Buskers bring Wymondham High Street to life

A busy Norfolk high street was awash with sound today as musicians came out in force to celebrate the town's annual busking day.

Even the sun warmed to the occasion in Wymondham Market Place and High Street as up to 24 performers put on a diverse array of musical styles to keep shoppers entertained on Saturday morning.

Among the performers for the event, part of Wymondham Music Festival's summer programme, were two African drumming groups, a guitarist, clarinettist and female singers who lined both sides of the High street, while musicians also performed in the main marquee in the town's Market Place, including musician and singer Johnny Steinberg.

The timing of the busking day was significant as there are hopes the government will ease street performance regulations.

Busking itself is not illegal in the UK, although many local councils have passed byelaws prohibiting busking, while in some towns a busker must have an authorised permit to perform.

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John Wood, chairman of the festival committee, said: 'These Market Place events are really good at getting people into town and that is good for us because from our festival committee point of view, we are providing the programme, but it is also very good for the town because people are buying goods from town centre shops and in some cases the visitors are staying locally.'

Guitarist Clive Richardson was one of the buskers outside the Children's Society shop.

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He said he was planning to give all his gratuities to the charity, which aims to protect children.

He added: 'I think busking livens the town centre up, it is spontaneous and it brings a whole new dimension to the town. It brings a lot of people into town and there are many visitors who travel to Wymondham from Norwich.'

The Man in Black also put in an appearance in the shape of North Walsham man Gordon Smith, 78, who dresses up all in black to perform folk and country songs, including tunes by the original Man in Black, Johnny Cash.

The ex-paratrooper, who has been a busker for seven years, said: 'I think it brings people in, but more importantly it is a spiritual thing in that people are prepared to come out and give of themselves.'

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