We’ll be examining the council’s decision to regulate street entertainers in more detail this week. But, ahead of that, there’s a mass communal busk to celebrate Liverpool’s thriving street culture, tomorrow (Monday 9 July) between 12 and 3 on Church Street.

The event will start outside Primark – come down, with your instrument of choice if you like, and join them in a communal, peaceful and joyful celebration.

Liverpool City Council, in case you didn’t know, is bringing in a restrictive new policy limiting street performance only to those who’ve signed up to an official vetting procedure. There are, as you’d imagine, arguments on both sides of the pan pipe fence.

And we’re fans of some street entertainers more than others. But we’re unequivocally against legislating away a man in white sheet, or a dancing teddy bear. As our city centres get ever more hermetically sealed, the random acts of street performers are, perhaps, our last stand against creeping clone-townism. But, oh, can you guess which side Cllr Munby falls.

Funphobic? Who?

According to Ged Gibbons, CEO of the Business Improvement District, the new measures will: ‘Greatly enhance Liverpool’s ability to attract the very best buskers and will add a new dimension to the visitors experience…Buskers themselves will benefit from a better regulated process…retailers and shoppers will be delighted the city has finally made this leap.”

If you want to show your support for Liverpool’s street culture, you can visit the Keep Streets Live campaign page here

Here is the facebook event page: See you there.

There’s a petition you can sign here, too

6 Responses to “Demo to save Buskers”

  1. James

    I think the council’s idea is a good one, and personally am glad they’re not just standing on the sidelines on this.

    As Liverpool has become more and more popular with visitors, it also becomes more popular with buskers who obviously stand to make a lot more cash from standing on one of our streets than they would in a small non-tourist town.

    By all means, let people cash in and ply their trade, but only if they bring something to the city instead of just leeching off our hard won tourist trade, and certainly not if they have the effect of damaging it. How fair is it any shop that has cack music blaring outside, both to the workers who have to work all day listening to it, and the effect it might have on reducing the number of people through their doors?

    Also, as a major tourist destination, it’s a serious business to manage the reputation of the city and ensure that people have a good experience when they walk the streets, so that they tell others.

    No, I think the only questions to be asked about this are to ensure that any license fee is fair and affordable (including perhaps a discounted fee for local musicians?), and to ensure that it is musical people who judges who gets a license.

  2. Ringo

    Hell yeah!

    I love to guy who plays Nino Rota’s Godfather theme on accordion, for instance… and this new law will make it harder for people like him. Instead, we’ll get lots of those LIPA buskers.

  3. Ringo

    PS: I totally disagree with James.

    Some buskers are better than others, but over the years my experience of going to town, shopping etc has never been spoiled by a bad busker.

    The few times when bad music spoiled my shopping experience, the music was being blasted from the shop’s own speakers…

    All this talk of “major tourist destination, serious business , manage the reputation, etc etc” just sounds like corporate speech to me. Buskers don’t spoil any reputation, but stupid laws might.

    Also, a great city is always about things more organic, random and natural than just things you can control and regulate all the time! it’s almost like the council is trying to design a “Liverpool Experience”, as artificial as walking in Tescos, with everything you hear and see meticulously planned.

    Leave the buskers alone!

    Everything Ged Gibbons said is nonsense.

  4. Visitors to our city come because of its reputation as a vibrant, creative city and this includes its reputation for music. A multitude of buskers offering different genres from different cultures is what is expected and the carnival atmosphere at the weekend and early evenings in Church Street presents the city as it should be.

    We do not need ‘uniformity’ or a reduction in numbers of performers.

    I don’t disagree per se with licensing busking, I just don’t feel the council have got this strategy right.

    I understand that it will be being reviewed in 3 months time, so lets all make sure we record the issues that arise in the next 3 months and push them through the appropriate channels.

    I agree with Ringo – music from a big neighbouring shop sometimes makes it impossible for us to speak to our customers

  5. I won’t name the Southern town, but last year I was one of several writers who were required by the local council to take out public liability insurance because we were reading from and discussing our work at their arts festival. We refused. They backed down. I wonder if the buskers should take that stand too. Good luck to them!

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