Monday, April 19News For London

Are London Street buskers being ‘criminalised’?

The streets of London are a stage to all aspiring musicians. However, with the recent introductory of busking licences in Camden a concern for the future of busking has emerged.

Street Musician. Photo: Aylin Kaya
Street Musician. Photo: Aylin Kaya

Isn’t it amazing how the streets of London curate symphonies with melodies, sounds and voices of different musicians?

For years London has been a hub for the live music scene. Famous artists such as Ed Sheeran and Robin Williams are amongst those who started off their careers as buskers. So, be aware, next time you walk past a busker. They may be the very next star.

However recently Camden council fined Beatboxer Fredy Garcia £1000 for busking without a license. Camden Town, well known for it’s musicality has been criticised for it’s controversial busking regulations.

Beatboxer Fredy Garcia. Photo: Aylin Kaya
Beatboxer Fredy Garcia. Photo: Aylin Kaya

Street musician Jonnie Walker, founder of the keep streets live campaign, believes that such regulations are restricting buskers. He is determined to stop the ‘criminalisation’ of street culture makers in London.

“Camden is the perfect example of a council that has gone out of it’s way to make life very very difficult for buskers. They’re using a specific power that’s only available to councils within London and that makes the classed a effectively a bylaw that makes it a criminal offence to busk without a licence in Camden.” He said 

“Licensing is a way for council to pretend that they are supporting busking whilst actually doing everything they can to make it very difficult for people to perform on the streets. I think the evidence is the collapse in the number of people that busk in London and the fact that even if you apply for a license it’s quite likely that you get rejected.” He added. 

Westminster World spoke to Beatboxer Fredy Garcia who was recently fined £1000 for busking in Camden Town without a licence. Also, we distinguished pitches where licenses are required, whilst finding out the views on the issue from other buskers. 


In a survey conducted by Westminster World we asked what you thought about buskers’.

Screen Shot 2016-03-25 at 21.50.59

Most people do listen to street buskers.

Screen Shot 2016-03-25 at 21.51.42


Screen Shot 2016-03-25 at 21.52.08

A high number of participants are against busking licences.


As Westminster World we took on a ‘Street busking challenge’ and took an insight into the lives of London street Buskers.




Photos: Aylin Kaya

Filmed: Aylin Kaya

Script/Voice over: Aylin Kaya

Sound/Edited: Marvin Nadalutti

Research: Aylin Kaya & Marvin Nadalutti

Subedited: Marvin Nadalutti