Young musicians from across London hit the streets in bid to be crowned busker of the year.
Young musicians from across London will this week begin competing to be crowned busker of the year, when they take part in Gigs Big Busk, the country's biggest street music competition, which gets underway on Saturday 19 July.
Aimed at young people aged 11-25 , around 1,000 entries were received for Gigs 2014, which is organised by the Mayor of London and offers aspiring artists the opportunity to hone their skills and gain valuable experience of performing in public. They also have the chance to win great prizes, which are intended to help them develop their musical ability and support their aspirations to build a career in the music industry.
Over the next three weeks, around 200 acts, including soloists, duos and groups, will be pitching up at over 20 high profile settings, including on the London Underground, at Network Rail stations and other busy locations, including St Paul's Cathedral, Regent Street and the two Westfield shopping centres, treating passers-by to a variety of musical styles, from pop to country and classical to hip hop. They will play every day except Mondays from Saturday 19 July until Saturday 9 August and the public can vote online at www.gigsbigbusk.com/vote until Sunday 31 August.
As well as supporting Gigs, the Mayor has set up the BackBusking taskforce, bringing together boroughs, the police, musicians and other bodies to develop a pan-London approach to busking. Confusing rules and some parts of the capital operating mandatory licensing charges and imposing fines have made it difficult for musicians to know where they can perform. One of Gigs' previous winners, Cricklewood band The King's Parade, was even arrested whilst busking in Leicester Square recently. The Mayor wants to prevent the capital becoming a no go area for talented street musicians and is calling on the public to get behind the BackBusking campaign, as well as voting in this year's Gigs competition.
The Mayor of London Boris Johnson said: 'Busking is a familiar and much loved part of city life, particularly in London and our Gigs competition is a fantastic opportunity for talented young musicians to shine in front of public. Over the years Gigs has provided a platform for some great musicians wanting to carve a career in the music industry. We're calling on the public to keep an eye out for our latest line up of talent, show their appreciation and, most importantly, get voting! We might have a budding Ed Sheeran or Ellie Goulding in our midst.'
If you miss the live performances, videos of the performers can be viewed on the website at www.gigsbigbusk.com/vote from Monday 11 August and the public has until Sunday 31 August to vote for their favourite in each category.
The Grand Final takes place on Sunday 7 September from 12pm at Westfield Stratford City. 18 finalists will compete before a panel of industry judges and thousands of Westfield visitors. There are three categories: Soloists and Duos, for people aged 16-25; Youth, for people aged 11-15; Groups, for up to 20 members. The judges will decide a winner in each category and one act will be crowned Gigs Champion 2014.
Event: Gigs Big Busk 2014
Date: Saturday 19 July 2014
Locations: King’s Cross Square