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Amplified Busking

From Helen Coreless

Tuesday, 15 June 2021

Is it just me, or is Hebden Bridge becoming unbearably loud with amplified buskers?

I walked through the town today and the cacophony was awful, there were two amplified buskers, one in the Square, one outside the White Swan playing so loudly that I could hear both most of the way down Bridgegate, playing different songs. 

Nowadays I find St. George's square frequently out of bounds as you can hardly have a conversation for the noise. And there is little escape in the countryside either - on Sunday I walked up past Old Chamber farm and I could still the hear buskers in the square!

I don't want to seem like a grumpy old woman but the man with the puppet and his fiddle manages without any amplification - though he told me recently, he sometimes cannot play due to the level of amplification of other buskers - so why can't we get rid amps and let us all enjoy the town with a bit of background music rather than having our ears blasted?

From George Murphy

Wednesday, 16 June 2021

I agree with Helen. The polite volume would allow visitors to tune in or tune out. 

From Mark H

Wednesday, 16 June 2021

For what it's worth, I will give buskers money if they aren't amplified. I won't if they are.

I agree it's a case of noise nuisance that we don't need. Yesterday was a case in point with buskers by the wavy steps and the fustian knife making a sunny day much less enjoyable.

Any buskers like to offer an opinion?

From Janileigh Cohen

Thursday, 17 June 2021

I am a busker but my music is very quiet and my voice isn't loud so I use an amp on a respectable level so others here me. I'm saddened by those who blast their music and give us a bad reputation. I was looking to come and busk in Hebden Bridge. 

From Anya G

Thursday, 17 June 2021

As per the threads linked at the bottom of this one, Hebweb receives a lot of complaints about amplified busking, and nothing happens.  If you want something to happen it's not enough to post here.  You need to find out how to formally complain, who has power over who gets to busk when, complain to them, and let others know how to.

Or, just wait for the next thread on Hebweb, and the next, and the next.

Ho hum.

From Betty and Marth

Friday, 18 June 2021

Here's the link to report noise pollution to Calderdale Council

From Jae E

Friday, 18 June 2021

I agree with previous comments: while buskers are very welcome, amplified busking is impossible to ignore or avoid. It is far too loud and invasive. I now avoid Hebden at weekends or migrate elsewhere if buskers with amps appear. Great advice to not 'give' to amp users btw: and to the women who kindly gave the link to Calderdale Noise Pollution - I've tried to fill the form in and it simply will not 'complete' - anyone else tried? 

From Ralph N

Monday, 28 June 2021

Not saying anything does not help. As people are naturally polite, how about dropping a little note in the busking hat saying "Please turn the volume down."

I usually go to the buskers when they finished playing a song and tell them to lower the volume = "less is more", and they usually reply, that the people from the pub side ask for more volume.

St. George's Square has a funnel effect, reflecting the sound, so at the end it is as loud as nearby.

For me the busker's music is the soul of our town.

From Gillian MH

Sunday, 4 July 2021

This discussion has been going on since the Square was pedestrianised. Countless people living and working in the vicinity have complained to both Hebden Royd and Halifax councils, but it has never come to anything.

On the odd occasion the police have been involved, the amp gets turned down for as long as it takes for the coppers to leave the area, then it's turned up again.

For what it's worth, the issue is a licensing one. To play other artistes work you need a Performing Rights License. It is impractical for buskers to have one, but if the council had one (as they are legally obliged to if allowing live music on their patch) they could issue temporary free permits to buskers and in so doing, set appropriate restrictions, eg the use of amplifiers / length of set etc. This happens in other towns and cities. Of course it has come to nothing here. It should be noted that in places like Covent Garden, buskers aren't allowed to play longer than 40 minutes to allow others a crack at the whip. In Hebden it's not unusual for a busker to rock up first thing in the morning and hog the best spot for the rest of the day. This is appalling busking etiquette.

With regards leaving a polite note - I made the mistake of trying that and got a mouthful of abuse. I'm sure there are people passing through town who enjoy this dirge, but for those of us sitting ducks who live or work in the area and who can't escape it, it can be tortuous.

It is true that writing on this forum changes nothing, but if enough of us contact Hebden Royd council it is possible that something might be done about it. Eventually. Perhaps. One day. 


HebWeb Forum: Busker in the Square (April 2018)

HebWeb Forum Busking in the Square (May 2017)

HebWeb Forum Amplified busking (May-Nov 2016)

HebWeb Forum: Amplified busking menace (October 2015)

HebWeb Forum: Busking and amplification (April-July 2012)

HebWeb Forum: Busking in Hebden (August-Oct 2010)