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Camden Council criminalise Busking

breezy 15 Nov 13 - 10:30 AM
GUEST 15 Nov 13 - 10:52 AM
IanC 15 Nov 13 - 11:40 AM
breezy 15 Nov 13 - 03:32 PM
Richard Bridge 16 Nov 13 - 07:46 AM
GUEST,FloraG 16 Nov 13 - 10:34 AM
GUEST,Jack Campin 16 Nov 13 - 11:12 AM
Mo the caller 16 Nov 13 - 11:48 AM
MGM·Lion 16 Nov 13 - 04:09 PM
GUEST,Ed 16 Nov 13 - 04:50 PM
GUEST,pete from seven stars link 16 Nov 13 - 05:37 PM
GUEST,FloraG 17 Nov 13 - 04:10 AM
Bonnie Shaljean 17 Nov 13 - 07:27 AM
Richard Mellish 17 Nov 13 - 01:42 PM
GUEST,Downtown 17 Nov 13 - 03:21 PM
Andrez 18 Nov 13 - 03:35 AM
GUEST,davemc 18 Nov 13 - 08:35 AM
Jack Campin 18 Nov 13 - 10:34 AM
Bonnie Shaljean 18 Nov 13 - 12:34 PM
Bonnie Shaljean 18 Nov 13 - 12:41 PM
GUEST,Reynard 19 Nov 13 - 06:20 AM
Richard Bridge 19 Nov 13 - 06:50 AM
Bonnie Shaljean 19 Nov 13 - 08:08 AM
Jack Blandiver 19 Nov 13 - 08:51 AM
Bonnie Shaljean 19 Nov 13 - 09:11 AM
Howard Jones 20 Nov 13 - 08:18 AM
Mr Happy 20 Nov 13 - 08:33 AM
Bonnie Shaljean 20 Nov 13 - 09:28 AM
GUEST 20 Nov 13 - 11:39 AM
GUEST,FloraG 21 Nov 13 - 04:03 AM
breezy 21 Nov 13 - 05:16 AM
GUEST 23 Nov 13 - 10:12 AM
Bonnie Shaljean 23 Nov 13 - 10:26 AM
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Subject: Camden Council criminalise Busking
From: breezy
Date: 15 Nov 13 - 10:30 AM

As its says

Camden Council in North London , England have passed a law where

a person busking in a public place without a licence, which would be expensive in the least would face a

£1000 fine

seizure of instruments until fine paid, - not that you'ld get much for a kazoo

From February 210

Even Billy Bragg and Bill Bailey opposed this extreme move


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Subject: RE: Camden Council criminalise Busking
From: GUEST
Date: 15 Nov 13 - 10:52 AM

http://www.nme.com/news/various-artists/73833


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Subject: RE: Camden Council criminalise Busking
From: IanC
Date: 15 Nov 13 - 11:40 AM

Interesting. Under the 2012 Live Music Act, it is made clear that Busking is not licensable.

Government guidance is that Local Councils should not pass bye-laws about things which are already covered by national legislation.

I would have though that being clearly and unambiguously exempted is well and truly covered.

The best advice appears to be to keep on busking and challenge them when they come for you. Confiscation is theft if not done within a legal framework and imprisonment is false imprisonment.

:-)


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Subject: RE: Camden Council criminalise Busking
From: breezy
Date: 15 Nov 13 - 03:32 PM

On November 11th Labour-Led Camden Council passed a resolution which criminalised the playing of music in ANY public space in the borough without first obtaining a licence from February onwards. Under this contentious piece of legislation playing a guitar in the street for fun, even without any container for donations, has become a criminal offence punishable by a £1000 fine, the seizure of instruments in the streets by force, and the sale of those instruments to pay the fine after 28 days.

Joined by representatives from the Musician's Union and many others who shared our concerns I presented this petition to the Council, now signed by over 4600 people, calling on them to abandon their policy and to come up with a fair alternative. This is a video of the speech I made: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KNoGC9fXKik&feature=youtu.be
Many of us were thrown into political confusion as Tory and Lid Dem councillors rose one by one to condemn the new busking laws, whilst Labour Councillors voted them through in a vote split along party lines 26-17. For many activists, it was the first time they had cheered and clapped as a Tory politician rose to speak: http://vimeo.com/79198725

We are very disappointed that Camden Council have approved this coercive policy but equally determined to carry on the campaign of constructive opposition to their plans. We are advising buskers and musicians NOT to sign up to the new licenses, and instead to join us in our campaign of peaceful non-compliance and musical protests.
On Tuesday 26th of November we will be on Camden High Street outside HSBC for a day of action in London, informing musicians and street performers across the capital about Camden's new plans, and inviting them to a meeting where we will outline concrete steps to creatively oppose the criminalisation of public music making and where we can build community across all of those who share an interest in keeping public space to informal performances of art and music.

