You’ve got a guitar in your hand, a pretty good voice, and you want to make a few bucks–what do you do? Among the many things that the Covid-19 pandemic brought to a halt is the busking scene. For those of us who might not know what it is, busking is performing, singing, or playing an instrument on the streets, and usually receiving voluntary donations from passers by. Donations typically take the form of loose change, but it is not uncommon to receive kind notes, smiles, and compliments as a replacement. Busking is an artform all its own–some buskers create huge crowds and followings on social media, and it becomes a major revenue source for them. What people might not know, is that one needs a busking license to become a busker. 

Depending on what country and region you live in and who owns the property you plan to busk on, you’ll have to check whether you need a license to busk. For example, in the city of Mississauga, the main organization that grants you busking licenses is Culture Mississauga. Among the many cultural areas they are responsible for, Saugabusks is the branch in charge of busking! Having entered phase three in the recovery of the pandemic, the organization allows a limited number of twenty-five buskers to be licensed and performing at designated venues, often referred to as “busk stops”. These venues include 5 venues in Port Credit, the Lakefront Promenade park, 3 stops at Celebration Square and a final stop at the Streetsville Village square. To see a map of the locations, click here!

Safety Regulations

In light of the pandemic, Saugabusks is enforcing safety measures in terms of performing. “Singers and players of brass or wind instruments must be separated from any spectators by plexiglass or some other impermeable barrier. Every performer and other person who provides work of the business or place must maintain a physical distance of at least two metres from every other person, except, if it is necessary for the performers to be closer to each other for the purposes of the performance or rehearsal.

Where and How Do I apply? 

The steps to take to apply is quite simple. 

  1. Print and fill out an application form and code of conduct form found on the website.
  2. Bring both documents to the Customer Service Centre located at the Paramount Fine Food Centre in Mississauga. 
  3. Purchase insurance of $35 or bring in documents of your own insurance.
  4. Obtain your permit and lanyard. 

Some things to note while busking (including the safety regulations) are:

  1. You must wear your busking license and lanyard at all times, and the license holder must be on site at all times.
  2. There is no electricity available or stages for the performers – therefore bring you own battery powered instrument and amplification devices.
  3. There is no schedule for the locations and is run by a first come first serve basis. There is a limit of 2 hours per performer.
  4. You are encouraged to tag the Mississauga Culture organization on social media with the @saugaculture handle, and to tag Saugabusks with #saugabusks. 
  5. Any further information for the current year’s Saugabusk can be inquired at [email protected].

Other details can be found in this PDF from the Saugabusk website!

If you have a passion for performing and want to spread a little bit of well needed love and music to your Mississauga community, go on and fill the application form and get busking!


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