A ROW has broken out after Bath Abbey was forced to cancel
choral evensong for the first time in living memory because music
from buskers outside the abbey was drowning out the choir.
The Rector, Prebendary Edward Mason, said that this was not an
isolated incident. "Hundreds, even thousands, in Bath, have their
peace, prayer, and remembrance blighted by buskers on a daily
basis. The loud music from the buskers started just after our 3.30
p.m. choral evensong service began, and was clearly audible during
the Bible reading. It was impossible to continue."
He said that, despite meetings with the street musicians, and
setting up a traffic-light system to warn the buskers when services
were on in the abbey, a minority of buskers "deliberately flout
Some of the buskers have hit back, however, claiming that the
abbey had told the buskers the wrong start times for services by
mistake. One, Jack Morgan, told The Times that "aggressive
reactionaries from the church" had confronted him. "My feeling is
the Rector has a personal issue with some of the buskers," he
The buskers plan to protest on Sunday. "We want the abbey to
know we are not attacking the Church. A lot of us are Christians,
and respect the abbey." During the protest, buskers will take their
instruments out, but will not play them, The Guardian
Prebendary Mason said: "I feel like weeping. Truly. Weeping for
a city ruined by the clamour of music. Weeping for my staff
subjected to music every day. Weeping that we human beings just
cannot resolve conflict.
"Weeping for an abbey that has had a superb ministry of peace,
healing, and quiet for hundreds of years, and which is being
subject to the violence of noise."
A spokesman for the council said that it had been monitoring the
area. The council's cabinet member for neighbourhoods, Cllr David
Dixon, said that they would have to go further. "Under new powers
provided by the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014,
we will be looking to ban all amplification within the immediate
vicinity of Bath Abbey."