This is a link to the Facebook event for Tuesday 26th: https://www.facebook.com/events/581319381921504
and a link to the online group for regular updates about the campaign
https://www.facebook.com/groups/keepstreetslivecamden/

Thank you for signing the petition and supporting us. If you would like to get involved in anyway we'd love to hear from you, we are going to need lots of help in the months ahead as we campaign to overturn this damaging new law.
Here are a couple of links to articles that have been published about the campaign so far:
http://www.camdennewjournal.com/news/2013/nov/lead-us-away-handcuffs-say-buskers-pledging-non-violent-resistance-camdens-new-licence
http://www.theguardian.com/music/2013/nov/13/billy-bragg-protest-license-camden-buskers-noise-pollution-fine
http://www.hamhigh.co.uk/news/new_busking_licence_laws_in_camden_are_a_breach_of_human_rights_claim_protesters_1_3001199
Yours,
Jonny Walker
Founding Director of ASAP! (Association of Street Artists and Performers)
http://keepstreetslive.com
http://streetslive.org


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Subject: RE: Camden Council criminalise Busking
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 16 Nov 13 - 07:46 AM

I would have thought they could do the world a favour by banning amplifiers and maybe drums


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Subject: RE: Camden Council criminalise Busking
From: GUEST,FloraG
Date: 16 Nov 13 - 10:34 AM

Breezy - its the anniversary year of the mass trespass on Kinder Scout. What about a mass busk? Is it busking if you don't collect money - just play - all accoustic?
FloraG


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Subject: RE: Camden Council criminalise Busking
From: GUEST,Jack Campin
Date: 16 Nov 13 - 11:12 AM

Isn't C# House in Camden? Seems like a natural rallying point.

Do the Salvation army intend to pay the bribe?

How about a mass whistle-in?


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Subject: RE: Camden Council criminalise Busking
From: Mo the caller
Date: 16 Nov 13 - 11:48 AM

Yes. A sing-along or whostle, they can't confisctate your voice or lips.


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Subject: RE: Camden Council criminalise Busking
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 16 Nov 13 - 04:09 PM

FloraG ~~ ????

Not clear what you mean: every year is an 'anniversary year', isn't it?

The how-many'th anniversary do you mean?

~M~


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Subject: RE: Camden Council criminalise Busking
From: GUEST,Ed
Date: 16 Nov 13 - 04:50 PM

Indeed, MtheMG.

The trespass took place in 1932 so this year was the 81st anniversary. I can't see any particular significance in that?


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Subject: RE: Camden Council criminalise Busking
From: GUEST,pete from seven stars link
Date: 16 Nov 13 - 05:37 PM

so you cant play guitar on the street but cars pumping out bas n drum seems to be allowable! mad world!.


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Subject: RE: Camden Council criminalise Busking
From: GUEST,FloraG
Date: 17 Nov 13 - 04:10 AM

Ed - sorry if I got the dates wrong - but the principle is the same.
FloraG


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Subject: RE: Camden Council criminalise Busking
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 17 Nov 13 - 07:27 AM

PATHETIC what some institutions will do for money. That sure ain't the same Camden Council I worked under as a housing officer back in the 80s. Hate to think what Cecil Sharp would have made of it.

The mass protest gathering sure appeals - wish I weren't so far away these days.


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Subject: RE: Camden Council criminalise Busking
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 17 Nov 13 - 01:42 PM

GUEST,pete from seven stars link
said
> so you cant play guitar on the street but cars pumping out bas n drum seems to be allowable! mad world!. <

Interesting point! Might the car noise actually be caught by the new law? If so, the Council could be asked how they intend to enforce that.

Richard


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Subject: RE: Camden Council criminalise Busking
From: GUEST,Downtown
Date: 17 Nov 13 - 03:21 PM

You can actually be fined for having car music too loud, it has happened.

A large part of the problem is the arms race in amplifier sizes. There's hearing clearly at close quarters and being able to hear clearly two hundred yards away. There's an act I can think of that uses a generator driven PA and another that uses two 500 watt powered speakers. A full drum kit can be heard at a quarter of a mile! Such buskers effectively kill a wide area of a town centre for other, quieter buskers.

How far away is it reasonable for an act to be heard clearly?


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Subject: RE: Camden Council criminalise Busking
From: Andrez
Date: 18 Nov 13 - 03:35 AM

Just wondering, are the Camden buskers that bad?

