Keep Streets Live Campaign

A law has been passed that criminalises street musicians. Support a campaign set up to challenge it and protect Britain's public spaces. It starts in Camden...
Jonathan Walker
3,099 Facebook Friends
United Kingdom
3 Team Members

This campaign has now ended.

Please click on this link to support the ongoing fundraising campaign:

Who and Why:

My name is Jonny WalkerI am a Liverpool-born singer/songwriter, musician, a full-time street performer and the Founding Director of ASAP (Association of Street Artists and Performers).  I have spent the last twelve years travelling the country as a wandering minstrel, playing music in the towns and cities of the UK and beyond. I have seen the power of informal, street-level performances of art and music to create a sense of colour, vibrancy and urban community at first-hand. I started the Keep Streets Live Campaign to protect and preserve informal community uses of public space, as it is now under threat.

Why We Need Your Help:

Sadly, in recent years, many local authorities across the UK have introduced highly-restrictive policies and laws that criminalise street performance and threaten the future of shared public spaces that are open to the arts and music. On November 11th this year, Labour-led Camden Council voted to bring in one of the most stifling street music laws in modern British history. Under this new law even singing in the streets for fun, if done without a license, is a criminal offence punishable by a fine of up to £1000. Musicians face having their instruments confiscated on the street by the police, or council officials, who will have the power to sell them if the fine is not paid within 28 days.

Why This Matters:

This draconian new law will do great damage to Camden's cultural and social well-being, it will scare and intimidate musicians away from the streets, and it will set an incredibly damaging precedent for towns and cities across the UK, if it goes unchallenged. It comes as a bitter blow at a time when many traditional venues for live music are closing down. The streets have become a vital and democratic forum for musicians to be heard, whether they are just starting out, gaining experience or actually making a living.

The Bigger Picture:

At the very time when our high streets need a helping hand to stay vital in the face of rapid social and economic changes which have seen record number of businesses close their doors forever, policies are being implemented that damage the communal lives of our towns and cities. Free street art and live music is one great way of keeping our high streets alive. It's more important than ever before that local authorities channel their limited resources to support and sustain creative and grassroots communities in our urban centres, instead of heavy handed and misguided clampdowns. By supporting this landmark campaign you will be helping to protect the cultural freedoms of our towns and cities and giving us the resources to work alongside local authorities in the future.

What We Are Doing About This:

I started a petition, so far signed by over 6000 people, asking Camden Council to rethink their damaging plans. Our campaign arranged protest events which were supported by comedians Bill Bailey and Mark Thomas, and the musicians Billy Bragg and Jon Gomm amongst many others. We even set up the Citizen's Kazoo Orchestra as a light-hearted rebellion against the irrational banning of wind instruments. I made presentations to the Cabinet, Licensing Committee and full Council. The Musician's Union released a statement nationally asking Camden Council to preserve their musical heritage and to abandon their contentious policy. Despite this chorus of constructive opposition the Council passed this policy into law in a narrow vote in November. Our options were running out so we contacted a leading Human Rights law firm Leigh Day who told us that this new law was so unfair and over the top that we had a good chance of challenging it in the High Courts. The Human Rights Act protects freedom of expression and this applies to performances of music as well as to speech and the written word. We now had the basis for a historic legal challenge.

We have set up a not-for-profit organisation the Keep Streets Live Campaign and launched formal legal proceedings against Camden Council, asking a High Court judge to strike down this legislation and to send a powerful message to other local authorities: protect and nurture grassroots culture, don't stamp it out!

Why Help?

I am a working musician with a young family. Running a campaign takes up a huge amount of time and I can't do this alone. Camden Council have an in-house legal team and a budget of millions of pounds, whilst we are a very small and committed team of musicians and campaigners. We urgently need to raise funds. Our solicitors, Leigh Day believe in our case and are working on a conditional fee arrangement. In addition, we've applied for a Protective Costs Order asking our liability to be capped at £5,000. You can see my witness statement applying for this order at this link. However, if this is not granted and we don't have the necessary funds, we would have to abandon this legal challenge and allow a huge injustice to stand uncorrected. We think this is too important an issue to walk away from.

