Bulgaria: Plovdiv adopts 'qualified buskers only' rule

A street in central Plovdiv Image copyright Nenko Lazarov
Image caption Plovdiv has brought in new busking rules ahead of becoming a European Capital of Culture

Anyone wanting to busk in the centre of Bulgaria's second city will now have to prove they're qualified.

Musicians in Plovdiv, in central Bulgaria, will only be allowed to play on the city's main thoroughfare if they've got a music education diploma, the national public broadcaster BNT reports. The city has been chosen as a European Capital of Culture for 2019. The council says it's following the lead of several other cities, including Madrid, which introduced an audition process for street musicians in 2013. The Spanish capital requires performers to face a panel of judges before they are granted a license, but does not demand an official qualification.

The council has divided Plovdiv into three zones, with the central shopping street and Old Town only open to qualified musicians. A second area is reserved for people without formal qualifications, but who have performed at musical events or entered competitions. Everyone else has to find a spot elsewhere in the city. "I wouldn't say that the requirements are stringent," says the council's public policy chief, Georgi Marinov. He adds that officials want to make sure musicians are good enough to entertain tourists and locals. Plovdiv was selected as a European Capital of Culture in September, beating three challengers, including the capital Sofia.

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