Forum: More designated busking locations being planned

We refer to The Straits Times' article, "New e-booking system for buskers irks some who cannot get slots" (July 25), and thank various buskers for sharing their views on the busking portal.

Introduced four months ago, the portal was designed with feedback from buskers who had asked for equal access to more locations, greater flexibility to plan their schedules and confirmed spots to busk at. We have been heartened by the positive feedback received from our busking community.

A survey conducted with buskers after the launch of the portal affirmed this, with 75 per cent agreeing that the portal allowed them to plan ahead with the certainty of a slot.

Buskers can also now access more than 70 locations islandwide as compared to five fixed locations previously.

Additionally, to prevent hogging of slots, buskers can no longer busk at a location for the full day, and can book up to six one-hour slots per day instead.

We are encouraged to see the portal being well used, with a good mix of different buskers at popular, high-traffic locations. For example, there were 26 unique buskers at Paya Lebar Square with only 15 per cent of slots unused last month.

Busking groups like T & J have also been able to explore and access new locations such as Downtown East, Hougang Central Court and Fajar Shopping Centre.

Due to growing interest, more buskers are looking to access some of the more popular locations.

The National Arts Council (NAC) has been engaging buskers and working closely with venue partners to increase the number of designated busking locations. These include the four new locations at East Coast Park; one new location at Tras Link Park; and one new location outside Ngee Ann City, which brings the total to 13 along Orchard Road.

Although there are only four buskers performing circus acts on the busking circuit, there are some 30 suitable locations islandwide, with about 15 in central Singapore.

We are happy to see increased interest in busking, with 30 per cent more new applicants in this month's auditions as compared to the April auditions.

We encourage all buskers to explore new locations and for audiences to continue their strong support for busking in Singapore.

NAC will continue to monitor the feedback to refine the portal further, and ensure opportunity and access for all buskers. We hope to grow the busking scene to enable greater vibrancy of our neighbourhoods and city.

Elaine Ng

Senior Director, Engagement and Participation

National Arts Council

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