Musicians will be able to apply for busking spaces in Elizabeth line stations, as Transport for London (TfL) will be reopening its music audition process for the first time since 2017.

Twenty years ago, TfL introduced a licensed scheme to replace the ad-hok musician busking that used to take place, and since then, authorised spaces within stations have been set aside for musicians to use. Since it was introduced in 2003, over 200 registered buskers have passed the audition process — and now TfL is opening up the scheme to new musicians, and for the first time, including the Elizabeth line.

The application process for musicians to apply is now live.

Auditions will take place in early 2024, managed/co-ordinated by Found in Music, who run Busk in London. Shortlisted musicians will then perform to a panel of musical experts and TfL operational staff in a busy station environment and be judged on technical ability and audience response.

The closing date for applications for the London Underground Licensed Busking Scheme is Friday 22 December 2023 at 5pm and the application details are here.

Musician James Black unveils a special edition Fender Stratocaster guitar illustrated with the tube map November 2015  (c) TfL

In addition, two new pitches have been made at Bond Street station, in a first for the Elizabeth line. Musicians can now be heard at the Davies Street and Hanover Square entrances of the central London station, and TfL says it is looking into setting up further pitches in other Elizabeth line stations.

Justine Simons OBE, Deputy Mayor for Culture and the Creative Industries, said: “I am delighted at the return of TfL’s busking auditions and the introduction of pitches to the Elizabeth line. Busking is a thriving artform across our city and has brought TfL’s stations alive over the last 20 years. This competition provides musicians with a fantastic opportunity to show off their talents, as we build a better London for everyone.”

To commemorate 20 years since busking began on London’s transport network, 20 buskers have volunteered for a portrait series that will appear in stations later this year.


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  1. Jon Jones says:

    My earliest memories of the tube are of hearing the sounds of buskers drifting through the stations.

    I understand why TfL have to control where the buskers perform, but I wish there were more.

  2. V says:

    I remember years ago riding down an escalator hearing a girl flautist playing ‘The Arrival of the Queen of Sheba’ at the bottom, and she was going at quite a lick. As I passed her I commented ‘The Queen’s in a hurry tonight!’. She managed to giggle without missing a note!

  3. Gobuddy says:

    That is just the coolest guitar with the tube map printed on. I’ve seen them in use and they look even better in real life.

    It is a genuine Fender Stratocaster (limited edition no doubt) and not just a Photoshop thing.

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