TALENTED musicians and performers across the borough are being invited into the town centre as part of this year’s Basingstoke Festival.

The festival’s Top Hat weekend, which takes place on July 5 and 6, aims to fill the town centre with music and street shows put on by local buskers competing for cash prizes and trophies, while encouraging the public to put spare change in their hats.

Throughout central Basingstoke, “busk stops” will be created to allow performers to do their thing for festival fans and passers-by during the weekend. Performers under the age of 18 will be eligible to take part if they are accompanied by an adult.

At the end of the weekend, the Top Hat awards will be made to the best music and non-music performances but all acts will be allowed to receive tips from audiences during their shows.

Basingstoke Festival co-ordinator Julia Tymukas said: “Top Hat is an exciting new feature of the Basingstoke Festival, and will bring a whole new level of street-based shows to a wide audience.

“It’s an opportunity to open up the festival to talented people who would not otherwise get a chance to be part of the programme, and bring sound and spectacle to all corners of the town centre over the course of the weekend.”

Performers wishing to take part in the festival are asked to register online at basingstokefestival.co.uk until June 13.