10 more spots designated for busking in Singapore

There are currently about 70 busking spots islandwide.

Helmy Saat

Helmy Saat

The Straits Times


November 22, 2023

SINGAPORE – Fans of street performances will be able to catch such acts at more than 10 new locations from December, after more spaces designated for busking were announced on Nov 21.

Two of the new spots – located along the Singapore River – are earmarked for acts that need larger spaces, for instance, the National Arts Council (NAC) said in a statement.

The move is part of a pilot scheme that involves teaming up with precinct and venue partners and aims to “maximise the busking experiences” for performers and audiences, it added.

There are currently about 70 busking spots islandwide.

Busker Karyn Wong, who has been playing the ukulele and singing to audiences since 2021, said: “I am happy that there will be more locations to busk at. I love exploring busking locations to spread joy to different people.

“When we enjoy our performances, the audience will be infected with our joy too.”

Ms Wong, 34, is part of the 15-member Busking Consultative Committee, which was formed in July to study how the needs of the busking community here can be better addressed.

The committee comprises buskers, representatives from venue partners, the private sector and related agencies, including representatives from the Singapore Police Force, Urban Redevelopment Authority and Singapore Tourism Board.

The committee, which is chaired by NAC, recommended and co-developed a checklist to identify the new locations with the busking community.

Another committee member, Mr Syed Raizal, who has been performing cover songs since 2017, said: “I am grateful that these new busking locations (reflected) our feedback.

“For example, Singapore Sports Hub’s location is very convenient, right outside the Stadium MRT station, and other (locations) are in the city areas with big crowds like Cineleisure and Lau Pa Sat, where buskers can reach out to more people.”

Sentosa Development Corporation director of events and programming Jimmy Wong, who is also part of the committee, said he hoped the growth in space and opportunity for street performers will add richness to Singapore’s culture.

“It would be brilliant to discover more home-grown talent from the streets of Singapore,” he added.

“It is a tall order to liven up the streets while navigating concerns of different groups of stakeholders; for example, managing the crowds and ensuring safety while busking during festive periods, not just for the public but also buskers themselves.”

The new busking locations will be introduced progressively from December.

Location descriptors on the busking e-service portal will be refined to indicate suitability for different types of acts to help buskers with their planning.

NAC chief executive Low Eng Teong said: “Over the years, we have seen a greater diversity in the types of busking acts, ranging from music and street theatre acts to live typewritten poetry.

“We hope to provide more than 80 locations islandwide, from our city centre to our neighbourhoods, for buskers to perform and encourage the public to continue showing their support as they encounter these diverse performances.”

The NAC said that adjustments to busking hours will be implemented during the festive season for the safety of buskers and the public, especially in Orchard Road where large crowds are expected at the various activities. This includes the first Christmas Eve street party.

The adjustments will be made across peak hours on Fridays and Saturdays from Dec 15, and on Dec 24.

Wisma Atria, a popular location for buskers, will continue to be available, except on Christmas Eve.

Busking will be closed at these locations between 7pm and 10pm:

  • Ion Orchard (Dec 15 to 16, 22 to 24 and 29 to 30)
  • Ngee Ann City A (Dec 15 to 16, 22 to 24 and 29 to 30)
  • Ngee Ann City B (Dec 15 to 16, 22 to 24 and 29 to 30)
  • Wisma Atria (Dec 24)
  • Mandarin Gallery (Dec 24)
  • 313@Somerset (Dec 24)
  • Knightsbridge (Dec 24)
  • The Heeren (Dec 24)

Despite the adjustments, NAC said that it has ensured there will be more busking slots available during 2023’s festive season as compared with 2022.

This includes two pop-up busking locations on Christmas Eve, as part of a tie-up with the Orchard Road Business Association, in front of Tangs and at the T-junction between Lucky Plaza and Tong Building between 8pm and 11pm.

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