Buskers must stay in tune with performance guide
They are the bane of some people's shopping trips, while to others they help create a vibrant street scene.
But buskers in Truro are now being asked to sing from the same hymn sheet and follow rules which aim to make their performances more of a pleasure than a pain.
Inspector Mark Richards from Truro Police Station, said he welcomed the move and asked buskers to sign up.
"Buskers in the city can add a certain character and ambience to the area but the police and council do get occasional complaints sometimes when buskers are excessively noisy or overly aggressive when collecting donations.
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"Hopefully these guidelines will reduce the number of complaints from members of the public, while allowing quality buskers to show off their entertainment skills."
The booklet urges street performers to consider shopworkers who may have to listen to repeated renditions of popular songs day in and day out.
It says they should not play for more than an hour in one spot – half an hour if their instruments are noisy like bagpipes or drums.
It asks performers to have variety in their set and not play the same song, or beat for a long time.
Moreover, performers should conduct a sound check before strumming and make sure their music cannot be heard more than 20 metres away. The guidance also reminds buskers they should not be a nuisance to the public by asking for money, although donations are acceptable.
The booklet has been produced by Cornwall Council, along with Truro City Council, Totally Truro and Devon and Cornwall Police, after issues were raised about the quality, volume and persistence of some buskers.
"We have received complaints about street performers, particularly when the weather is good," said Kevin Bryant, from Cornwall Council's Environmental Health team.
"There are many businesses and offices close to the popular busking spots and this guide aims to lessen the impact on them without stopping the performers and denying visitors the enjoyment, variety and flair that street performers bring to the city."
Cornwall Council is asking performers for their views on the guidance, a copy of which is available from Truro's one-stop-shop.
The authority said it did not license street performers, but does have a duty to ensure street performers comply with laws around sound levels and obstruction.
Neil Scott, from Totally Truro, said: "Truro is a great little city – with a variety of buskers and street entertainers adding to the environment and experience that we can offer.
"The newly released Street Performers Guide will be really helpful in ensuring that we retain both quality and variety of performers throughout the city centre in order to balance the needs of both businesses and visitors."