An exciting part of exploring a new city is taking in the sights and sounds it has to offer. With that in mind we have analyzed data on the top busking locations across the world  using information from The Busking Project , Google search results and Twitter to determine which cities offer the best busking experience.
With no central worldwide busking database to use as the activity can differ from city to city, and country to country we referred to The Busking Project’s user-generated data on buskers in the cities analyzed. The Busking Project is described as “the world’s largest community of buskers.”
So which city has landed the top spot? Let’s find out.
- London is the best city in the world for buskers scoring 804 out of a possible 1,000 points in our index, the most out of all busking cities analyzed.
- Melbourne and Toronto take second and third place for the best busking cities in the world.
- With 372 acts on The Busking Project, London takes the top spot for the city with the most buskers and the best variety of buskers with an average of 13 genres of acts to choose from.
- Musician is the most popular busking genre with 1,694 acts (67.41%) across the 103 cities analyzed.
- Twitter sentiment analysis of 42,623 tweets about busking and street performance from the past five years, shows that Santa Monica is the city where people are the most positive about buskers, with 76.14% of the 1,073 tweets analyzed being positive.
What is a Busker?
A busker, sometimes also referred to as a street performer, is a person who entertains people through musical or theatrical acts on the city streets. Some buskers perform for tips, and may sell merchandise. This all depends on the permit regulations in each individual city.
Many of today’s well-known celebrities started off as buskers including Rod Stewart, Tracey Chapman, Robin Williams, Pierce Brosnan and Ed Sheeran .
The Busking Project splits busking acts into thirteen genres. These include:
- Strange show*
*Referred to as Freakshow on The Busking Project.
The World’s Best Busking Cities
London, England took the top spot as the best busking city in the world scoring 804 out of a possible 1,000 points. The analysis found that the capital city has the highest number of buskers available of the 103 cities we analyzed using data from The Busking Project.
With 373 buskers, and 13 different genres to choose from, locals and tourists are spoilt for choice.
Permits are required for street performance in London ensuring the quality of those taking to the streets to entertain their audiences. When studying tweets that mentioned London and busking or street performance from the last five years it was found that 42.88% of the 8,226 tweets were positive. In second place is Melbourne, Australia which has 223 buskers across the city over 12 different genres. Toronto, Canada top third place in the ranking with 117 buskers on The Busking Project and 12 different busking categories to choose from.
|Rank||City||Number of buskers registered online||% of positive tweets about buskers in city|
The World’s Top 10 Cities For Busking
|Rank||City||Country||Score out of 1,000 rounded|
|4||New York||United States||669|
|6||Dublin||Republic of Ireland||644|
Cities With The Most Buskers
So where are the most buskers located? Our analysis of buskers registered on The Busking Project showed that London is the city to visit to see the highest number of buskers performing at 372 acts over 13 different genres.
With locations like Covent Garden, Piccadilly Circus, South Bank and the Underground synonymous with street performance it’s easy to see why it came up top.
Melbourne is known for being one of the liveliest cities in the world so it’s no surprise that this diverse city has taken second place in our ranking for its buskers in places like Bourke Street Mall and Southbank.
Famous for its exciting atmosphere, greenspace and soaring skyscrapers, Toronto is one of the most multicultural cities in Canada. Toronto takes third place in our global index for their busking community for performances in locations like the Eaton Centre department store.
|Rank||City||Number of buskers registered online||Number of busking genres|
Top 10 Locations For Number of Buskers
|Rank||City||Country||Number of buskers registered online||Number of busking genres||Overall score out of 300 rounded|
|7||New York||United States||101||10||225|
All cities in the top 10 list locations above require buskers to apply for permits to perform. We weighted our scoring to benefit cities with permit regulations in place to ensure the best quality of buskers were available with many buskers required to go through an audition process before taking to the streets. We awarded 150 points to cities with busking permits in place and 75 points were given to cities that didn’t require a permit or where the activity isn’t permitted by the local authority.
The World’s Most Popular Busking Genres
Our analysis found that the most popular genre across the cities analyzed was musician with 1,694 acts across the 103 cities analyzed. That equates to 67.41% of all 1,269 busking acts reviewed.
London takes the top spot for having the most musicians with 273 acts, out of 103 cities analyzed.