Cheers,

Andrez


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Subject: RE: Camden Council criminalise Busking
From: GUEST,davemc
Date: 18 Nov 13 - 08:35 AM

Typical Labour politicians. Want to licence everything. Only they decide what the plebs can do. Charge you for breathing if they could.


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Subject: RE: Camden Council criminalise Busking
From: Jack Campin
Date: 18 Nov 13 - 10:34 AM

There is presumably something behind this - whose idea was it? Whose interests does the ban serve?

What will happen if somebody names names and identifies exactly which trough their snout is in?


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Subject: RE: Camden Council criminalise Busking
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 18 Nov 13 - 12:34 PM

Presumably fleecing the buskers (who, as we all know, are LOADED - not like the poor little bankers who have to struggle by on their bonuses) will fatten the council coffers.

I do think naming names (preferably with photos) is a great idea. But how to find those who actually empowered this policy? There are an awful lot of innocent worker-drones connected to the council who don't have any authority - voice of experience on that one! Have to make sure the right parties are pinpointed, and not just some Joe Sap jobsworth who can't risk getting fired or alienating bosses and has no way to protect him/herself. Remember the old saying, "Shit rolls downhill".

But I share Jack's questions. We ought to have some answers.

Confiscating instruments? A thousand quid?????


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Subject: RE: Camden Council criminalise Busking
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 18 Nov 13 - 12:41 PM

If somebody does get hit with this draconian punishment, we can at least make sure the news goes viral (AFTER rigorous fact-checking, of course, to avoid any exaggeration or inaccuracies, the scourge of the internet).

But I'd sure like to know if Camden are really prepared to DO this. Fear of embarrassment may turn out to be the most effective weapon.


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Subject: RE: Camden Council criminalise Busking
From: GUEST,Reynard
Date: 19 Nov 13 - 06:20 AM

This is a inevitable result of the conflict between the gentrification of this area (this is now a very expensive part of London to live in); and the areas traditional "bohemian" image, even though that now seems to be largely a commodified tourist attraction.

I think that the rise of the amplified busker has probably also been a factor, and to be honest I think there do need to be some restriction on this. Sometimes there is what amounts to a full amplified band, with a drummer playing near the tube station that can be heard a considerable distance away. Unfortunately I think this has led to a sort of speaker arms race among buskers so that amplification becomes the norm, and also led to quieter buskers also being tarred with the same brush.


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Subject: RE: Camden Council criminalise Busking
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 19 Nov 13 - 06:50 AM

Agreed with Reynard


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Subject: RE: Camden Council criminalise Busking
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 19 Nov 13 - 08:08 AM

Very good points, bold Reynard. I pretty much worked for and in that "other" Camden, though it was in the process of demographic change even then. Our properties (a housing co-operative) were rented, plus a few short-term licences to students and the like. A lot of our tenants had been refugees from the Nazis - and some fascinating stories they could tell too, a few worthy of Spielberg. But those folks were old then, and they'll pretty much have died off by now. AND I can remember many of those big elegant houses being vacant and full of squatters. (Friend of mine lived in one: he had running water, plus nicer digs than the place I paid rent for.) Fat chance now.

But surely it's easy enough for Camden to simply outlaw amplified busking (which I have mixed feelings about too) and allow - or at least turn a deaf ear to - fully acoustic instruments & singing.

I think that, according to some centuries-old law which has never been repealed (Richard would know), street performers are categorised in the same class as beggars, so the authorities can punish them for... I dunno... existing. (Remember all those joke old-fashioned signs you see in pubs and on teatowels, listing all the assorted riff-raff who weren't allowed inside in days of yore?) I seem to recall in my busking years hearing on the muso-grapevine that you were officially considered to be begging if you had a bag or container solely dedicated to the purpose of collecting money, but if you just happened to leave your instrument case open, or your hat lying upwards on the ground... (which of course may have been a wishful urban myth). I was always careful to do this, but still got kicked out of the tube stations all the time. But at least they were nice about it, or anyway not nasty (maybe it was the harp, a rather unusual sight in those days). And I was certainly never fined. Just evicted, often with an apologetic smile.

I s'pose the posh house owners of today don't want any scruffy musicians littering up the place. But they'll all troop to Camden Market to buy their organic balsamic vinegar and soak up the artistic vibe. (Minus any music, I guess. Unless it's inside and costs them to hear it.)

Cue Joni singing about the man who played real good for free...


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Subject: RE: Camden Council criminalise Busking
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 19 Nov 13 - 08:51 AM

Gah! Criminalising busking in Camden is like Powys County Council burning books in Hay-on-Wye!


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Subject: RE: Camden Council criminalise Busking
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 19 Nov 13 - 09:11 AM

....ssshhhhh...... don't give them any ideas...


