Evening Standard: Bill Bailey Warns Blitz On Buskers Wrecks Camden’s Music Rep

Evening Standard: Bill Bailey Warns Blitz On Buskers Wrecks Camden’s Music Rep

Published by the London Evening Standard by Anna Dubuis on 13th March 2014. Please note that there are many factual errors in this article in relation to the terms of the busking policy. These include: special licenses do not allow playing after 9pm and are required for anybody who wishes to use wind instruments, percussion or any amplification. There is no presumption that special licenses, once applied for, will be granted.

View the London Evening Standard article here.

Comedian Bill Bailey today warned that a clampdown on buskers in Camden risks wrecking the borough’s reputation for music.

Bailey spoke out after the council successfully defended a policy forcing street entertainers to buy licences against a High Court challenge. From March 24, busking without a licence will be a criminal offence enforced with fines of up to £1,000 and the power to seize instruments.

A standard licence will cost £19 a year, but musicians using amplifiers or playing after 9pm will have to pay £47 and have their request approved by the authority. The policy was drawn up following complaints from residents about late-night noise. Musician Bailey, 50, said: “Clamping down on this is a lessening of the soul of a city. It’s a very worrying precedent, we need to fight it.  I’ve been a busker in my time.

French visitors: the Jerry Khan Bangers performing in the borough (Nigel Howard)“When I first came to London the first performance I saw was a busker. I heard a fantastic saxophone player and then a brilliant string quartet and I thought, ‘Wow what an amazing city this is’. Busking is the last bit of freedom you can have in performance.”

Mrs Justice Patterson, sitting at the High Court, ruled Camden’s policy was “both necessary and a proportionate response”. The ruling is a blow for the Keeping Streets Live Campaign, which has been ordered to pay £7,500 costs. Busker Jonny Walker, 33, who led the campaign, pledged to take the case to the Court of Appeal, saying Camden’s musical heritage was under threat.

Lindçay Amanat of the Jerry Khan Bangers, visiting from Toulouse, said: “We came to Camden knowing its reputation for music. If they introduce a licence, I don’t think we will pay it and will go somewhere else.”

Maryam Eslamdoust, chairwoman of the licensing committee, said: “We had to adopt this regulation to address ongoing nuisance suffered by residents.”

This post was written by
Singer-Songwriter/Professional Street Performer/Campaigner/Wandering Minstrel

2 Comments on "Evening Standard: Bill Bailey Warns Blitz On Buskers Wrecks Camden’s Music Rep"

  • *The Solitary Reaper a Ballad by English Romantic Poet William Wordsworth. The poem functions to praise the beauty of music and its fluid expressive beauty the ‘spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings’ that Wordsworth identified at the heart of poetry

    The Solitary Reaper

    Behold her single in the field
    Yon solitary Highland lass!
    Reaping and singing by herself;
    Stop here, or gently pass!

    Alone she cuts and binds the grain,
    And sings a meloncholy strain;
    O listen! for the Vale profound
    Is overflowing with the sound

    No Nightingale did ever chaunt
    More welcome notes to weary bands
    Of Travellers in some shady haunt,
    Among Arabian sands;

    A voice so thrilling ne’er was heard
    In spring-time from the Cuckoo bird
    Breaking the silence of the seas,
    Among the farthest Hebrides

    Will no one tell me what shes sings?
    Perhaps the plaintive numbers flow
    For old, unhappy, far-off things
    And battles long ago;

    Or is it some more humble lay,
    Familiar matter of to-day?
    Some natural sorrow, loss or pain,
    That has been a maybe again?

    What’er the theme the Maiden sang
    As if her song could have no ending;
    I saw her singing at her work,
    And o’er the sickle bending;

    I listened, motionless and still;
    And as I mounted up the hill,
    The music in my heart I bore,
    Long after it was heard no more.

    (* Intro from Pearls of Wisdom )

  • The Solitary Reaper by English Romantic Poet William Wordsworth like all great poetry best heard spoken out loud. Check it out, the reading that is, by Pearls of Wisdom on You Tube.

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