Buskers in Camden must pay for licences to perform or face £1000 fines under new rules

Jonny Walker (centre), founder of the Association of Street Artists and Performers (ASAP!), leads a

Jonny Walker (centre), founder of the Association of Street Artists and Performers (ASAP!), leads a protest from buskers outside Camden Town Hall. Picture: Polly Hancock. - Credit: Archant

Anyone caught busking in Camden without a licence could be fined up to £1000 and have their instruments confiscated from next year, after the council approved controversial plans to regulate street entertainment across the borough.

There were dramatic scenes at Camden Town Hall last night as the Labour-run council voted to enforce strict rules on busking - including prohibiting the use of amplifiers and wind instruments - to the dismay of buskers who staged a protest outside the town hall before and after the full council meeting.

From February next year, anyone wishing to busk on the streets of Camden will need to apply for a licence, ranging from £19 to £47 a year, depending on the number of buskers and type of performance.

Camden Council, the only London local authority besides Hillingdon Council to have introduced such rules, claims the regulations are much-needed to tackle complaints of noise nuisance from residents living near to busking hotspots, such as Camden High Street, in Camden Town.

Protesters argue that noise is a problem confined to a small number of “bad apples” within the busking community and that the council’s approach is heavy-handed and will stifle Camden’s musical spirit.

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For full coverage of last night’s decision, see Thursday’s Ham&High.

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