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Busking

Introduced in 1997, the Busking Scheme in Singapore enlivens city life and energises urban spaces. The Scheme provides opportunities for individuals to share their creative expressions and interact with audiences in the public space. It is also part of the National Arts Council (NAC)’s efforts for Singaporeans and visitors to encounter and appreciate our diverse arts and culture offerings. Busking acts generally fall into three art form categories - Music, Street Theatre and Visual Arts, and they take place across around 80 designated busking locations island-wide. Today, there are about 300 endorsed buskers, with one in two buskers below 35 years old.

Introduction of Busking E-Service Portal 


Note: The Busking E-Service Portal is under maintenance from Friday, 24 May 2024 (6pm) to Wednesday, 29 May 2024 (6pm). During this period, buskers will not be able to sign-in to book/cancel slots and check busking schedule. We strongly encourage buskers to book/cancel busking slots before 24 May, 6pm and keep a record of their own busking schedules.

 

Following the resumption of busking, a busking e-service portal was launched on 29 March 2022 for buskers to enjoy greater access to locations and slots. Prior to this, each busker was assigned five fixed locations. The busking e-service was designed with input from buskers who had asked for access to more locations, greater flexibility to plan their schedules and confirmed spots to busk at. Additionally, buskers can book up to six one-hour slots per day which ensures a good mix of different buskers at each location.

The e-service provides a one-stop portal for:

  • Buskers to book busking slots where they can gain access to all 80 busking locations across the island and customise their own online profiles
  • Venue partners to manage their busking locations and learn more about the busking community
  • General public to find out where busking will be taking place and support their favourite buskers and busking groups easily

When to book/ballot

The following tables illustrate the schedule for the booking and balloting of busking slots.

Booking schedule
Open byFor period
1st of the month, 9am Till end of the month (whether 30th/31st)
15th of the month, 9am Till 15th of the next month
Balloting schedule
For slots betweenBallot betweenNotification by
15th – end of the month (whether 30th/31st)1st – 3rd of the month8th of the month
1st – 14th of the next month 15th – 17th of the month22nd of the month

How to Apply for a Letter of Endorsement (LOE)

Buskers in Singapore are required to attend an audition to ensure consistency in the quality of busking activities. Those who are successful will obtain a Letter of Endorsement (LOE), which allows them to book busking slots through the e-service to busk at designated busking locations within a validity period. This is in line with Exemption Order to the Public Entertainments and Meetings Act, which states that only buskers issued with a valid Letter of Endorsement (LOE) are allowed to busk.  

For information on other relevant licenses, please visit the links below:

Application and Audition Process

  1. Check your eligibility against the criteria below.
  2. Check audition dates below.
  3. When registration opens for each audition cycle, submit your application through the online form (see also: Application Forms section below). Completed applications will be processed on a first-come-first-served basis and close when capacity is reached. As audition slots fill up fast, we encourage you to submit your application early.
  4. Read the Terms & Conditions of Audition Participation and Terms & Conditions of Busking Scheme
  5. Read the audition assessment criteria below.
  6. You will be contacted and sent a pre-audition briefing video to watch as you prepare for your audition.
  7. Attend the audition at the time and date allocated to you.

For any enquiry on busking auditions or the application process, please contact Aux Media Group at 6346 9039, or email busking@aux.com.sg for response within 3 working days.

 

Eligibility criteria
  • Singaporeans & PRs: If you are below the age of 17, you will need to submit a parental consent form (refer to Application Forms section below).
  • Non-Singaporeans/PRs: You will need to hold an Employment Pass, ONE Pass, or Student Pass, that is valid for the full duration of the LOE validity.

Busking acts fall generally into three art form categories – Music, Street Theatre, and Visual Arts. Solo singing acts must have live music accompaniment (with the exception of acapella groups).


Audition cycle dates
Important dates to note:
Audition CycleRegistration OpensRegistration Deadline
Busking Auditions
LOE validity starting from
Apr 202426 Feb 2024, 12noon

8 Mar 2024

Full capacity

2 - 3 Apr 20241 May 2024
Jul 202427 May 2024, 12noon7 Jun 20242 - 3 Jul 20241 Aug 2024
Oct 202426 Aug 2024, 12 noon6 Sep 20241 - 2 Oct 20241 Nov 2024
Jan 202525 Nov 2024, 12noon6 Dec 20242 - 3 Jan 20251 Feb 2025

Assessment criteria

General assessment criteria:

  1. COMPETENCY AND SKILL IN PERFORMANCE
  2. ENGAGEMENT WITH THE AUDIENCE
  3. EXPRESSIVENESS AND CONFIDENCE
  4. INNOVATION AND ORIGINALITY

Tips for specific art forms:

Busking Auditions Guidelines

 

What happens after the audition?

