A joint engagement session facilitated by the Singapore Police Force (SPF) and the National Arts Council (NAC) was conducted on 29 November with the busking community. Both agencies shared that with the lifting of COVID-19 safe management measures and the resumption of travel, very large crowds are expected at the various year-end events and festive celebrations and public safety remains a top priority.
SPF and NAC worked closely to review the situation to adjust the busking hours at selected locations along Orchard Road, with additional crowd control measures in place:
- Busking activities can take place from 10am – 10pm throughout the week, at four locations along Orchard Road, namely The Heeren, 313@Somerset, Knightsbridge and Mandarin Gallery, except on Christmas Eve till 7pm.
- Busking activities can continue till 7pm at ION Orchard, Wisma Atria, Ngee Ann City A and Ngee Ann City B on Fridays and Saturdays, from 9 to 31 December (inclusive).
SPF has also advised on the additional measures to be put in place for crowd control such as having professional security officers on-site to usher and monitor crowds. There will also be real-time response to live situations for e.g. to pause a busking act at a certain point, if crowds are assessed to have significant public safety risks on ground. It is important for the busking community, venue partners, authorities, and various stakeholders to continue working together to bring vibrancy to the streets of Singapore in a safe manner.
With the collaborative commitment and cooperation established from various stakeholders at the engagement session, an off-cycle balloting exercise will be conducted for the four selected locations along Orchard Road. Details of the off-cycle balloting exercise was shared with the buskers in attendance and via email for the rest of the busking community to have the opportunity to express their interest for the newly available busking timeslots. Applications were open from 30 November to 2 December 2022, with balloting results announced on 6 December 2022.
Additionally, in anticipation of large crowds on New Year’s Eve (31 Dec), busking hours will be adjusted at these five locations around the Marina Bay Waterfront area:
- Busking activities can take place from 10am – 7pm at Breeze Shelter A and B as well as Mist Walk A, B and C.
NAC will also continue regular engagements with the busking community and venue partners to better understand and address the various considerations raised.
Updated as of 29 November 2022
Following the resumption of live busking activities in March 2022, NAC has been meeting a diverse range of representatives from the busking community over a series of more than 15 sessions and briefings. These sessions seek to hear from the buskers across a range of topics - from their varied experiences and encounters on the streets, to gathering feedback on the busking e-service portal and related features, as well as to brainstorm solutions on the ideal characteristics of busking locations and navigating challenging situations. NAC has also been engaging buskers face-to-face or over calls to address general requests, and to provide guidance in accordance with the Scheme’s terms and conditions to better manage the increasing number of public feedback received since the resumption.
Recently on 21 November, two sessions were held to get feedback from buskers on the upcoming e-service portal enhancement. This new feature will allow a busker to opt-in to share selected busking slot(s), which then allows another interested busker to book the same slot if they wish to share with the main busker too. Attendees discussed developing a guide for the community as they recognised that respect and good communication between buskers will be important, including other practical considerations such as alternative or side-by-side equipment set-up, sequence and duration of each act and suitability of the designated location.
Here is a summary of the various points of discussions across the months:
- Busking e-service portal is useful for planning busking schedules and to profile themselves, with varied views on booking period and ideal timeframe for balloting of slots and busking durations.
- In managing the allocation of popular locations, buskers recognised equity is important and that the e-service portal helps ensure accessibility through balloting.
- Suggestions to monitor overall demand of locations especially those that are becoming more popular, and to add new locations or delist existing ones based on demand.
- Discussions on promoting less popular locations and how to maximise popular spots through sharing.
- Key characteristics of an ideal busking location include access to amenities such as toilets, shelters, loading/unloading of their equipment as well as footfall, lighting and ambience etc. Heartland locations were also raised as good examples.
- Certain busking acts for example, circus acts will require more space and suggestions for the demand for such locations to be moderated to ensure fair access and optimal usage of busking locations.
- Buskers acknowledged that self-regulation may be challenging to administer on their own as not everyone will be willing to be cooperative and collaborative; suggestions to establish a Code of Conduct to address no-shows and hogging of slots within the busking community and for example, a penalty system to deter irresponsible behaviours were discussed. Possible learnings from overseas busking districts on how such situations are managed can be explored too.
NAC will continue regular engagements with the busking community and venue partners to make further improvements to the e-service portal and to enhance user experience.
Updated as of 27 November 2022