International Busking Day returns to Wembley as founder praises ‘amazing’ event

KT Tunstall has previously played at the event (International Busking Day)
KT Tunstall has previously played at the event (International Busking Day)

International Busking Day returns to London on Saturday where performers, musicians, and artists will come together for one of the largest gatherings of its kind.

The event, which takes in Wembley Park, was founded by Kate Jones seven years ago to showcase some of the best unknown artists and performers in the country.

Such is the popularity of the event, International Busking Day now has over 120 acts on its bill, in what Ms Jones called a “unique and special event”.

Commenting on the free festival, Ms Jones told the Standard: “It's special because you don't often get this type of event. Yes, you can see buskers around London and yes, you can go to Covent Garden and see street performances.

“But there isn't anything else in London that sort of brings the best of the best together in one space on one day, that's completely free of charge, where we just open our sort of arms and say everyone is welcome.”

Previously, the festival has hosted KT Tunstall and Nile Rodgers who mixed with other acts and performers hoping to advance their careers.

“We've had people being booked for tours, we've had people being booked to write film music, playing in shows, there's a there's a lovely edge there that says, it's a surprise. It's a surprise and delight, you don't quite know what you're going to get.

“I think that from an audience perspective, if you're just saying you've come up to Wembley Park on Saturday, and you didn't really know this was happening, you're suddenly involved and completely submerged in this amazing art form that's free,” Ms Jones said.

“The entertainment factor is always high, the enjoyment factor is high, but also you don't have to commit anything to it, you don’t have to buy a ticket to go and see it and then you're a bit disappointed.

“If one performance doesn't meet your particular likes, you move on to the next one and you'll always find something that engages and it's great for all ages.”

Featuring in the six-and-a-half hour event on Saturday, are acts such as The Dumwells who supported Mumford and Sons, and headline act, The Shires, who played at this year’s Glastonbury, and Gasper Nali, a one-man band from the shores of Lake Malawi.

Singer and musician, Beth McCarthy, is also featuring this year and began her career as a busker. Her singles have now been released on Spotify while the artist herself has cultivated a large following on TikTok.

Talking about her love of being able to perform, she said: “It’s just the real rawness of, you know, standing there in the middle of the street, and singing some songs that makes you feel something, you know, and it's a big thing for people and they can really connect. I think that it’s so lovely.”

Also performing in London on Saturday, is escaplogist, Miranda Allen and Tianna The Traveller as acts gather across the ten stages near Wembley Stadium and the OVO Arena.

“It's an amazing thing to have, because it, it sort of just shows how much of a thing busking really is, and how influential it can be on the world of music,” Beth said.

“Being able to have an event such as this, where it showcases so many artists who not only busk but have a really critical career and show that it is possible to do that from busking, I think is huge.”

The festival runs from 1pm to 7.30pm. Fore more information visit the festival’s website.