Video: Boris Johnson’s busking champions arrested for playing in public

Boris Johnson showcased The King's Parade at St Pancras International Station last month (pic credit

Boris Johnson showcased The King's Parade at St Pancras International Station last month (pic credit: Polly Hancock) - Credit: Archant

A Cricklewood band who won a busking competition organised by the Mayor of London were arrested by police for playing in public in central London.

The band busked in Paris to promote the Mayor of London's #BackBusking competition

The band busked in Paris to promote the Mayor of London's #BackBusking competition - Credit: Archant

Officers bundled the four members of The King’s Parade into the back of their van and took them to a police station for busking without a licence in Leicester Square last week.

Olly Corpe, 22, lead vocalist and guitarist, Sam Rooney, 23, on a keyboard-guitar hybrid, dubbed Keytar, drummer Chris Brent, 24 and bassist Tom English, 22, were later released with no further action.

Boris Johnson showcased the band at the launch of his #BackBusking competition at St Pancras International Station Cross last month.

The band, which won the contest last year, played a selection of songs at the station before they were whisked away to France where they busked in Paris.

Mr Corpe, who was also runner up in 2008 Australian Idol singing competition, said: “We’ve been busking around London just over a year and it has offered us so many opportunities as a result.

“To be arrested for busking after winning the GIGS competition is an embarrassment when London is aiming to become the most busker friendly city in the world.”

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Jonny Walker, founding director of the Keep Streets Live Campaign which advocates for the use of public space for the arts has condemned the arrest.

He said: “The arrest of King’s Parade highlights the many problems facing buskers across the capital and the pressing need for the #backbusking campaign to succeed.

“It is hard to understand why eight police officers were needed to arrest the winners of the Mayors busking competition for the ‘crime’ of entertaining the public…”

He added: “I hope this incident will be a springboard for meaningful change in the way London treats its buskers otherwise there is a real danger that talent will be scared off the streets for good.”

Amateur footage which was recorded and later uploaded on a video streaming site captured the moment when the pop band were interrupted mid-song by police as they performed in front of an audience.

A police spokesman said: “Police can confirm four men were arrested for unauthorised and unlicensed street performing contrary to section 54 of the Metropolitan Police Act 1839 without any licence to gather money.

“They were taken to a Central London Police Station and have since been released with no further action.”

Related links: Cricklewood band busking in Paris today to launch gigs competition by the Mayor of London

Cricklewood band played at the Feast of St George in Trafalgar Square

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