Press: Celebrity Busk By Indymedia

PUBLISHED by Rikki at Indymedia on 28/10/13

CAMDEN CELEBRITY BUSK

Camden Council looks set to introduce new controls on buskers in the area, with a pay-to-play licence scheme, and severe penalties of up to £1000 and even instrument seizure and sale.
Busker and campaigner, Jonny Walker, (keepstreetslive.com) has been working with comedy activist Mark Thomas (100 Acts of Minor Dissent), and after forming the Citizens’ Kazoo Orchestra, they introduced an array of celebrity buskers in Camden High Street on 24th Oct 2013.

The line-up featured comedian/musician Bill Bailey, protest-singer Billy Bragg, and virtuoso guitarist Jon Gomm, and was compered by Mark Thomas. Jonny Walker explained the Labour Council proposals, spoke movingly of his own experiences as a busker, the connection to the homeless and the disadvantage, and the subterfuge of Camden Council (who tried to prevent him addressing their Cabinet meeting, and failed to respond to Freedom of Information requests.

A BBC film crew was in attendance, and Mark and Jonny managed to hijack their interview with Councillor Abdul Hai. After repeatedly being asked, he eventually and reluctantly agreed to meet with them before the next Council meeting.
This short video tries to capture the spirit of that day, which was blessed by Indian Summer-like weather.
There is also a written piece and some photos at my WordPress blog here

The Citizen’s Kazoo Orchestra’s Debut Protest

The Citizen’s Kazoo Orchestra’s Debut Protest

By Philippa Morgan Walker

On 14th October 2013 the pavement outside Camden Town tube station, where fleeting meetings usually occur, was the location for the Citizen’s Kazoo Orchestra’s debut public performance and peaceful protest against Camden Council’s draconian busking policy that would see all wind and percussion instruments banned. Instead of falling prey to such a ludicrous policy and standing idly by as Camden Council erected a wall of red tape around public space; musicians, comedians – Mark Thomas, Ben Van Der Velde, to name but a few – and those with social conscience hit the streets with instruments to send out a considered message to the council: DON’T TAKE THE MUSIC FROM OUR STREETS.

READ MORE ABOUT CAMDEN COUNCIL’S PROPOSED BUSKING POLICY and ASAP’s response

SIGN THE PETITION AGAINST THE POLICY

All photographs by Gavin Mills

Jonny Walker playing Here Comes The Sun, rather ironically, in the rain

Jonny Walker playing Here Comes The Sun, rather ironically, in the rain

The Citizen's Kazoo Orchestra tunefully played songs such as Star Wars Death March, All You Need Is Love and The Great Escape theme tune

The Citizen’s Kazoo Orchestra tunefully played songs such as Star Wars Death March, All You Need Is Love and The Great Escape theme tune

The Citizen's Kazoo Orchestra on the rainy streets of Camden, protesting against a draconian policy that would make playing wind instruments on the streets of Camden illegal

The Citizen’s Kazoo Orchestra on the rainy streets of Camden, protesting against a draconian policy that would make playing wind instruments on the streets of Camden illegal

Kazoos, voices, violins, morris dancers and trombones joined the throng of peaceful protesters

Kazoos, voices, violins, morris dancers and trombones joined the throng of peaceful protesters

Jonny Walker challenges Camden Council to rewrite a fair policy for buskers

Jonny Walker challenges Camden Council to rewrite a fair policy for buskers

ASAP's Jonny Walker in action

ASAP’s Jonny Walker in action

Camden Council propose to make morris dancing illegal on the streets of Camden, so ASAP invited...

Camden Council propose to make morris dancing illegal on the streets of Camden, so ASAP invited…

A morris dancer joins in the protest to Keep Streets Live in Camden

A morris dancer joins in the protest to Keep Streets Live in Camden

ASAP Director, Jonny Walker makes an effusive political speech about keeping public space open to creativity

ASAP Director, Jonny Walker makes an effusive political speech about keeping public space open to creativity

ASAP's Associate Director, Philippa Morgan Walker

ASAP’s Associate Director, Philippa Morgan Walker

Artists and musicians joined the peaceful protest and entertained crowds of smiling onlookers

Artists and musicians joined the peaceful protest and entertained crowds of smiling onlookers

Wind instruments would be illegal in the borough of Camden, if this legislation goes through...

Wind instruments would be illegal in the borough of Camden, if this legislation goes through…

The CKO performing the Star Wars Death March

The CKO performing the Star Wars Death March