Britain’s performers and music-lovers will take to the city streets on 18 July 2015 for the first ever National Busking Day. UK cities from Belfast to York will join London in encouraging performers to use traditional busking spaces including railway stations, shopping centres and parks. A full-on party in London’s Trafalgar Square will be the hub, and feature a line-up of specially chosen singers, dancers and physical theatre performers from the UK, Europe and across the world. Promoted by London Mayor Boris Johnson and with backers including Westminster Council, PRS for Music and Ticketmaster, the day is intended to encourage all UK cities to value and support our vibrant array of talented street performers. Busking and street performance have played an important role in the careers of many successful artists, such as Ed Sheeran, Passenger, Frank Turner and Eddie Izzard. BBC Radio DJ Bob Harris said: ‘Busking is an important part of our musical history and culture, a time honoured way for young musicians to hone their skills, learn to be brave and get their music across to people.’ In London the day also serves to launch ‘Busk in London’, a festival of busking across three consecutive weekends in July and August. This is a showpiece of the Busk in London scheme, launched in March to make street performance easier in the capital and promoting a helpful Busker’s Code devised by performers, councils, businesses and the police. It also launches this year’s annual busking competition, Gigs, which gives talented youngsters aged 11-25 a chance to perform in a high-profile London location, get their music heard and hone their performance skills. Now London’s biggest free music festival, the Gigs competition transforms iconic public spaces into stages which this year will host competitors’ gigs between 18 July and 8 August, with a Grand Final at Westfield Stratford City on Sunday 6 September. Mayor Boris Johnson said: ‘One of the things that make London such a vibrant city is the casual way you can encounter a wonderful piece of music or dance or even magic on the streets. It’s this spirit of creativity that makes our city so welcoming.’ Other focal points across the country on National Busking day will include Brighton Pavilion Gardens, Castle Street in Edinburgh, the Sage in Gateshead, Buchanan Street in Glasgow, Liverpool One and Dreamland in Margate. Edinburgh Council’s Culture leader, Councillor Richard Lewis said: ‘Edinburgh’s buskers and street performers are vital to the buzzing outdoor atmosphere during August and all year round’. For more details including National Busking Day times and venues across the UK and how you can join in, visit buskinlondon.com.