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Cities strike a chord for International Busking Day

Street performers including dancers, magicians and theatre artists will take to the streets of cities around the world for the first ever International Busking Day.

Organisers say they want to counter the misconceptions of busking, and raise the profile of street performers and their significance to London’s cultural life.

London will be one of 50 cities taking part in the festival on July 23, which also includes New York, Sydney, Barcelona and Hong Kong – with more than 40 cities in the UK also involved.

In London, the day will see a wide range of street performers take up residence in Trafalgar Square for the day, with circus, magic, street dance, physical theatre and music all expected to be staged.

Other performers will set up pitches at eight different train stations around the capital, including King’s Cross and Waterloo.

A spokesman for the festival said it aimed to celebrate street performers, who often face obstacles “thanks to confusing rules, unnecessary red tape and even the threat of arrest – despite [busking] being popular with residents and tourists alike”.

Launching the event, the mayor of London Boris Johnson said: “As a global hub for creativity and the arts, I’m proud that London is spearheading this celebration of street performance.”

He continued: “I hope all cities will recognise the huge cultural contribution buskers make, and follow London’s lead in making it easier for performers to do their thing.”

Last year, cities across the UK took part in the inaugural National Busking Day [1], which has now been replaced with International Busking Day following the involvement of cities in other countries.