Buskers’ delight as Tour de France ‘ban’ is lifted

York Press: Busker Jonny Walker Busker Jonny Walker

Buskers are claiming victory in their battle with council bosses over the right to perform in the streets of York during the Tour de France Weekend.

The musicians and street entertainers were furious after being told they would not be welcome on their normal city centre pitches on July 5-6 for health and safety reasons.

Bureucrats were worried that if a busker pulled a crowd it could interfere with the flow of thousands of visitors and create a hazard.

But the buskers hit back that if the council wanted to create a festival atmosphere banning buskers was a strange way to do it.

Debbie Bell, of the City Centre Management Team, originally wrote to buskers warning "busking in the city centre will be prohibited unless you are otherwise contacted and authorised to perform."

But following the row, she has written to buskers again, saying there may be slots available after all.

She wrote: "I am writing to advise you that busking in the city centre will form part of a wider event and if you plan to busk in York that weekend we advise that you contact the city centre office to inform them of your plans.

"You will then be given more information about the weekend and available space to perform."

Busker Jonny Walker, Founding Director of Keep Streets Live Campaign, said the mix-up underlined the need for clearer guidelines.

He said: 'I welcome York's decision to backtrack on their Tour De France busker ban.

"It is an obvious recognition of the year round contribution that street performers bring to the cultural life of the city the - without needing to be 'authorised', paid or otherwise invited in advance.

"A petition was signed by over 4000 people calling on York Council to develop a fair code of conduct for busking in the city that works for all sides.

"It is to be hoped that they respond as a matter of urgency in the light of this most recent misunderstanding."

York Council, which has denied there was a ban, said no one was available to comment immediately.

Comments (24)

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10:45am Sat 28 Jun 14

Old_Man says...

Johnny Walker represents himself and nobody else. He's not even from York. He just takes pitches that could be used by local (and better) street performers. Sick of seeing his face!
Johnny Walker represents himself and nobody else. He's not even from York. He just takes pitches that could be used by local (and better) street performers. Sick of seeing his face! Old_Man
  • Score: 6

12:37pm Sat 28 Jun 14

eeoodares says...

Old_Man wrote:
Johnny Walker represents himself and nobody else. He's not even from York. He just takes pitches that could be used by local (and better) street performers. Sick of seeing his face!
Hahaha, its a local City for local people! There are plenty of pitches, if the performers are poor, they will not earn.
[quote][p][bold]Old_Man[/bold] wrote: Johnny Walker represents himself and nobody else. He's not even from York. He just takes pitches that could be used by local (and better) street performers. Sick of seeing his face![/p][/quote]Hahaha, its a local City for local people! There are plenty of pitches, if the performers are poor, they will not earn. eeoodares
  • Score: 11

12:43pm Sat 28 Jun 14

imassey says...

Old_Man wrote:
Johnny Walker represents himself and nobody else. He's not even from York. He just takes pitches that could be used by local (and better) street performers. Sick of seeing his face!
Well said. Totally agree.
[quote][p][bold]Old_Man[/bold] wrote: Johnny Walker represents himself and nobody else. He's not even from York. He just takes pitches that could be used by local (and better) street performers. Sick of seeing his face![/p][/quote]Well said. Totally agree. imassey
  • Score: -10

1:31pm Sat 28 Jun 14

Acomblady says...

I personally am pleased that the many visitors to our city will be able to share in our vibrant street culture. Yes many of the regular street entertainers travel from city to city. We should be pleased we are able to attract such excellent performers. Experienced campaigners like Jonny Walker are needed when our council make some of their bizarre decisions like discouraging street entertainers on a busy carnival weekend.
I personally am pleased that the many visitors to our city will be able to share in our vibrant street culture. Yes many of the regular street entertainers travel from city to city. We should be pleased we are able to attract such excellent performers. Experienced campaigners like Jonny Walker are needed when our council make some of their bizarre decisions like discouraging street entertainers on a busy carnival weekend. Acomblady
  • Score: 21

2:07pm Sat 28 Jun 14

JonnyWalker says...

Busking is about a democratic encounter between art
Busking is about a democratic encounter between art JonnyWalker
  • Score: -7

2:32pm Sat 28 Jun 14

JonnyWalker says...