  1. You will be notified of the audition results by the appointed agency within 10 working days from the date of the Busking Audition.
  2. Details will be given to successful applicants to collect the LOE. LOEs not collected within 2 months from the date of issue will be voided.
The Busking Journey
Year Milestones
Year 0
  • A first-time busker passes their first audition
  • Obtain an LOE with a 1-year validity
  • Return for a second audition at the end of this year, before LOE expiry, if they wish to remain on the scheme
Year 1 and 2
  • Busker passes the second audition
  • Obtain an LOE with a 2-year validity
  • At the end of these 2 years, before LOE expiry, an online form is sent to the busker who can then apply for a renewal of another +2 years.
Year 3 and 4
  • Busker applies online for renewal
  • Obtain a renewed LOE with a 2-year validity
End of Year 4
  • At the end of the 4th year, before LOE expiry, the busker will need to return for an audition
  • On passing the audition, busker repeats the 4-year cycle from Year 1 onwards.

Busking update - Aspiring Busker

For existing Buskers on Scheme as of February 2024, before April 2024, please refer to the email sent to you on 23 February 2024 for your next steps in the new Busking Journey.

For any further clarifications on the Busking Scheme, please refer to the FAQ section or write in to nac_artsforall@nac.gov.sg.

Application Forms

With effect from 2 May 2023, applications towards the NAC Busking Scheme must be submitted via our Online Application Form. Submissions via other means, e.g. email, hard copies, will no longer be accepted.

For applicants who are 17 years old and below, kindly download and complete the Consent Form (in pdf format, e-signed), which is required for online submission together with your application.

For assistance/enquiries with regards to application, please contact our appointed Managing Agency, Aux Media Group at busking@aux.com.sg, or via +65 8299 9164 (mobile), +65 6346 9039 (telephone).

FAQ for the new Busking Journey (announced Feb 2024)

1. Can first-year buskers go for their second audition “early”?
E.g. If my first one-year LOE is expiring on 1 Aug 2024, can I do my second audition in April 2024 and start my 4-year cycle if I pass?

Buskers must: 

  • complete their full 1-year LOE validity after their first audition, and
  • pass the second audition at the end of this first LOE validity.

If the busker applies for a second audition early, they will instead be directed to apply for the correct audition cycle.

Exceptions may be made on a case-by-case basis only for extenuating circumstances.

2. What will happen to buskers who are currently on the Scheme? Will they get a new LOE? When and how can buskers collect their new LOEs?

The following applies only in the transition year of 2024 for buskers who:

  • are currently on the Busking Scheme; and
  • have passed at least 2 auditions within the last 4 years (1 Jan 2020 – 1 Feb 2024)

These buskers:

  • Will be offered a new 2-year LOE to start their 4-year cycle when their current LOE expires. (e.g. buskers whose current LOE ends on 1 May 2024 will get a new LOE that expires on 1 May 2026.)
  • Will NOT need to audition this year.
  • Can apply online (at the end of this new 2-year LOE) to renew for another +2 years, and do NOT need to audition.
  • Can return for auditions at the end of their 4th year to repeat the 4-year cycle if they wish to continue their Busking Journey.

Buskers will be notified on how and when to collect their new LOEs before their current LOEs expire.

Existing buskers on Scheme who have passed only 1 audition as of 1 Feb 2024 will have to pass a second audition (at the end of their current LOE, before it expires) to start the 4-year cycle.

3. What happens to former buskers whose LOEs have expired / lapsed before this new Busking Journey was implemented?

FORMER buskers who have passed at least 2 auditions within the last 4 years (1 Jan 2020 – 1 Feb 2024):

  • Can write in to NAC by 6 Dec 2024 (closing date of last application window of the year)
  • Will be offered a new 2-year LOE to start the 4-year cycle as Experienced Buskers.
  • Will NOT need to audition this year.

FORMER buskers who have passed only 1 audition within the last 4 years (1 Jan 2020 – 1 Feb 2024):

  • Can apply for any audition cycle happening in 2024 (Apr, Jul, Oct)
  • Will start the 4-year cycle as Experienced Buskers if they pass.

After the transition year of 2024, former buskers whose LOEs have lapsed will have to start their Busking Journey as new buskers.

4. What happens to existing buskers whose LOEs expire before they apply for renewal or pass an audition, or new buskers whose LOEs lapse after April 2024?

A completely new applicant after Feb 2024:

  • Will have to pass 2 consecutive auditions (with 1-year LOE validity in between) to start the 4-year cycle.
  • If there is a lapse (i.e. LOE expires before passing the second audition), their next audition will count as their first again.

