Busker Central

Covent Garden - A Call to Arms
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Author:  BC [ Sep 12, 2007 ]
Title:  Covent Garden - A Call to Arms

Posted by BC

Hi, this is Rob Roy Collins here. I am one of the regulars at Covent Garden and it seems like we are hitting on some difficult times. So if you have ever performed here, or ever intend to, please read on.

Covent Garden is under new management and they are basically making ways to ban street performing as we know it. It has started off with adding a well publicised Thursday night market in August which I forsee becoming an all year round thing, which means no shows and have started applying for permission to the council for more and more such events. Covent Garden have also recently applied to set up market stalls on the West Piazza where shows are performed. The management have also started looking into booking their own acts through an agency so that they can control who is there, how long the shows are, how much acts are paid, and if any acts are going to perform at all. Essentially the management wants to revamp Covent Garden and are clearly against the current street entertainment set up, which has successfully ran since before I was even born. They would prefer to either ban it out right, or have total control over it. In essence, they seem to see the regular street performers as an unwanted obstacle in their way.

Aside from putting a good number of regular Covent Garden performers who rely on this pitch out of work, I strongly believe that this affects the whole street performing community world wide. Over the years hundreds, even thousands of performers have spent time in one of the world's most famous street performing venues. New acts are always welcomed with open arms by the regulars and everyone is given the opportunity to
perform. This would obviously change from as early as October if the management have their way, and no one would be able to visit London and perform.

I know that in the past there have been threats to our livelihood which we have successfully fought, but we are taking this extremely seriously and if it would be unforgivable if the Covent Garden managemnt are allowed to carry out their plans.

We at Covent Garden are working pretty hard to make sure that this pitch, which has been home to street performing for centuries is maintained for the good of us all. However, we would also appreciate any assistance from anyone else would could support us. My suggestion is this. If you have ever performed at Covent Garden, or even if you have not but have heard about its reputation, please take 5 minutes to write some sort of a testamonial. Something along the lines of who you are, what you do and how you feel about Covent Garden and the impact it would have if performers could not visit Covent Garden and perform. I feel that it would really help the cause if we had
as many testimonials as possible from good quality professional entertainers from UK and around the world which we can show to the management, or the the national press and TV and even in court if it came to that.

Feel free to post a message on this forum, but it
would be better if you could email me directly any short testamonial you have to robroycollins@yahoo.com

Finally, is there anyone else out there who has been through the same thing and could offer any advice?
Sydney springs to mind. All comments are greatly appreciated.

Many thanks,

Rob Roy Collins

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