So far I have only discussed your rights on PUBLIC property, there are completely different rules concerning PRIVATE property. If the pitch you intend to work is on private property you will need to ask for permission and do as asked by the management of that property in order to busk, nuff said.
There are times you may not realize you are on private property. For instance if you are on a sidewalk in front of a business, that business has the right to ask you to leave for any reason they deem necessary, even if they do not legally own the property outright. Also, there are times when a public space is not public. For instance, the city can grant a temporary license to a group for a public space like a park or a street to be used for a special event, even a protest. It may be possible to busk there but permission will be needed from the license holder to do so. Also, they might have hired their own entertainment which causes obvious problems. At certain times and in certain areas however, busking is encouraged during special events, weekends, block parties, sales, etc… If in doubt, find out who is in charge and call them. If you can get a hold of them ahead of time, you may be able to convince them to HIRE YOU to entertain their guests! – but we’ll get into that later…
Now, why do you need to know all of this? First off, you should ALWAYS know your rights. Second, so that you will have a general idea of how things are settled when there is a difference of opinion between performers, private property owners/businesses and the law/city. Third, and most importantly, so you will know the all too common hassles that even professional buskers of over 50 years have to go through to make a living and so you can appreciate the fact that you shouldn’t ever have to deal with ANY of that junk if you take my advice!
(Copyright Adam Pate, 2013)