London auditions for 280 buskers

Roger Smith - Contributor Add a Comment 4 Min Read
Busker Dmitri van Zwanenberg // Credit: Eleanor Bentall & TfL

For the first time since the pandemic, auditions have been held for musicians to busk on 's railway network.

About 280 musicians are attending auditions to join more than 200 buskers who already entertain passengers on the Tube, Overground and .

A previous busking audition. // Credit: John Zammit / Transport for London
A previous busking audition. // Credit: John Zammit / Transport for

Buskers have been a feature of London's transport network for over 20 years, with stations across the resounding to the sounds of music.

Auditions are being held over the next fortnight at , , , and stations, with the 280 auditioning selected from more than 450 applicants.

To reflect London's cultural diversity, musicians of all genres were urged to apply. Each prospective busker will have ten minutes to convince the judges, who include a professional musician and station staff. Each musician will be assessed on their repertoire, musical ability, and performance styles.

Dmitri van Zwanenberg busking. // Credit: Eleanor Bentall. / Transport for London

Around 30 musicians are being auditioned each day, with the process being managed by Transport for London with support from Found in Music, which runs Busk in London, a programme supported by the Mayor of London.

Successful musicians will join existing buskers later this spring at over 40 pitches on the Tube, Overground and Elizabeth line networks, including two at station that opened last year.

Justine Simons OBE, Deputy Mayor for Culture and the Creative Industries said: “Music is the beating heart of London and buskers bring our city to life every day, making live music accessible to everyone. So I am delighted to see the return of TfL's busking auditions. We know the important part music can play in people's lives and the difference a song can make to our day. This is a fantastic opportunity for musicians to showcase their talents to Londoners and visitors, as we build a better London for all.”

Busker on the Transport for London network. // Credit: Eleanor Bentall. / Transport for London

Emma Strain, TfL's Customer Director, said: “We have been blown away by the response to our call out for more buskers, and there's a palpable feeling of excitement at all the stations where the auditions are taking place as musicians tune-up to showcase their talents. In a diverse, multicultural city like London, music truly is a common language. As Londoners pass through our stations and go about their busy lives, it has the power to cheer them on during the good times and lift them up in their lower moments.”

Rachel Meir, CEO of Found in Music, said: “We're really excited to be part of this world-renowned busking circuit. It's a reminder of the huge range of talent in and around London and an integral part of the music scene we must cherish and protect. I'm looking forward to seeing many of the new performers playing not only on the Underground circuit but also in music venues and larger stadiums in years to come. Grassroots music is where is all begins – you never know who's listening, and that's where the magic lies.”

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