Different areas of the UK have their own rules, but generally, you will not need a specific license for busking or street performance in most areas of the UK.
Under existing entertainment licensing laws, some live entertainment is exempt from the need to be licensed, as long as it is performed incidentally to another non-licensable activity. So, for example, a magician or mentalist in a shopping center, during a time when people are shopping there, will not usually need to get an entertainment license.
If you intend to put on a Large magic show, or an event at which live music is a main attraction, or instances where music is not incidental to a non-licensable activity, you will need an entertainment license.
You will also need to apply for a license if you wish to collect money for charity (a street collection license, issued by the Police).
If you intend to sell items, such as magic tricks or DVD’s, while busking will also fall under street trading laws, which may require you to obtain permission.
It is important that magicians have a suitable public liability insurance policy, which covers the content of their magic act.
Do I need a license to perform street magic on private property?
If you intend to perform on private property you will need the express consent of the owner or operator of the property. Privately owned locations include:
- Car Parks
- Many shopping centers
- Tube and bus stations
- Railway stations
- Community halls
- Market areas
What about a license to perform street magic in other Public places?
If you wish to get a license to perform street magic in parks or open spaces, you will find that many of them have event teams that can help you find a location and pick the most appropriate times to perform.
Magicians causing a nuisance.
Magicians are not exempt from any requirements of the Environmental Protection Act. Should a magicians performance lead to complaints of noise nuisance, enforcement action may be taken against the performer to stop the nuisance being caused.
Similarly, if a magician is found to be blocking or obstructing a public highway or footpath, they may be moved on by police officers.
Contact your local council for full details of the requirements for the location you wish to perform in. You should also get permission if you intend to film video at that location.
Do you have any advice for magicians getting a license to perform street magic? Leave a comment below.