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breezy Camden Council criminalise Busking (33) RE: Camden Council criminalise Busking 15 Nov 13


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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