A busker who has passed only 1 audition as of 1 Feb 2024 and allows their LOE to lapse after Feb 2024:

  • Will be considered a new applicant at their next audition.
  • Will have to complete their first 1-year LOE validity again.

Beyond 2024, after onboarding, should existing buskers allow their LOEs to lapse at any point in the Busking Journey, they will not be able to continue with the 4-year cycle. Such buskers will need to re-start their Busking Journey where they must come back to attend their first audition as new applicants.

5. Will buskers be reminded to apply for renewal at the 2-year mark and/or to return for auditions at the 4-year mark so that their LOEs will not lapse?
What if I cannot make it for the audition date and my LOE lapses?

Buskers will be sent a notification before the expiry of their LOEs.
NAC will assess appeals / requests on a case-by-case basis to consider the needs of buskers with extenuating circumstances.

6. What if I want to audition with a new act/instrument? What if my group has a change of members?

Buskers who:

  • change their act substantially (e.g. change instruments, change art form); or
  • change their group members

will need to audition as a new act.

These buskers:

  • Will start their Busking Journey again.
  • Will need to pass 2 consecutive auditions (with 1-year LOE validity in between) like a new busker, before starting the 4-year cycle.

7. How does the new Busking Journey apply to buskers who are not Singapore citizens or PRs?
What if there is a non-local busker in a mostly local busking group?

There is no change in the eligibility criteria for applicants who are not Singapore citizens or Permanent Residents. 

The Employment Pass (EP), ONE Pass, or Student Pass must be valid for the full duration of the LOE they are obtaining. 

Eligible buskers with EP/ONE Pass/Student Pass:

  • Will be on a 4-year cycle similar to all other buskers after passing their second consecutive audition.
  • If the Pass does not cover the full duration of a 2-year LOE at any point in the 4-year cycle, they may be offered a 1-year LOE instead of a 2-year LOE.
  • Depending on the validity of the Pass, they may renew online for an additional +1 or +2 years at the end of each LOE.
  • They may keep renewing online within the 4-year cycle as needed.
  • If they wish to continue their Busking Journey, they may return for auditions at the end of the 4th year (counted from the start date of the second LOE).

The above applies to groups with non-Singaporean/PR members as well.
Should the member be deemed not eligible to audition or renew their LOE (e.g. Pass validity does not cover the duration of LOE), and the group wishes to replace or remove their member, this would constitute a change in busking act. The group will then be required to audition as a new busking group and re-start their Busking Journey.

General FAQ

1. I am a foreigner visiting Singapore on Social Visit Pass. Can I apply for the Busking Scheme?
Only foreign residents on Employment Pass, ONE Pass, or Student Pass are eligible to apply under the NAC Busking Scheme. Additionally, the Pass must be valid for the duration of the Letter of Endorsement (Busking Card).

2. Is there a registration cost when I apply for the Busking Scheme?
There is no registration fee.

3. As a busking group, do all members need to be present when we are busking?
Yes, this is to ensure that the quality of your busking act is not compromised. Please note that stand-ins are not allowed.

4. How do I access the Busking E-service?
Only endorsed buskers with valid busking cards will be able to use the Busking E-service.  You will need an active SingPass account and/or a valid email address to access the Busking E-service. 

5. Can we raise funds through busking activities for charitable causes?
The Busking Scheme is not for the purpose of fund-raising for a cause or organisation. You will need to apply for (1) an Arts Entertainment Licence from the Media Development Authority or a Public Entertainment Licence from the Singapore Police Force and (2) a House-to-House and Street Collections Licence if you are planning to carry out fundraising activities under Singapore Law.

6. Is the Busking Scheme a welfare support initiative?
The Busking Scheme is not a welfare support scheme. If you require welfare assistance, please approach your nearest Community Development Council (CDC), Citizens’ Consultative Committee (CCC) or a Family Service Centre (FSC) for more information on the types of assistance available. Alternatively, you may also call the ComCare Hotline at 1800-222-0000 to enquire about the assistance programmes available.

7. How can I feature busking at my event? Can I get buskers to perform at my event?

Busking, under the NAC Busking Scheme, can only take place at designated busking locations, according to the Public Entertainments (Exemptions) Order. However, you can engage buskers directly as performers at your event and offer them reasonable fees/honoraria for their efforts. You can refer to our Busking E-service (switch to “Busker View”) to identify the buskers you wish to feature, and contact them directly as many of them provide social media handles and contact details. If the performance occurs in a place accessible to the public, please ensure you have obtained the necessary licenses (e.g. Public Entertainment License and/or Arts Entertainment License).