Busking is about a democratic encounter between artist and audience in shared public space. It has always relied on informal access to public space and many performers travel from place to place playing in many different towns and cities over the course of a year.

Part of what makes York such a wonderful city is the interplay and symbiotic relationship between those who live in the city all year, and those who come here as visitors, students and tourists. A lively and open busking scene is what you would expect in a modern outward facing city.

I find it frankly ludicrous that the council should grant preferential treatment to a small group of 'York' buskers. What does this even mean? Buskers born within the city walls, or those who have lived in York for a sufficient period of time to qualify?
To see just how ludicrous this position is imagine if Edinburgh put out a letter saying that only street performers from Edinburgh would be welcome during the festival and only by prior invitation. It would be a disastrous farce and the exact opposite of the dynamic and vibrant cultural landscape that both York and Edinburgh boast.

York Council got themselves in a pickle because they played favourites and excluded performers on a completely arbitrary basis from the streets of the city. They are also paying outside agencies to provide street entertainment for the Tour de France (I wonder if these entertainers were all vetted to see if they were York based, I doubt it). Certain members of a busking association that was said to be working with the council on arrangements for the Tour De France were actually being paid by the council to provide performers for the streets. Hardly a position of independent or transparency. And it wasn't just performers from out of York who were to be excluded but all those FROM York unless they had been invited.

I'm glad they've reconsidered their position and I hope that the wonderful city of York enjoys a magical and successful Tour De France, and, more importantly, that the council will open up a dialogue with the wider street performing community so we can begin to work together more constructively.
Busking is about a democratic encounter between artist and audience in shared public space. It has always relied on informal access to public space and many performers travel from place to place playing in many different towns and cities over the course of a year. Part of what makes York such a wonderful city is the interplay and symbiotic relationship between those who live in the city all year, and those who come here as visitors, students and tourists. A lively and open busking scene is what you would expect in a modern outward facing city. I find it frankly ludicrous that the council should grant preferential treatment to a small group of 'York' buskers. What does this even mean? Buskers born within the city walls, or those who have lived in York for a sufficient period of time to qualify? To see just how ludicrous this position is imagine if Edinburgh put out a letter saying that only street performers from Edinburgh would be welcome during the festival and only by prior invitation. It would be a disastrous farce and the exact opposite of the dynamic and vibrant cultural landscape that both York and Edinburgh boast. York Council got themselves in a pickle because they played favourites and excluded performers on a completely arbitrary basis from the streets of the city. They are also paying outside agencies to provide street entertainment for the Tour de France (I wonder if these entertainers were all vetted to see if they were York based, I doubt it). Certain members of a busking association that was said to be working with the council on arrangements for the Tour De France were actually being paid by the council to provide performers for the streets. Hardly a position of independent or transparency. And it wasn't just performers from out of York who were to be excluded but all those FROM York unless they had been invited. I'm glad they've reconsidered their position and I hope that the wonderful city of York enjoys a magical and successful Tour De France, and, more importantly, that the council will open up a dialogue with the wider street performing community so we can begin to work together more constructively. JonnyWalker
  • Score: 18

5:00pm Sat 28 Jun 14

Chesteronthestreet says...

So Jonny Walker is not even from York. Neither is the Tour de France. What a ridiculous argument!! I suspect most of the 'local' street performers you mention are not actually from York either. In case you hadn't realised the lifting of the ban applies to ALL performers, not just Jonny, so his actions have benefitted the entire busking community. If you're so sick of seeing his face just be thankful that he probably only plays in York about once/month rather than every day like some of the more unimaginative and territorial York buskers who seem to favour a cartel to keep out healthy competition.
So Jonny Walker is not even from York. Neither is the Tour de France. What a ridiculous argument!! I suspect most of the 'local' street performers you mention are not actually from York either. In case you hadn't realised the lifting of the ban applies to ALL performers, not just Jonny, so his actions have benefitted the entire busking community. If you're so sick of seeing his face just be thankful that he probably only plays in York about once/month rather than every day like some of the more unimaginative and territorial York buskers who seem to favour a cartel to keep out healthy competition. Chesteronthestreet
  • Score: 19

5:25pm Sat 28 Jun 14

X5019c says...

