“Busking It”. Manchester.

“Busking It”. Manchester.

The Manchester Busking Convention organised by Keep Streets Live and the Musicians’ Union is the first event of it’s type in the UK.

It is aimed not only at buskers of all levels of experience and those those who might be considering busking, but also at policy-makers and those with an interest in how street performance fits in the general urban environment.

Through a series of interactive workshops on the day we will be exploring the history of the relationship between the MU and KSL, and how we have worked together to protect performers and establish positive approaches to busking in a number of Council areas across Northern England.

There will be an extensive Q&A session on busking and the law where we can tell you everything you need to know about your rights (and responsibilities) as a street performer.

We’ll also be looking at how busking works as part of a wider musical career (facilitating travel, honing your act and generating interest via social media platforms), and examining some of the options available to us in an increasingly cashless society.

In addition to this we will be giving advice on setting up your equipment, getting good sound and minimising disruption to others when you perform in public spaces.

BOOK HERE

Thank you London!!

Thank you London!!

After an amazing 3-day Buskers’ Pow-Wow on the canal we’d like to extend a massive thank you to everyone who attended, but especially Eric Ellman of Bards on Boats and the Union Tavern for hosting us. A big hand too for Sam Jordan from the Musicians’ Union who joined us for the Know Your Rights workshop, and Julia Gregory (Local Democracy Reporter) who joined us on Tuesday afternoon and wrote this article.

We set out to protest the Kensington & Chelsea busking bans but I feel here we now have the bones of a London-wide grassroots performers group, which will be able to take a more co-ordinated and holistic approach to busking across the capital rather than seeing pitches and issues in isolation. If this is something which you’d like to be part of please check out the Keep Streets Live in London Facebook group.

As you’ve all been so awesome we’d love to help you out so we’ve added a few of your tracks to our Spotify playlist and if you’ve got any photos/video from the event use the hashtags #KeepStreetsLive #SayNo2PSPO and #BuskersPowWow to make sure we can find them to like/share etc. Alternatively you can send by email to contact@keepstreetslive.com

We’re currently looking at the possibility of another canal-based London event later in the year, and certainly another full day of busking workshops in Manchester in early-November. If you’d like us to do something in your local area please let us know.

If you missed our workshops or would like to re-cap you can find the livestreams here:

Know Your Rights. Tech For Artists part 1. Tech For Artists part 2.

David Fisher being interviewed outside Harrods.
Tech For Artists workshop with GigRide, The Hat App and Charlotte Campbell.

Lauren Collins– Fresh on the London busking scene from New Zealand.
Cap’n Eric
Acoustic punk from the Leyton Cat Lady.
Hobo World Folk from Pandoras Diary– Sara and Maya
Busking debut for Street Music researcher Lizzie Bennett.
Melissa Otero treating us to some Latin grooves.
A special medal for street magician Nathan Earl for making all 3 days!
South London troubadour Patti Paige.
Know Your Rights!! Workshop with Keep Streets Live and the Musicians’ Union

Buskers Launch Performers’ Association

“Busking, public performance for the entertainment and spare coins of passers-by, “may be the world’s second oldest profession,” muses David Fisher, a recording artist, busker and spokesperson for Keep Streets Live, an organisation which protects Britains’s rich legacy of spontaneous open air music and art.

An emerging cashless economy, however, and Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs), such as the one passed last month by the Borough of Kensington and Chelsea which bans or restricts busking over much of Portobello Road and other prime busking locations, threaten a tradition that is documented as far back as Roman times.

Against this backdrop, Keep Streets Live is organising a 3-day street performers’ pow-wow, August 27-29, designed by and for artists, and open to the general public.” -Eric Ellman of Bards on Boats.

Day 1 we’ll be opening the event at midday outside South Kensington tube with a protest busk to raise awareness of the issues. We have a diverse range of performers for you to enjoy including magic from Nathan Earl.

Around 3pm we’ll be moving on to the Union Tavern for our first Buskers’ PowWow which will be a mixture of discussions and entertainment featuring street performers from Kensington & Chelsea, Westminster and further afield.

Day 2 @ the Union Tavern – talk show format with panel discussions and performances.

Know Your Rights. Legal advice, campaigning and civil disobedience. Union Tavern, Westbourne Park. Weds 28th Aug. 3pm. Liberty/KeepStreets Live/Musicians Union.

Followed by ‘sultry, swinging world folk’ from Pandora’s Diary at 4.30pm, and punk covers courtesy of the Leyton Cat Lady at 6pm.

‘Chester’ live at Ophelia’s. Weds 28th Aug. 8.30-10.30pm. At Ophelia’s Cocktail Lounge. Nearest Tube Barbican. Indie/Folk/Americana. Door money to Keep Streets Live.

Day 3 Tech For Artists. Apps and online platforms. Holden House, 57 Rathbone Place , Tottenham Court Road tube. Thurs 29th Aug. 1pm. The Hat App/Gigride/Charlotte Campbell.

Workshops will be free (voluntary donations to Keep Streets Live welcome).

Thanks to Portobello Brewing Company for providing refreshments on our pre-launch Canal Cruise on Sun 25th August, Dave Holmes and James Dylan Thomson for their music, and James and Esther for sign making!

The Molly Anna- our event HQ moored outside the Union Tavern

We are currently looking for more people to be involved in this project in any capacity; musicians, speakers, community groups, art lovers. In fact anyone who has an interest in protecting access to our public spaces, and ensuring they retain their vibrancy. Please email contact@keepstreetslive.com

Kensington & Chelsea is a divided borough with a rich cultural heritage that is increasingly under threat. When beautiful moments like the one at the top of this post are designated as ‘antisocial and criminal’ we have to stand up and be counted. The Council should be supporting and encouraging their buskers rather than marginalising them and pushing them out. In these times of austerity they should be grateful for what we add to the borough. At no cost to the authorities or taxpayer we provide quality art that is accessible to all regardless of income or circumstance.

#SayNo2PSPO and #KeepStreetsLive