Busking

If you have question about performing on the streets of Darlington please contact the Events Team in person (Mon - Fri 9am to 5pm) at the Dolphin Centre or call 01325 388151 / 01325 388247.

Sale of merchandise

The sale of any merchandise (for example, CDs) is not allowed unless an appropriate Street Trading Consent has been obtained from the Council's Licensing Unit. Sale of merchandise is not permitted on prohibited streets [pdf document].

Busking for Charities

If you are busking for a charity, you must be able to provide evidence to confirm this (for example, a letter from that charity confirming that you are busking on their behalf). A busker who does not obtain a street trading consent in advance should contact 01325 552512 to obtain street trading consent for the day.

Advice for shop owners and the public

If you find that you are being disturbed by a street performer:

Firstly, approach the busker and explain politely that you are being troubled by their activity. You may find this difficult but often buskers are unaware of the problem they are causing and will be glad to do what they can to find a compromise.

If the problem persists, or you are unable to reach a compromise with the performer, contact the the Events Team on 01325 388151 / 01325 388247.

An officer will then deal with the complaint as soon as it’s practicable.

If co-operation is not forthcoming, formal action can be pursued if necessary.  

Regulation summary

Legislation in relation to this licence [external link]

1. An entertainer should not

  • perform for longer than 45 minutes in any location and should not return to perform in the same location, or within 50 metres of it, for a minimum of 90 minutes
  • set up a pitch within 50 metres of another performer
  • have amplified music by an individual, band or group of musicians reaching high levels of volume and should reduce performance time to no longer than 30 minutes
  • obstruct the highway, nor should the performance lead to the highway being obstructed by public gathering to listen or watch performance
  • act in a manner that causes or is likely to cause a breach of the peace

2. Music or voice should not be amplified to a level that may interfere with the normal  operation of nearby shops and premises. If requested to reduce the volume of music  you should try to do so as far as possible by reducing the level of amplified music.

3. Busking should only take place between 10am to 5pm. Exceptions may be granted during periods such as Christmas or to coincide with a special event, subject to prior approval being granted.

4. Money must not be actively collected, but you may have a receptacle (such as a box, hat or musical instrument case) to accept donations from the general public in return for your performance. These items should not act as obstructions to passers by or create a trip hazard.

5. Busking or entertainment must cease if requested to do by the business/shop adjacent to where the performance is being carried out.

6. Busking or entertainment must cease if requested to do so by the Police.

7. Busking or entertainment shall not be permitted near to public telephone boxes, post  boxes, doorways and cash dispensing machines.

8.   Performers under the age of 16 must be accompanied by a responsible adult.

9.  Busking is permitted no more than 4 hours per day and no more than 3 days a week.

10. Selling of CD's, DVD's, Tapes or any merchandise in general is classed as street  trading. A permit will be required prior to any goods being sold on the street.

11. Buskers or entertainers found to be selling goods without permission will be instructed  to stop performing and will be asked to vacate the site and will have their permission to  perform removed.

To acquire a street trading licence, please contact Darlington Borough Council’s Licensing Department on 01325 388561. A period of notice will be required.

Performance areas

12. Busking and entertainment can perform within the designated performance areas however performers may also take advantage of vacant shop entrances or other suitable spaces. The guidelines must be considered prior to the choosing of an alternative location.

Designated performance areas are:

  • Northgate – between Top Man and Clarks
  • Blackwellgate – Life Pulse monument
  • Posthouse Wynd – between Coopers and Fatso’
  • Highrow – between Binns and Hallmark (don't block the Binns staff entrance door)

Apply online

Apply for a busking license [external link]

Download and application form

Busking application form [word document]