JonnyWalker wrote:
Busking is about a democratic encounter between art
Tosh, it's out of tune begging.
[quote][p][bold]JonnyWalker[/bold] wrote: Busking is about a democratic encounter between art[/p][/quote]Tosh, it's out of tune begging. X5019c
  • Score: -3

7:49pm Sat 28 Jun 14

amike says...

All I can say is there must be some money in it for Mr Walker and others to travel form Leeds or wherever to busk.
All I can say is there must be some money in it for Mr Walker and others to travel form Leeds or wherever to busk. amike
  • Score: 11

9:07pm Sat 28 Jun 14

LongTimeYorkDweller says...

This would be the same Jonny Walker who campaigned to have the council reduce its Street Trading Consent price, which it did, and he still refuses to follow the law? Pretty sure selling CDs without one is illegal, yet Mr Walker persists in doing so. Also I'm pretty sure most of the buskers would prefer the old way of doing things, but it didn't suit him. I'm very sick of seeing his face around the city centre, breaking all the guidelines his petition fought to have installed, such as the 2 hrs in any one spot rule.
From the original council letter sent to buskers, it seemed pretty sensible to me, given how many people will be in the centre, how many barriers will be up and how many crossing points and crowds there will be? Can we now please stop giving Mr. walker any attention, although I'm pretty sure the whole reason this is an issue is because he wasn't invited to be in charge of the world...
This would be the same Jonny Walker who campaigned to have the council reduce its Street Trading Consent price, which it did, and he still refuses to follow the law? Pretty sure selling CDs without one is illegal, yet Mr Walker persists in doing so. Also I'm pretty sure most of the buskers would prefer the old way of doing things, but it didn't suit him. I'm very sick of seeing his face around the city centre, breaking all the guidelines his petition fought to have installed, such as the 2 hrs in any one spot rule. From the original council letter sent to buskers, it seemed pretty sensible to me, given how many people will be in the centre, how many barriers will be up and how many crossing points and crowds there will be? Can we now please stop giving Mr. walker any attention, although I'm pretty sure the whole reason this is an issue is because he wasn't invited to be in charge of the world... LongTimeYorkDweller
  • Score: 2

9:24pm Sat 28 Jun 14

Binkys says...

It seems that buskers think they have a right to busk where they want and on whatever day they want , what about the rights of people who want to sit and admire York's beautiful architecture without listening to an off key piano player or musicians who can't sing for toffee . Also what's one day out of the year , surely the buskers can't be that badly off , your always see them in a pub later on laden with money and a few pints to boot .
It seems that buskers think they have a right to busk where they want and on whatever day they want , what about the rights of people who want to sit and admire York's beautiful architecture without listening to an off key piano player or musicians who can't sing for toffee . Also what's one day out of the year , surely the buskers can't be that badly off , your always see them in a pub later on laden with money and a few pints to boot . Binkys
  • Score: 1

10:37pm Sat 28 Jun 14

JonnyWalker says...

The petition (http://www.change.o
rg/petitions/york-ci
ty-council-keep-stre
ets-live-support-str
eet-culture-don-t-st
rangle-it)

Called on York Council to collaborate with street performers and the Musician's Union to draw up a best practise guide for busking that works for everyone.

It certainly didn't call for a 2 hour rule. That was part of York's old policy.

Incidentally I always find it interesting how many anonymous comments end up in these threads often interspersed by derogatory remarks about buskers. There's a certain safety behind that keyboard!
The petition (http://www.change.o rg/petitions/york-ci ty-council-keep-stre ets-live-support-str eet-culture-don-t-st rangle-it) Called on York Council to collaborate with street performers and the Musician's Union to draw up a best practise guide for busking that works for everyone. It certainly didn't call for a 2 hour rule. That was part of York's old policy. Incidentally I always find it interesting how many anonymous comments end up in these threads often interspersed by derogatory remarks about buskers. There's a certain safety behind that keyboard! JonnyWalker
  • Score: 7

11:20pm Sat 28 Jun 14

Binkys says...

