Watch: TfL holds Tube and Elizabeth line busker auditions - 'It's almost like a miracle happening'

This is the first time TfL has auditioned for busking spots on the Elizabeth line.
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The latest Tube-busker hopefuls are battling it out at auditions to become the next sound of the Underground.

Around 280 musicians have been shortlisted from 480 applicants to perform to a panel of judges at Bank, Blackfriars, Canary Wharf, Farringdon and Southwark stations over the next fortnight.

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Each prospective busker has a 10-minute slot to convince a panel, which includes a professional musician and station staff. The audition will assess each musician’s repertoire, musical ability, and performance styles.

This is the first time auditions have taken place since the pandemic, and the first time buskers will be able to pitch to perform on the Elizabeth line.

The newly selected musicians will join more than 200 existing buskers later in the spring and play at more than 40 pitches on the Tube, Overground and Elizabeth line networks, including two pitches that opened at Bond Street station last year.

Transport for London (TfL)’s busking scheme, which launched 20 years ago, has seen the likes of Ed Sheeran start their careers entertaining passengers on the Underground.

Angie A has been busking on the London Underground since 2017Angie A has been busking on the London Underground since 2017
Angie A has been busking on the London Underground since 2017
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Vocalist and songwriter Angie A, who usually busks at Bond Street and Waterloo, said busking helps her mental health.

“It's such a lovely experience. You meet so many different people. I don’t tend to do the same songs all the time in a whole set,” she told LondonWorld. “I think it's really important for two reasons. I think it's really important for the musicians themselves. During lockdown when there was nothing I went out on the road. It was very quiet but there were a few people about."

She said it is really good for musicians' mental health, but also for the general public.

“It's almost like a miracle happening - you can change the atmosphere - and suddenly people are dancing and they come and talk to you," she said.

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Justine Simons OBE, deputy Mayor for culture and the creative industries, said: “Music is the beating heart of London and buskers bring our city to life everyday, making live music accessible to everyone. So I am delighted to see the return of TfL’s busking auditions. We know the important part music can play in people’s lives and the difference a song can make to our day. This is a fantastic opportunity for musicians to showcase their talents to Londoners and visitors, as we build a better London for all.”

Emma Strain, TfL's customer director, said: “We have been blown away by the response to our call out for more buskers, and there’s a palpable feeling of excitement at all the stations where the auditions are taking place as musicians tune up to showcase their talents. In a diverse, multicultural city like London, music truly is a common language. As Londoners pass through our stations and go about their busy lives, it has the power to cheer them on during the good times and lift them up in their lower moments.”

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