How You Can Help:

We are seeking to raise £25,000 to cover potential legal costs and the costs of running this campaign over several months, in order to demonstrate to Camden Council that we can take this all the way. Any amount of money we raise up to and beyond that amount will demonstrate to the Judge hearing our case, and to Camden Council that we have the resources needed to see this challenge through. 

People from across Great Britain have already volunteered their time and gifts so we can offer you fantastic perks for supporting us: from virtual cuddles, kazoos signed by celebrities, Skype concerts, Busking Masterclasses, House Concerts and campaign nights we have a range of exciting perks to offer you in exchange for donations towards our campaign as we seek to Keep Streets Live.

How Your Money Will Be Used:

In the event of a win in the courts where we are not liable for legal fees, or a situation where we are unable to continue with the legal challenge because we haven't raised enough, all the money raised will be used to develop the newly founded not-for-profit organisation, the Keep Streets Live Campaign, with a specific mission to protect community and grassroots uses of shared public spaces nationally by working alongside other bodies and providing training and support programs. You can see the articles and mission of this organisation by following this link. This money would be vital in realising our vision for an advocacy body for grassroots street culture. We want to train street performers in first aid, create support networks between performers and the homeless, and design creative and fair policies for street performance that local authorities can implement quickly and at low cost. We want to be part of creating a national culture of collaboration and mutuality between local authorities and the grassroots which would make heavy handed laws like Camden's a relic of the past. We want to turn the difficult situation we now face into an opportunity to make a positive change on the streets of the UK.

And, It Works!

Last year in Liverpool, a city synonymous with live music, I helped lead a campaign against a license scheme similar to Camden's which threatened street musicians with trespass prosecutions, banned under 18s from playing music and placed severe restrictions on the life of the streets. Our campaign was successful and the new law was overturned. We are now working with Liverpool Council and the Musician's Union to draw together a fair and open 'best practise guide' for street performing that balances the needs of all the users who share public spaces. Thank you to everyone who supported this campaign.

In York we set up a petition calling on the Council to scrap a highly restrictive license scheme and to make the streets more open. Again, as a direct result of our campaign, York's civic leaders made significant changes to their policy and invited musicians, street performers and other bodies to be part of an ongoing dialogue.

Join In:

We are a growing community of artists, performers, musicians and people who value public spaces that are open to the arts. Even if you are unable to contribute financially at this time, we would still love for you to get involved. From handing out leaflets, gathering signatures, playing the kazoo at protests, performing pop-up gigs and helping us send out perks, there are lots of ways in which you can get stuck in and we are very open to suggestions. Join the Association of Street Artists and Performers for free here:

In a nutshell...

This is a landmark legal challenge which will set a precedent for the use of public space in the United Kingdom. Join with us as we seek to protect and preserve the ancient freedoms of the street and find creative ways to build urban community and to Keep Streets Live!

Join our Facebook Group and follow our page

Find This Campaign On
raised by 319 people in 1 month
30% funded
No time left
£25,000 GBP goal
Flexible Funding This campaign has ended and will receive all funds raised.
Campaign Closed
This campaign ended on February 2, 2014
Select a Perk
  • £5GBP
    A Virtual Cuddle

    For £5 the Keep Streets Live team will toast your name over a cup of tea and send you a long-distance virtual hug!

    27 claimed
    Estimated delivery: December 2013
  • £7GBP
    Fresh Muffin Collection

    Donated by the wonderful Phoenix Kitchen bakery in London, each muffin will have written coloured icing with the initials KSL for Keep Streets Live email for more details!

    1 out of 5 claimed
    Estimated delivery: February 2014
  • £10GBP
    A Keep Streets Live badge

    A valuable addition to your lapel, this badge will fit snugly on your jacket as you walk through Camden listening to all the great buskers you helped to protect

    58 out of 300 claimed
    Estimated delivery: January 2014
  • £10GBP
    Keep Streets Live Postcard

    Artist Laura Sparks has created unique and beautiful, limited edition art prints on postcard for the Keep Street Live team. When we make history, these postcards will be collector's items (hey, you gotta dream big)

    20 out of 50 claimed
    Estimated delivery: January 2014
  • £10GBP
    Signed EP

    A signed copy of 'This Is Not Me', Jonny Walker's debut EP 4 quails out of 5 according to rock

    14 out of 25 claimed
    Estimated delivery: February 2014

    Signed Jon Gomm Poster

    World-leading guitarist Jon Gomm has signed his latest Secret's Nobody Keeps tour posters to help raise money. This A3-sized piece of music art is ideal for aesthetes and fans of his guitar wizardry alike...

