, we can use statutory powers to resolve them if needs be.

Consult the local council

Please note for busking and street performances you will need to consult with the local council before commencement. Below are the links to the council webpages for the most popular areas:

Busking in Harrogate

There is no licence or permit required to busk in the Harrogate area but you will need a licence if you want to:

  • sell CD's or other memorabilia
  • advertise if you are raising money for charity

Leaflet or flyer distribution

You do not require a licence to distribute flyers or leaflets (you are not permitted to sell any goods), however static furniture is not allowed within the town centre.

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 area 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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Don't perform within 100 metres of another busker.
  4. A busker should not perform for any longer than one and a half hours in the same location. 
  5. Once you've moved site, don't come back within three hours.
  6. Keep the volume of your performance to an acceptable level; if it can be plainly heard 50 metres away, this is too loud.
  7. Be aware of your sound volume and try to adapt your equipment to reduce your noise levels.
  8. Vary your repertoire. If you have a limited number of songs that you perform, switch sites more regularly.
  9. You can receive donations from the public, but these must be voluntary. You must not actively solicit monetary contributions. 
  10. Do not sell anything including CDs. You will need a street trading licence if you want to sell goods. This is available from us. 
  11. Do not request donations to a charity unless you have a permit. This is available from us. 
  12. You must comply immediately with any instructions from council officers 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. You should:

  • 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 followed the code, but you can't come to a compromise with the person complaining, you should politely inform them that you are following the code. 

If you cannot reach a compromise, please contact us for help. An officer will attempt to help mediate.