What’s the problem?
Across the United Kingdom and beyond there is a growing trend towards the privitisation of public space and the use of ‘antisocial behaviour’ legislation to criminalise spontaneous offerings of art and music on the streets and in the public places of our towns and cities.
The Keep Streets Live Campaign was founded to protect access to public space for informal offerings of art and music and to safeguard spontaneity. We want to keep the realm of criminal law far away from street culture, but threats to civic freedoms are growing. From Camden to Oxford, from Bath to Birmingham we have seen local government drawing up plans to use sweeping powers such as ‘Public Space Protection Orders’ to make the simple act of singing songs and playing music on the streets a criminal offence.
What’s the solution?
Other cities such as York and Liverpool, both famous internationally for their vibrant and open culture, have bucked the trend and worked alongside buskers and the Musician’s Union to introduce busking guidance which safeguards spontaneity and allows issues to be dealt with in an amicable and constructive way.
We want to work alongside local government to help them find creative ways of overseeing busking which don’t involve turning musicians into criminals, but we need YOUR help to get this message across:
How can YOU get involved?
On July 5th we will be holding a unique, free one day event in Leeds, West Yorkshire aimed at buskers, street artists and performers, jugglers, musicians, poets, troubadours, activists…In fact, anyone at all who is concerned about the growing threat to freedoms in public space.
You can join the event here and invite friends along too:
You can register for your free ticket here:
We will be asking ourselves some questions.
What actions are we prepared to take to defend the freedoms of public space?
How can the power of art and music be harnessed to resist policies that stifle creativity and spontaneity?
How can buskers, street artists/performers and their supporters build community and best work together for public spaces that are open to the arts and informal street culture?
You don’t need to be an artist or performer to come; anyone who cares about safeguarding cultural freedoms in public space is a welcome participant.
What should we bring?
An open mind, a desire to get involved, your creativity and ideas, and your experiences of art and music in public spaces. There will be some opportunities to spontaneously share music, art, poetry during the day in between sharing and strategising, so feel free to bring your musical instruments/artistic materials along (if you have any!).
This day long event is open to anyone who wants our streets and public spaces to be open to the arts and other grassroots community uses.
As you would expect for a busking event, there is no fixed price for entrance but voluntary donations towards the cost of running the event will be gratefully accepted.
There are a limited number of places available so please click through the eventbrite link below and confirm your attendance:
The event will be facilitated by Mike Love from Together For Peace, a Leeds based community organisation that builds bridges between people from different cultures, communities and life experience.
Jonny Walker, founding director of the Keep Streets Live Campaign, will give a short overview of the current UK busking landscape.