A pioneering collaboration between the city, performers, the MU and local businesses has led to new policy and guidelines aimed at making the most of street entertainment.
New guidance aimed at improving relations between buskers, local businesses, visitors and residents in Liverpool is aiming to help reduce the number of complaints and enable any remaining issues to be resolved amicably. It also sets out the procedures for enforcement, should this prove necessary. The 12-page best practice guide has been drawn up collaboratively by the Musicians’ Union (MU), Liverpool City Council, the Keep Streets Live Campaign and the Business Improvement District, and also gives advice to buskers, council officers, businesses and residents on issues such as pitch selection and noise levels. This move marks a new approach to street entertainment in Liverpool: a managed system involving licensed pitches was to be introduced but was opposed by buskers and the MU and the idea was dropped. Morris Stemp, North of England Regional Organiser for the Musicians' Union, said: "The aim of the guide is to foster a vibrant street culture which allows for spontaneity whilst at the same time making provision for constructively resolving any issues that may arise using existing statutory powers, and is an example I anticipate many will want to follow. It also blows apart the myth that busking is in some way illegal. This is in stark contrast to some less pragmatic authorities and councils, where heavy handed regulation and over-zealous bureaucracy stifle self-expression. Buskers in Liverpool now have a guide that will help nurture music and other art forms on the streets, with all the benefits this will bring to the city, to buskers and to wider society… I would urge other authorities to follow Liverpool’s pragmatic approach and let us help them provide a landscape which nurtures the talents which our members can provide." Jonny Walker, Founding director of the Keep Streets Live Campaign, added: "The collaborative approach that Liverpool City Council have modelled in putting together this busking guidance makes it a pioneer amongst major cities worldwide in its active support for grassroots street culture… it is to Liverpool City Council's immense credit that they chose to include the busking community at all stages in the production of this guidance.”