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Hundreds of musicians showcase their talents in TfL’s stations

Around 280 musicians auditioning to busk on the TfL network in the first opportunity since the pandemic. Successful musicians will join more than 200 existing buskers on the Tube, Overground and Elizabeth line. Buskers have been entertaining those travelling on the London transport network for more than 20 years.Stations across the Transport for London (TfL) network have come alive with the sounds of music as auditions for a new cohort of buskers are underway after applications opened in late 2023 for the first time after the pandemic.Around 280 talented musicians are performing to a panel of judges at Bank, Blackfriars, Canary Wharf, Farringdon and Southwark stations over the next fortnight, shortlisted from more than 450 applicants. Musicians from all genres were encouraged to apply in the autumn to reflect the cultural diversity of London. Each prospective busker has a 10-minute slot to convince a panel, which includes a professional musician and station staff. The audition will assess each musician’s repertoire, musical ability, and performance styles.The auditions are now underway, with around 30 musicians to be put through their paces each day. The process is managed by TfL with support from Found in Music, which runs Busk in London, a programme supported by the Mayor of London. The newly selected musicians will join more than 200 existing buskers later in the spring and play at more than 40 pitches on the Tube, Overground and Elizabeth line networks, including two pitches that opened at Bond Street station last year.

TfL’s Licensed Busking Scheme has been running for more than 20 years, with auditions opening to new musicians every few years.

Justine Simons OBE, Deputy Mayor for Culture and the Creative Industries, said: “Music is the beating heart of London and buskers bring our city to life everyday, making live music accessible to everyone. So I am delighted to see the return of TfL’s busking auditions. We know the important part music can play in people’s lives and the difference a song can make to our day. This is a fantastic opportunity for musicians to showcase their talents to Londoners and visitors, as we build a better London for all.”

Emma Strain, TfL's Customer Director, said: “We have been blown away by the response to our call out for more buskers, and there’s a palpable feeling of excitement at all the stations where the auditions are taking place as musicians tune up to showcase their talents. In a diverse, multicultural city like London, music truly is a common language. As Londoners pass through our stations and go about their busy lives, it has the power to cheer them on during the good times and lift them up in their lower moments.”

Rachel Meir, CEO of Found in Music, said: "We're really excited to be part of this world-renowned busking circuit. It's a reminder of the huge range of talent in and around London, and an integral part of the music scene we must cherish and protect. I'm looking forward to seeing many of the new performers playing not only on the Underground circuit, but also in music venues and larger stadiums in years to come. Grassroots music is where is all begins - you never know who's listening, and that's where the magic lies."

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