Buskers’ anger over amplifier ban

Image copyright Leo Mitchell
Image caption Street performers like Leo Mitchell will need a new permit to play in Southwater.

Buskers’ amps and speakers have been banned in a town centre after businesses complained about the noise.

Those wishing to continue to play in Southwater, Telford, need a permit which allows unplugged busking but in two spots only.

Musicians are complaining about the new rules, with one saying they will “kill” busking in the town.

Telford and Wrekin Council said it wanted to encourage performers but busking needed to be “managed”.

More than 120 people have signed a petition against the free permit introduced on 23 November.

It allows performers to play outside Meeting Point House and Southwater One.

Leo Mitchell, who has been playing at Southwater for about three years, fears the move – and associated amp ban – will “kill” busking.

He said: “No amplification means the busker will need to shout to make any money, and although most of us do this for love and happiness, if there’s no money in it, most of us will go elsewhere.”

Image copyright Joshua Sole
Image caption Musician Joshua Sole says it is ‘curbing’ buskers’ creative freedom.

Joshua Sole has been busking for five years. He said: “[The move] is curbing our freedom to creativity.

“Amplification is essential for us to be heard. The sites they have chosen seem to be ‘out of sight out of mind’. They are spots out of the way of the general footfall.”

The rules are only in force for Southwater and mean performers will be given a set time slot.

A council spokesman said amplified busking had drawn complaints from local businesses.

He said: “There is no busking ban. Telford & Wrekin Council wants to encourage a broad range of good quality street entertainment to Southwater but this now needs to be managed as the area is increasingly busy with pedestrians.

“We want to ensure the safety of visitors to Southwater and of the entertainers themselves. In being granted permission, performers will agree to adhere to a code of conduct which will include not using amplifiers.”

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Marissa SafontBuskers’ anger over amplifier ban