Noisy buskers could be told to pipe down


Noisy buskers could be told to pipe down, following complaints that they are driving shoppers away.

Council officials in Glasgow have received a string of complains about pan pipers, electric guitar players and banjoists playing on the streets.

And now, politicians and angry retailers are calling for a clamp down on noisy buskers.

A piper rehearsing in an Edinburgh park 

“No-go zones” and time curfews could be just a few of the restrictions put in place if retailers have their way.

Glasgow City Council said that they have been so inundated with complaints that a public consultation on street nuisance will be launched this summer.

The complaints from retailers and shoppers state that begging, loud music and fundraising can ruin the shopping experience.

According to the complaints, “shockingly” loud music can distract staff and has forced shoppers to abandon the shops all together.

And it is not Glaswegian buskers who are causing concern for worried retailers.

Shop-owners in Inverness and Edinburgh have also complained about loud musicians.

Busking is not a licensed activity in Scotland, meaning it is unregulated.

Police have powers however to stop buskers and seize equipment if causing “annoyance” but such enforcement rarely happens.

David Meikle, a Tory councillor in Glasgow, said he regularly received complaints about fundraisers and loud music in the city centre.

“I think we need to look at some sort of control over loud music, perhaps limiting it to certain locations and certain days and times.”

Stephen McCranor, director of communications at Greaves Sports, said they have had several complaints in their store due to loud street music.

“As a shopping destination,Glasgow city centre has so much more to offer than the out-of-town malls, but we do need to be wary of nuisance factors potentially putting people off making the trip,” he said.

“We’ve been in regular dialogue with Glasgow city council, they are addressing the issues but there’s still a long way to go.”

David Hass, who managesInvernesscity centre, said retailers and shoppers regularly complain about noise.

“There are occasional complaints when buskers turn up the volume.”

Meanwhile, a ban on bag-pipers was recently lifted in Vancouver, Canada during a visit by the Scottish culture secretary.

Mayor of Vancouver Gregor Robertson said he would “certainly” not support the restriction through efforts to regulate noise levels.

The ban was overturned during a visit to the city by Fiona Hyslop, the Scottish culture and external affairs secretary.

She said: “I welcome the fact that common sense has prevailed. The mayor has acted decisively and that bagpipes will once again be heard on the streets ofVancouver.

“Mayor Robertson and I both recognise that bagpipes are part of the cultural heritage shared byScotlandandVancouver.”

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  1. Another attempt by the tories to crush out any culture Scotland has. As a busker myself I have never had complaints about my playing, and have been told frequently that I ADD to the ‘shopping experience’ in Glasgow city center. If you want bland high streets with identical big name stores with all semblance of individuality removed then go ahead and try to ban music. Somehow I doubt that most people would really want that

  2. Also, can we have some consistency in the article please. There is a vast difference between the quoted occasional complaints and the claimed regular

  3. if you have ever actually made an official complaint about how `the noise level of a busker is ruining my shopping experience` then it should be YOU who is banned from Glasgow City Centre and any other social situations involving people. We should start regulating and licensing grumpy, moany, joyless b******* not talented musicians and street artists who bring a smile to the mundane city rat race .
    If you dont like it, keep on walking, put your headphones in or shop online.
    Seems like yet another way for Glasgow City Council to make money and bring further bureaucracy to up and coming Scottish talent

  4. I am also a busker and am told EVERY time i step out that I am doing a great job, people cry with happiness, request songs….stop trying to squash out al the joy in the world! >=/

  5. After walking froom Glasgow Central Station to Buchannan Bus Station a few weeks ago, I’m in favour of clamping down on ‘noisy’ buskers. This doesn’t mean clamping down on Buskers, just those who have amplification, and normally with bad EQ settings.

    People should feel free to bring out a guitar and play on the street, hell, if they make a bit of money out of it that’s fine too, but assaulting the ears of passers by with loud murky sounds is off-putting.

    Also, turning down the noisy ones means more pitches for more buskers as the sound won’t travel as far…

  6. Hello, yes, what’s that? Ruining the ‘shopping experience’ you say? Well my friends, I hope these politicians’ hearing is more sensitive than their frail sense of humour. Why? So I can blast them to hell with my pipes and clear the streets for people who enjoy the music, enjoy the culture, and damn well love the spine-tingling nature of the Great Highland Bagpipes. As a person looking to go busking while travelling next year, it shocks me that my hometown would even THINK of banning the bagpipes. Get out and ask the public what they want you bloody desk jockeys. Get up. And just go.

  7. I don’t have a problem with the buskers but trying to avoid junkies, charity workers, the guranga people, the people who try to get you to buy some hair cut thing, are what I hate about shopping in Glasgow.

    I also hate the Gordon St entrance of Central Station, junkie central!!! and all the wee kids standing about. It’s a nightmare getting past all of the people who are hanging about here. What are they all doing, apart from getting in the way??!!!!

    Sort this out not the buskers!!!

  8. This is ridiculous. I’ve been busking for years, and it’s becomming increasingly difficult. Police and shopkeepers already act with more authority than they have to move you on, and have been getting continually worse. The problem is that the ones who are vocal are the ignorant busybodies and a tiny minority of the crowd. If I’m ever moved on, at least five people will approach me saying how disgusting it is. Surely the opinions of these five are worth more than the one who wanted me moved? Also, shops are starting to pump their store music into the street much louder than i would play. Why is this okay for them while I’m branded a ‘nuisance’ for trying to earn a living?

  9. Think about us, the poor office workers that sit on Buchanan Street listening to the same two songs on loop!! ‘What if god was one of us’………’Blowing in the wind’…… Our request is simple – mix it up!

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