New rules for Dublin's buskers

New rules for Dublin's buskers

BUSKERS in Dublin will have to keep the noise down – after the city council voted in favour of introducing a cap on noise levels.

New regulations will be introduced in just two weeks which include a limit of 80 decibels for any music playing.

“In the meeting, nobody was speaking less than 80 decibels – in fact 90 decibels was recorded,” said singer Andy Kavanagh, expressing his frustration at the new regulations.

Andy is the lead singer of Keywest, a Dublin-based band that is well-known for frequenting Grafton Street.

The Irish Post reported that Andy and his bandmates were spearheading a campaign to appeal to Dublin City Council not to change the laws on busking on Dublin’s iconic street.

Other new rules will see a €30 annual fee for buskers - €60 for those using an electric amplifier – and an embargo on playing after 11pm.

“The costing thing is fine,” said Andy, of the fee. “But we want to increase the decibel level to an international standard.”

The change to regulations will also see a fifty metre minimum gap introduced between each act – something Andy also expressed frustration with.

“The distance is too far, we’d like to see it more in line with Santa Monica, there’s a 12 metre gap which isn’t even 40 feet.”

While the new rules are a first for Irish buskers, there have been strict laws in place in Britain for quite a while.

In London, for example, to get a coveted spot as a busker in the Underground, you have a demanding process to go through.

After the initial application, a budding performer has to go through an interview, a panel audition and, if successful in the latter, a security check before been given a two-hour slot in one of the tube stations around the capital.

In other places, like Birmingham and Manchester, you have to audition but there is no fee in place for performers.

Dublin’s changes to regulation are set to come into effect in the next two weeks – and will limit the busking on Grafton Street.

A glance at busker rules around the world...


You must have a licence to be legal

You must pass a "suitability" audition

There are 38 points in the Barcelona subway for approved performers

New York City

No permit required - but you can audition for Music Under New York

MUNY sets up schedules of performances and locations


You must hold a permit to perform

You must not perform longer than your allocated time (generally up to 2 hours)


You must hold a permit

You cannot perform in the centre at peak hours (9am to 12pm and 2pm to 5pm)


You must hold a permit and perform within designated hours

For metro buskers, you must pass an RATP audition


Have your say - should there be rules in place for buskers? Leave your comments below