" hiding behind a keyboard" funny talk for a man hiding behind a guitar he can't play and whose voice would have minke whales beaching themselves in Scarborough . Here's an idea stick to, playing in pubs that way people can choose to listen to you , rather than having it forced upon there hearing .
" hiding behind a keyboard" funny talk for a man hiding behind a guitar he can't play and whose voice would have minke whales beaching themselves in Scarborough . Here's an idea stick to, playing in pubs that way people can choose to listen to you , rather than having it forced upon there hearing . Binkys
  • Score: -7

12:00am Sun 29 Jun 14

Chesteronthestreet says...

If there is money in busking then presumably there must be plenty of people who enjoy music whilst shopping or appreciating York's fine architecture. Certainly as the manager of a small company that brings American and other tourists to spend their money in the city I am aware that one of the things they enjoy most about York is the diversity of street entertainment.
If there is money in busking then presumably there must be plenty of people who enjoy music whilst shopping or appreciating York's fine architecture. Certainly as the manager of a small company that brings American and other tourists to spend their money in the city I am aware that one of the things they enjoy most about York is the diversity of street entertainment. Chesteronthestreet
  • Score: 9

10:42am Sun 29 Jun 14

Vonnethan says...

imassey wrote:
Old_Man wrote:
Johnny Walker represents himself and nobody else. He's not even from York. He just takes pitches that could be used by local (and better) street performers. Sick of seeing his face!
Well said. Totally agree.
No, Jonny actually cares about the freedom for all buskers and street performers. Which I think is a refreshing change from some others who've tried to "represent" all buskers such as the 'York SPA' who only cared about the interests of a selected few and excluded many others... which I think is a tad shady. Don't see why you folks are so ready to reject someone who's actually trying to make things better for all, regardless of what he personally loses.
[quote][p][bold]imassey[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Old_Man[/bold] wrote: Johnny Walker represents himself and nobody else. He's not even from York. He just takes pitches that could be used by local (and better) street performers. Sick of seeing his face![/p][/quote]Well said. Totally agree.[/p][/quote]No, Jonny actually cares about the freedom for all buskers and street performers. Which I think is a refreshing change from some others who've tried to "represent" all buskers such as the 'York SPA' who only cared about the interests of a selected few and excluded many others... which I think is a tad shady. Don't see why you folks are so ready to reject someone who's actually trying to make things better for all, regardless of what he personally loses. Vonnethan
  • Score: 2

10:47am Sun 29 Jun 14

Vonnethan says...

amike wrote:
All I can say is there must be some money in it for Mr Walker and others to travel form Leeds or wherever to busk.
I know it might be hard to believe but not everyone in this **** world is driven by money.
[quote][p][bold]amike[/bold] wrote: All I can say is there must be some money in it for Mr Walker and others to travel form Leeds or wherever to busk.[/p][/quote]I know it might be hard to believe but not everyone in this **** world is driven by money. Vonnethan
  • Score: -1

10:51am Sun 29 Jun 14

Vonnethan says...

X5019c wrote:
JonnyWalker wrote:
Busking is about a democratic encounter between art
Tosh, it's out of tune begging.
Away with you, angsty key board warrior! Troll! There's a troll in the dungeon! ;)
[quote][p][bold]X5019c[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]JonnyWalker[/bold] wrote: Busking is about a democratic encounter between art[/p][/quote]Tosh, it's out of tune begging.[/p][/quote]Away with you, angsty key board warrior! Troll! There's a troll in the dungeon! ;) Vonnethan
  • Score: 0

11:10am Sun 29 Jun 14

mitch2nd says...

The Council did not have the power to put a ban in place in the first place
The Council did not have the power to put a ban in place in the first place mitch2nd
  • Score: 5

11:25am Sun 29 Jun 14

CHISSY1 says...

What a bunch of moaners.
What a bunch of moaners. CHISSY1
  • Score: -6

5:41pm Sun 29 Jun 14

redbluelion says...

i hate bikes..they just get in the way when your trying to put your foot down to beat a red light...and wobble all over the road and when its dark you can't see them cos they have no lights...and there all young and have trackies on and baseball caps..yobs the lot of them..ban bikes now...
i hate bikes..they just get in the way when your trying to put your foot down to beat a red light...and wobble all over the road and when its dark you can't see them cos they have no lights...and there all young and have trackies on and baseball caps..yobs the lot of them..ban bikes now... redbluelion
  • Score: 2

7:46pm Sun 29 Jun 14

m dee says...

