Billy Bragg, Corinne Bailey Rae, CC Smugglers, Danny Goffey, Fatboy Slim, Hugh Cornwell, Jack Savoretti, Kiko BUN, King Charles, KT Tunstall, Andrew Patrick from STOMP, Todd Dorigo, The View,Whinnie Williams and ‘Whispering’ Bob Harris have all signed up as Ambassadors of the Busk in London scheme, which aims to make busking on London’s streets as easy as possible for performers.
This unprecedented show of support comes as one of London’s freshest faces on the street performance circuit, Alex James Ellison made his way to Paris earlier this week to promote the busking talent in London after being awarded the Eurostar prize in last year’s Gigs busking competition, organised by City Hall.
Although great strides have been made in recent years, busking musicians and street performers continue to face obstacles in many cities as a result of confusing rules, unnecessary red tape and even the threat of arrest – despite it being popular with Londoners and tourists alike. This high-profile support for busking builds on the work being done by Busk in London to counter misconceptions, make street performance as easy and straightforward as possible in the capital and highlight its significance in the life of cities.
The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has pledged to strengthen London’s position as the world’s artistic and cultural capital and, at the first ever International Busking Day on 23 July, the capital will lead50 cities across the UK, along with major world cities including New York, Sydney, Barcelona, Hong Kong, Paris and Toronto for the most ambitious celebration of busking and street performance ever staged.
The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said: “There are few places on earth that can rival our city for its arts and culture and I’m enormously proud that London will host the first ever International Busking Day. It’s vital that we back our street performers – every day they add colour and life to our streets, entertaining Londoners and the millions of people who visit from all over the world each year.”
This global showcase of exciting talent builds on the success of the Busk in London Festival and the Gigs busking competition. Over the last eight years, Gigs has attracted thousands of young musicians and been enjoyed by millions at Tube stations and other locations across the capital.
The Gigs busking competition for 2016 is now underway and organisers are urging young musicians aged 11-25 to sign up at www.buskinlondon.gov.uk/gigs. London’s annual search for the country’s most talented young musicians gives aspiring artists the opportunity to hone their skills and gain valuable experience performing in front of the public and, if successful, perform at the Grand Final at Westfield Stratford City in September.