A London council’s plan to fine street performers caught gigging in the wrong place has outraged the Musicians’ Union.
Busking is seen by many as a great way for emerging artists to earn their performing chops while bringing music and vibrancy to the streets at the same time.
But it seems not everyone views street performing it in such positive terms, with a petition supported by the Musicians’ Union (MU) claiming one major London council wants to ban it.
The fuss centres around the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea’s new draft Busking and Street Entertainment Policy which is currently out for consultation.
The council says its new plan will “balance” the interests of buskers, residents and local businesses and follows 1,136 complaints of anti-social busking last year.
The draft policy includes a busking code of conduct and – most controversially – a proposal to introduce two Public Spaces Protection Orders (PSPOs) covering areas with the highest levels of complaints.
PSPOs are typically used by authorities to deal with nuisance behaviour such as dangerous dogs and problem drinking. In this case a musician caught performing in a designated no-busking zone in breach of a PSPO could be hit with a fine of up to £1,000.
The MU’s stance
The MU describes this proposal as “punitive” with the potential “to curb this vital stream of revenue for musicians”. It is urging members to sign a petition opposing the plan.
The issue is particularly contentious because the borough is home to many locations popular with tourists, and therefore street performers, including Portobello Road, the South Kensington museum district and outside the shopping mecca Harrods.
The deadline for responding to the council’s consultation is 7 June. Read more HERE
To sign the petition CLICK HERE
For top tips on street performing CLICK HERE
For more advice about street performing and to read the Buskers’ Code CLICK HERE