Go-Ahead welcomes street musicians back to England’s transport network as COVID-19 rules are eased

  • Busking is permitted in England from today (May 17) under the Government’s relaxation of COVID-19 regulations
  • Live music marks another step towards business as usual for public transport
  • Go-Ahead teams up with Brighton music college to welcome passengers back

The streets are coming alive with the sound of music from today (May 17), as busking becomes legal again across the UK.

Licensed street musicians will once more be permitted to perform, and to accept donations, in towns, cities and at railway stations, bus stations and stops – as long as social distancing is respected, and large crowds avoided.

Their return comes alongside the re-opening of indoor hospitality, a return to commuting for many workers, an increase in the frequency of buses and trains. From today, buses can allow more people on board with less stringent social distancing guidelines.

To celebrate music on the streets, Go-Ahead has teamed up with Brighton music college BIMM to showcase new talent. Its company Brighton & Hove Buses is the biggest in the city, which sees more bus use per head than any city outside of London.

Josh Robinson, 22, is a guitar player and singer who has been busking across the South East for nine years. He is a familiar face around Brighton and a recent graduate from BIMM.

“It’s my main source of income,” he said. “During lockdown I’ve been concentrating on writing but it’s amazing to be back out in public again.

“People can often overlook how important buskers are for towns, but we play a role in entertaining people, cheering people up and connecting with the community. I’m looking forward to seeing some familiar faces again.”

BuskingPalmeiraSquareBrightonEdit_16.JPGAlysha Mae, 21, is student who began busking in towns in Hertfordshire and Essex as a teenager and now busks regularly in Brighton.

She said: “The whole point in making music is to enjoy the reaction and to interact with the audience. To not be able to do that for a year has taken the whole joy out of music.

“It will be wonderful to be out performing in front of people again.”

To celebrate the occasion, Josh and Alysha will perform at Brighton & Hove’s Palmeira Square in a socially distanced event under Covid regulations.

Katy Taylor, Go-Ahead’s Customer and Commercial Director said: “Music is an essential element of the commuting experience. It’s one of those things you don’t appreciate until, overnight, it’s gone. It’s fantastic to have buskers back at our stations and stops – this is another sign of a return to business as usual on public transport.”

Lord Tim Clement Jones, a longstanding parliamentary campaigner for buskers and street musicians, said: “Busking is the lifeblood of our towns and cities. It is fantastic to see its return. This is how so many young musicians get their break and we have missed them sorely. I hope we will all show our appreciation,"

Busking is legal for anyone over 14. However, in many parts of the country, street musicians need to apply for a licence from their local authorities. At stations and rail depots, buskers must seek permission from public transport operators in first instance