Camden Council looks set to introduce new controls on buskers in the area, with a pay-to-play licence scheme, and severe penalties of up to £1000 and even instrument seizure and sale.
Busker and campaigner, Jonny Walker, (http://keepstreetslive.com) has been working with comedy activist Mark Thomas (100 Acts of Minor Dissent), and after forming the Citizens’ Kazoo Orchestra, they introduced an array of celebrity buskers in Camden High Street on 24th Oct 2013.
The line-up featured comedian/musician Bill Bailey, protest-singer Billy Bragg, and virtuoso guitarist Jon Gomm, and was compered by Mark Thomas. Jonny Walker explained the Labour Council proposals, spoke movingly of his own experiences as a busker, the connection to the homeless and the disadvantage, and the subterfuge of Camden Council (who tried to prevent him addressing their Cabinet meeting, and failed to respond to Freedom of Information requests.
A BBC film crew was in attendance, and Mark and Jonny managed to hijack their interview with Councillor Abdul Hai. After repeatedly being asked, he eventually and reluctantly agreed to meet with them before the next Council meeting.
This short video tries to capture the spirit of that day, which was blessed by Indian Summer-like weather.
For a full write-up and some photos, see https://indyrikki.wordpress.com/2013/10/24/camden-council-on-the-run-over-draconian-anti-busking-laws/