Tuesday, August 16News For London

Is busking becoming a crime in London?

London’s busking culture might be at risk as musicians face new council legislation.

©MarvinNadalutti, Street Busker receives a warning from the Council.

Tighter regulations and a growing number of prosecutions are putting the future of busking in London at risk.

Camden council introduced new regulations in 2014, allowing fines of up to £1,000 and confiscation of equipment.

Beatboxer champion Fredy Beats, who found inspiration in Camden’s legendary music scene, was the first to be persecuted for busking without licence:

“We didn’t know it was that difficult to get the licence accepted, they have some restrictions 5w amplifiers or no amplifier sound when they say in their policies that they want to promote artists and musicians. They don’t even have a decibel metre to measure the actual noise.” He said.

In a statement Camden Councillor, Jonathan Simpson said:  “We are rightly proud of Camden’s worldwide reputation for music and its vibrant street atmosphere. We encourage street performers to play, but need to balance this with the needs of our local residents, who can experience excessive noise nuisance, particularly from those playing amplified music.”

Jonny Walker, the founding director of the Keep Streets Live campaign said: “licensing is a way for councils to pretend that they are supporting busking, whilst actually doing everything they can to make it difficult for people to perform on the street.”

While these regulations might mean a collapse in the number of buskers performing in Camden, there are still areas in the city where buskers can perform without a licence. An online map shows which areas are available .

Subedited by Kip Dudden

Research by Marvin Nadalutti & Aylin Kaya

Video Editing & Sound by Marvin Nadalutti

Filming by Aylin Kaya