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Subject: RE: Camden Council criminalise Busking
From: Howard Jones
Date: 20 Nov 13 - 08:18 AM

I have mixed feelings about this. The musician and occasional busker in me objects on principle. On the other hand I wouldn't want to have someone playing music (however pleasant and tasteful) for hours on end outside my house or workplace.

Buskers can make a positive contribution to the ambience of an area, but they can also be a bloody nuisance. Amplification is certainly a problem, but acoustic bands can also be loud. I frequently see a brass jazz trio plus accordion and snare drum and they're pretty loud. As for bagpipes...


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Subject: RE: Camden Council criminalise Busking
From: Mr Happy
Date: 20 Nov 13 - 08:33 AM

From Camden's own website, Latest news!!

Licensing street performers


Date:   18-Nov-2013

Camden's full council has approved plans to licence street entertainment across the borough.

The move comes after an increased number of noise complaints from residents about the use of amplified musical equipment and percussion instruments by street entertainers, particularly buskers, close to residential areas.

The new policy does not seek to prevent busking but applies 'light touch regulation' which will limit the use of these types of equipment and instruments, striking a balance between the right of residents to peace and quiet and those wishing to use public spaces to perform.

Where street entertainers wish to include music or the use of amplifiers in their performance, one of two busking licences will be required.

A 'standard' busking licence, costing just £19, permits performances between the hours of 10am - 9pm.

Where a performer wishes to amend the conditions of a standard busking licence, such as using amplified equipment, then a 'special' busking licence costing £47 is required.

Licences are valid for a 12 month period in most circumstances.

We consulted widely on the proposed introduction of the draft policy between 30 August and 4 October 2013. Results were then considered and used to shape the final policy.

Following full council approval, a Statutory Notice will now be published, providing a three-month notice period of the Council's intention to introduce these new powers, prior to implementation.


http://www.camden.gov.uk/ccm/content/news/2013/november-2013/licensing-street-performers.en;jsessionid=82A4F43137ABE95FB0288F86C

********


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Subject: RE: Camden Council criminalise Busking
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 20 Nov 13 - 09:28 AM

Well, that's a lot better - but doesn't get around the amplification/acoustic-noise levels. Have to admit, when I posted above I was thinking of harps/guitars/flutes/fiddles/voice etc. I can see where things like drumkits would be a problem. If that were outside my window it would drive me crazy. (And the residents do pay rates...)

But I don't think just charging extra money is going to solve this. They also need to specify certain areas where loud instruments can't go, and maybe do a db-level check or something, which I suppose means everyone playing for them, which would require additional admin - probably not practicable. Or, as Richard suggests, banning amplifiers, drums (apart from bongos & bodhrans) and certain instruments & sizes of ensembles??

No easy answer to that one - I'd be torn too, if I had to make the firm policy decision. But an additional fee is simply not enough of a solution.

Still, it's quite a turnaround. Thanks for the update, Mr. H.


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Subject: RE: Camden Council criminalise Busking
From: GUEST
Date: 20 Nov 13 - 11:39 AM

Years ago I lived opposite a ten floor apartment building. On occasion some individuals would turn up their sound systems and make noise at midnight, etc. I did once yell across asking if they'd turn the volume down. Some clown turned it up.

On that occasion I took an old Marshall amp, full reverb, every dial as high as it could go. Plugged in the guitar after setting it on full treble and volume, played a few bars of a bad rock song, much like the Dr Hook solo in Cover of the Rolling Stone. Many apartment lights went on that morning near three AM. After that they were much more accommodating.

Don't get mad, get even!


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Subject: RE: Camden Council criminalise Busking
From: GUEST,FloraG
Date: 21 Nov 13 - 04:03 AM

That sounds a bit better from Camden. Perhaps we could have a sound limit that measures decibels and also distance. Some instruments are not always loud but carry.
Now lets work on getting call centres doing the unsolicited banned.
FloraG.


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Subject: RE: Camden Council criminalise Busking
From: breezy
Date: 21 Nov 13 - 05:16 AM

any thoughts on amplification v#s sound reinforcement which helps with acoustic guitar playing

Your thoughts please

thank you Mr Happy for your latest 'heads-up'


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Subject: RE: Camden Council criminalise Busking
From: GUEST
Date: 23 Nov 13 - 10:12 AM

Has anyone signed the online petition to stop this crazy thing and give it a re-do?
A new article on streetiam dot com talks about it. http://www.streetiam.com


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Subject: RE: Camden Council criminalise Busking
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 23 Nov 13 - 10:26 AM

Great link, Guest, thanks. Clickie:

http://streetiam.com/

I see there are also a couple of articles on that site dealing with Dublin bye-laws, in case any Irish musos are interested.


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