Don't Ban The Buskers
This blog post is a response to the article featured in the evening standard please click here
Sometime back in 2019, I was walking hand in hand with my daughter along Oxford Street, me trying to window shop and my daughter trying to get me to really shop.
As we walked along, we heard the most amazing voice, singing such a soulful and heartfelt melody as if lost in her own world, that we had to take the time to just listen and really appreciate the music she produced; it was like we and a few others alongside us were being given our own concert experience right there on Oxford Street.
Before we left I asked my daughter to collect her contact details and by August, the same busker performed as a paid performer at my event Red Light Busking.
Without a doubt if she hadn't been busking that day, then I would not have come across her and given her the opportunity as a paid performer to amaze even more crowds.
Limiting the amount of buskers in West London means that in essence you're limiting the cultural experience; not just for Londoners, but tourists who come to experience the real culture of London. Music has and will continue to be the one thing that connects all groups regardless of background or experience.
The Mayor of London in recent policies has seen the significance in both the cultural and creative sector; where as quoted he has said that
“We’re lucky that we live in one of the most culturally rich cities on the planet, with our creative industries playing a key role in our economic success, but sadly too many Londoners are still missing out. That’s why I’m working hard to expand access to culture into every corner of our city.”
With this as a steer, rather than banning buskers from being able to perform, there should instead be organisations who manage the various busking spots so that Londoners can be introduced to high quality buskers who have been curated in a fashion similar to museum exhibitions. For the buskers who need a little more work, workshops in the form of training and studio sessions can be accessible for them to use.
This is the method we have at 4TY for making sure the buskers of our event Red Light Busking are always of a high quality and the results and satisfaction achieved, speak for themselves.
Each year, the artistic and creative industries contribute £47bn to London’s economy and account for one in six jobs in the capital. Historically, buskers are a beloved part of London's cultural experience, to give up on buskers is to give up on our uniquely innovative and cultural industry.