In fact, 87 of the cities we studied (20.52%) had musical acts available to entertain locals and holidaymakers alike. Circus followed in second place with 116 acts (4.62%), followed by artists with 114 acts (4.54%).
|Rank||Genre||Number of genre acts in all cities||% of total number of buskers in genre|
Top Cities By Busking Genre
|Rank||Genre||Most popular city/ies||Country|
|8||Dancer||New York||United States|
|11||Statue||London and Toronto||England and Canada|
|12||Puppeteer||Berlin, Las Vegas, London and Vancouver||Germany, United States, England and Canada|
|13||Strange show||London, Newcastle-upon-Tyne and Melbourne||England and Australia|
London was found to be the most popular destination for buskers, featured in 10 of the top 13 genres. Most musical, circus, artistic, magic, clown and theater acts were located in London.
However, Toronto was highlighted as the top city for juggling acts. New York was shown to be the city to visit to experience dancing excellence and Edinburgh, home to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival came out on top for storytelling.
Which Cities Like Busking The Most?
We used a sentiment analysis algorithm to determine which of the 103 cities analyzed have the most positive tweets online.
From our analysis of over 42,623 tweets about busking and street performance in key cities from the past five years, Santa Monica, United States was shown to have the most positive tweets of all 103 cities scoring 471 out of a possible 550 points.
Overall, 76.14% of the 1,073 posts about busking and street performance in Santa Monica are positive with only 23.86% being negative towards the activity. This gives the city an overall sentiment score of 0.69.Geelong, Australia took 2nd place with a sentiment score of 0.59 and 389 points, followed by Bath, England with 367 out of the full 550 points available. The top cities with the highest sentiment score can be seen below.
|Rank||City||Country||Total no. tweets||Positive tweets (%)||Negative tweets (%)||Average sentiment score per city||Score out of 550 rounded|
|1||Santa Monica||United States||1,073||76.14%||23.86%||0.69||471|
|5||Dublin||Republic of Ireland||2,462||45.94%||54.06%||0.41||346|
Nashville, United States has the lowest sentiment score of all the cities, at -0.16 but scored points for number of tweets (2,338), with 17.39% being positive and sadly 82.61% being negative about busking in the city resulting in a score of 298 out of 550 points.
- Busking location https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_busking_locations
- The Busking Project https://busk.co./
- Famous buskers https://www.heart.co.uk/showbiz/famous-musicians-started-as-street-artists-buskers/
- Social media data collected from Twitter.
Radical Storage used data from The Busking Project to analyze the number of buskers and number of busking genres in 103 of the most popular busking spots in the world, alongside permit data from local governments and number of positive and negative tweets and the overall sentiment for the activity in each city using data from Twitter.
The analysis looked at the number of buskers in each city and the number of busking categories on offer in each city as reported by The Busking Project.
Cities with a sample size of less than five, or with no busking data available were discounted from The Busking Project analysis and given a zero score.
Cities with a permit in place for busking were given a score of 100 to account for the quality of the performance. Those without permit laws in place were given a score of 75.
Then using Twitter data from the past 5 years we calculated how many tweets there were overall for each city that mentioned the location alongside terms referring to busking or street performance. Using that data we could then determine the number of positive, neutral or negative tweets to then uncover the overall Twitter sentiment in each city. For cities with less than a hundred tweets about busking or street performing in the area over the past five were given a score of 0 for that section.
Each datapoint was assigned a score, to then calculate the overall score with a possible 1,000 points up for grabs.
Scoring was broken down as follows.
- The Busking Project data – 300 points maximum
- Permit data – 150 points maximum
- Twitter data – 550 points maximum
Cities with less than five buskers on The Busking Project site were given a score of 0 for that part of the analysis. Additionally, cities that had less than five tweets about busking or street performing in the area over the past five were given a score of 0 for that section.
The below terms on Twitter over the past five years in each city analyzed were scraped using pandas, BeautifulSoup and selenium to determine the overall Twitter sentiment for each city: “city” and busker, “city” and busking, “city” and street performer, “city” and street performance.
Twitter sentiment score was calculated by classifying the text in tweets analyzed into various sentiments including negative, positive and neutral to then provide an overall score for all tweets about busking or street performance in each of the 103 cities we studied.
This data was collated and analyzed on November 26th 2022.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License