Press: The Guardian Captures Part Of The Story

Press: The Guardian Captures Part Of The Story

The Guardian, By Harriet Webster, 13 November 2013

As of February, any person busking in the north London borough will require a £19 annual licence, following the Labour authority’s decision. The new restrictions come after a reported 100 noise complaints in the past year by local residents, who took issue with the use of amplifiers and drums. As well as implementing a fine, officials could confiscate instruments. In addition, a new curfew will permit buskers to only perform between 10am and 9pm.

Comedians Mark Thomas and Bill Bailey and musician Billy Bragg took to the streets last month to protest the proposal. The trio, who were joined by singer-songwriter Jon Gomm, met with campaigners on Camden High Street and performed songs including California Dreamin’ by the Mamas and the Papas, along with versions of The Imperial Death March from Star Wars, and Jerusalem on the kazoo – an instrument protesters say Camden council wants to ban.

Bragg, who spent his early career busking around London, said the licensing plans would hurt a fundamental aspect of UK culture. “It’s the central part of not only the British spirit but the human spirit to keep the streets open for people to go out and give things a go,” he said during the protest. “That’s what busking is about – it’s like the people’s X Factor. It would be terrible if Camden ended up becoming another dull and dead backwater place because of this.”

While the busking rules are a first for Camden, Liverpool city council has in the past attempted to implement similar legislation. In 2012, protesters successfully secured a high court injunction that forced the council to review its policy.

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

2 Comments on "Press: The Guardian Captures Part Of The Story"

  • I am a busker with my band Phat Bollard.Already the PSO`s of Plymouth are stopping all amplification in the streets and stopping live free music .Help .

  • Tom says

    I made this before
    I am tempted to use an amplifier I have been singing busking
    Got 35 years
    In trains boats street corners
    The trouble is the media controls entertainment and
    Makeovers people have to try and live up to perfection
    Which isn’t easy they don’t realize perfection is manufactured
    With lots of money and manipulation
    So I sign this petition for natural entertainment with real
    Tom clelland
    I have been threatened with my instrument being taken away
    Which doesn’t bode with carrying on
    But I love it so I will
    Yes let’s keep the amplifiers and respect those who have the
    Courage to stand out there and perform

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