    3 out of 3 claimed
    Estimated delivery: January 2014
  • £20GBP
    Celebrity-Signed Kazoos

    Comedian Mark Thomas - a founding member of the Citizen's Kazoo Orchestra - is signing colourful kazoos that once played the Star Wars 'Death March' to blushing Camden Council Officials in the first protests to Keep Streets Live. Don't fear, our team of OCD cleaners will make sure that the kazoos are saliva free and ready for your mantlepiece.

    13 out of 25 claimed
    Estimated delivery: January 2014

    Signed Jon Gomm Album

    World-leading guitarist Jon Gomm has signed his newly released album, Secrets Nobody Keeps to help raise money for the campaign. Don't miss this chance to scoop up a piece of music memorabilia!

    6 out of 6 claimed
    Estimated delivery: January 2014
  • £24GBP
    Jon Gomm T-shirt

    Legendary Guitarist Jon Gomm has donated two 'Secrets Nobody Keeps' t-shirts to our cause. Wear the shirt in the certain knowledge that you have done your bit to protect street culture!

    1 out of 2 claimed
    Estimated delivery: February 2014
  • £25GBP
    Keep Streets Live T-Shirt

    Wear your support for the Keep Streets Live campaign proudly with our unique T-shirt, available in a range of sizes and designed by the incomparable artist Laura Spark

    29 out of 200 claimed
    Estimated delivery: February 2014

    G7th Nashville Capo

    We've teamed up with our friends at G7th Capos ( to offer this high-end Capo to guitarists wherever you may be in the world. Not only will you have a world-beating Capo, but you will also have the knowledge that you have played no small part in the battle for the freedom of the streets! Now, doesn't that feel good?

    6 out of 6 claimed
    Estimated delivery: February 2014

    G7th Capo and KSL Badge

    For an extra £5 we will throw in a Keep Streets Live Badge alongside your spanking new G7th Nashville Capo. Now you can wear your badge AND your capo with equal amounts of pride and joy!

    1 out of 1 claimed
    Estimated delivery: February 2014
  • £50GBP
    Limited Edition Print

    An exclusive Keep Streets Live print designed and realised by the artistic hand of Laura Sparks. An A3 print.

    2 out of 50 claimed
    Estimated delivery: February 2014
  • £55GBP
    Exclusive Engraved G7th Capo

    A limited edition G7th Capo uniquely engraved with 'Keep Streets Live' to be treasured as a lifelong memento of your support for this campaign. This bundle also comes with a Keep Streets Live Badge and postcard as an extra thank you from us all...

    4 out of 6 claimed
    Estimated delivery: February 2014
  • £75GBP
    Portrait by Phil Garrett

    Phil Garrett, a leading artist in the North-west who is just as comfortable painting on the streets as in his studio will render you a beautiful and memorable portrait in exchange for your generous support of this campaign.

    1 out of 2 claimed
    Estimated delivery: February 2014
  • £160GBP
    Eva Harmonica Gig-London

    Do you like the melodious sound of the harmonica blended with the dulcet tones of the acoustic guitar? If so, you're in luck.. You could be spending a Saturday night tapping away to latino/classical/jazz pop, you name it, and all in support of our campaign. This booking covers the London for more details...

    0 out of 1 claimed
    Estimated delivery: March 2014
  • £275GBP
    Jonny Walker Solo Gig

    Jonny Walker, an old school wandering minstrel will come to a venue of your choice whether it be living room, stage, pub or street and perform two 50 minute sets a mix of originals and covers… Jonny is currently based in Leeds and will need to charge travel expenses for gigs outside of a 80 mile radius...

    2 out of 10 claimed
    Estimated delivery: February 2014
  • £1,500GBP
    Keep Streets Live Fellowship

    You will be honoured as one of our organisation's key investors. You will be invited to our board meetings giving you a platform for strategic input into the emerging body of work we will deliver to the community.

    0 out of 2 claimed
    Estimated delivery: March 2014
Do you think this campaign contains prohibited content? Let us know.
Other Campaigns You Might Like