CHISSY1 wrote:
What a bunch of moaners.
Yes they are a funny lot those buskers always moaning.
[quote][p][bold]CHISSY1[/bold] wrote: What a bunch of moaners.[/p][/quote]Yes they are a funny lot those buskers always moaning. m dee
  • Score: 1

1:13pm Wed 2 Jul 14

Romanza Rose says...

Hi all, I'm a Birmingham and Stratford upon Avon Street Performer ( Cafe Guitar ) of some 3 years now

Thought I'd tell you folks that I've already challenged Jonny Walker the self styled leader and founder of the ASAP/Streetslive to a public debate on the existence of God ( my position being He does'nt exist, bottom line at least its extremely unlikely! ) I think it maybe time to challenge him again.

It 'can' wait a little longer though, I understand He's on holiday in Italy, with Wife and Family, at present.
Hi all, I'm a Birmingham and Stratford upon Avon Street Performer ( Cafe Guitar ) of some 3 years now Thought I'd tell you folks that I've already challenged Jonny Walker the self styled leader and founder of the ASAP/Streetslive to a public debate on the existence of God ( my position being He does'nt exist, bottom line at least its extremely unlikely! ) I think it maybe time to challenge him again. It 'can' wait a little longer though, I understand He's on holiday in Italy, with Wife and Family, at present. Romanza Rose
  • Score: 0

1:39pm Wed 2 Jul 14

Romanza Rose says...

We the Buskers of Stratford upon Avon at the 'loca'l level have just successfully campaigned, organised and manouvered to get recent Council 'restrictions' regards 'outdoors' performance on the towns cherished Bancroft Gardens Park area removed.

Effective 'local' organisation on the issue and resulting good communication with town authorities, BID, performers, the public and all has meant that not only self-interest, but city justice, 'liberal' balance and the public interest has generally been achieved. Today we are all winners!.
We the Buskers of Stratford upon Avon at the 'loca'l level have just successfully campaigned, organised and manouvered to get recent Council 'restrictions' regards 'outdoors' performance on the towns cherished Bancroft Gardens Park area removed. Effective 'local' organisation on the issue and resulting good communication with town authorities, BID, performers, the public and all has meant that not only self-interest, but city justice, 'liberal' balance and the public interest has generally been achieved. Today we are all winners!. Romanza Rose
  • Score: 0

9:24am Thu 3 Jul 14

Romanza Rose says...

Oh and on Jonny Walkers latest idea ‘ a best practice guide ‘ for Buskers currently being banded through his ASAP/Streetslive organisation and apparantly touted in some Councils eg. Camden London, York, Liverpool.

Uhhgh! the idea sounds horrible to me, sounds like a kind of leaflet you might pick up at the local CAB, some kind of Consumer Council/Trading Standards mandate. No whats needed here are well thought out ‘busking codes’ at the ‘local’ level, with local input, and local considerations taken into account.

Conditions vary from place to place, performers and types of performance vary, every town/region has its own particular concerns and most importantly ‘local’ government is an already well established and valuable political institution in this country, and it needs at the very least to be recognised if not respected.
Oh and on Jonny Walkers latest idea ‘ a best practice guide ‘ for Buskers currently being banded through his ASAP/Streetslive organisation and apparantly touted in some Councils eg. Camden London, York, Liverpool. Uhhgh! the idea sounds horrible to me, sounds like a kind of leaflet you might pick up at the local CAB, some kind of Consumer Council/Trading Standards mandate. No whats needed here are well thought out ‘busking codes’ at the ‘local’ level, with local input, and local considerations taken into account. Conditions vary from place to place, performers and types of performance vary, every town/region has its own particular concerns and most importantly ‘local’ government is an already well established and valuable political institution in this country, and it needs at the very least to be recognised if not respected. Romanza Rose
  • Score: 0
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