Performers hit out over council 'crackdown' on street busking

Performers described the decision as 'ridiculous' as the council launch a public consultation.

From belting out ballads to playing the pipes, buskers have brought life to Glasgow’s Buchanan Street for decades.

But some artists worry the freedom to perform on the popular street is under threat after Glasgow City Council launched a public consultation into buskers to determine the extent of noise nuisance.

Blues singer Rico Sonriente who performs in the city centre, feel this signals a “crackdown” on performances.

Rico told STV News: “I think it’s ridiculous. Glasgow’s no stranger to music. It’s been here forever.

“We’ve got great artists from the streets. For example, Gerry Cinnamon, Lewis Capaldi, Paolo Nutini. These were all buskers of Glasgow and look where they are now.”

For those like Vinnie Moon, performing on the streets offers an opportunity to develop skills.

Busker Vinnie said: “It’s mainly a practice for me looking for new songs – mainly rock songs. I have a band back in Poland so I can practice this time and go forward with music.”

In Glasgow, buskers have been following a code conduct since 2018. Guidelines include keeping volume at a reasonable level, being mindful of other buskers and avoiding playing within 50 metres of each other.

The council says no action to restrict busking is being taken at the moment.

Councillor Ruairi Kelly said: “It’s about finding out what the views are there before we make any policies or decisions because without those views there’s no way for us as a council to make policy in the best interests of the people of the city.”

A Glasgow City Council spokesperson added: “Busking and street performing are seen by many as time-honoured traditions that bring additional life to city centre streets, but as performers share these public spaces with residents, businesses, street traders, the passing public and other performers, it is important that good relations between these groups are maintained, and issues avoided.”

The consultation runs until the beginning of September this year.

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