Mansfield residents rally to support popular busker following town centre ban

Mansfield residents are backing a popular busker after he was issued a 24-hour ban from the town centre.
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Wes Dolan, a 42-year-old musician from Mansfield who has been busking in the town for more than 20 years, was issued a direction to leave notice for 24 hours by Mansfield council.

The incident happened on Friday, November 18 at 1.45pm.

Wes, who comes from a family of buskers, returned the following day and said he hoped to ensure other aspiring musicians would not be discouraged by the incident.

Wes Dolan performing in Mansfield town centre.Wes Dolan performing in Mansfield town centre.
Wes Dolan performing in Mansfield town centre.
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He said: “The policies at the moment deter buskers from coming to Mansfield.

“Hopefully, the policies can be changed so we don't get so much aggro while we're busking.”

The incident attracted widespread attention as onlookers rushed to support Wes.

Wes said: “The council had received complaints of a noise disturbance.

Wes had a smile on his face as he played songs for supporters.Wes had a smile on his face as he played songs for supporters.
Wes had a smile on his face as he played songs for supporters.
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“I argued that I wasn't causing harassment and distress and the policy was inefficient.”

Wes said he was told if he did not comply, he could face a fine and a longer ban.

Wes said he has been overwhelmed by the support from the community since the ban was issued.

He said: “My sharing of the occurrence in Mansfield was more an act of desperation than one to seek all of the attention that it received.

Wes shared a photo of the order from Mansfield council.Wes shared a photo of the order from Mansfield council.
Wes shared a photo of the order from Mansfield council.
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“Life is tough enough, even without dealing with that kind of stress whilst attempting to earn a living.

“Thankfully, I've had a meeting with Councillor Mick Barton who will be helping me to get the matter sorted over the next few weeks.

“That being said, I really do appreciate the huge amount of people who've shown their support and continue to do so.

“It means a lot to me. Thanks.”

He also thanked fellow musician Warren Ireland, who busked on his behalf during the ban.

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Warren, who gifted Wes his earnings for the morning, said: “Wes is a vibrant part of Mansfield's culture.

“I and other musicians are taking a stand against this brutish and bullish behaviour – which will impact Wes in more ways than just being able to put food on the table.”

Warren and supporters are now planning a ‘We stand with Wes’ demonstration at The Swan, Church Street, on Saturday, November 26 at 11am.

Daniel Vardy, a musician from Meden Vale, said: “We are organising a big busking session to make a stand against the injustice imposed on a long-standing centre point of Mansfield town.

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“We invite anyone to come along and support Wes, so he can continue bringing vital life into Mansfield for years to come.”

In Facebook comments on the busker’s public account, residents shared their support and encouragement.

Jodie Moore said: “Such a great bloke, always got time for a chat and to say hi.

“He's been playing music in town all my childhood and adult life.

“Now they want to take a big part of Mansfield away.

“We stand with you Wes Dolan.”

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Julian Stevens said: “Mansfield town centre does not feel the same without Wes playing.”

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Mansfield council have since responded to the incident.

A council spokeswoman said: “Mansfield District Council’s Anti-Social Behaviour and Community Safety Officers received complaints from town centre partners and several members of the public about busking on Friday, November 18.

“Upon receiving the complaints, the officers went to support, and under a long-standing and well known code of conduct around busking and street performing, two buskers were asked to move along.

“The code was put together following consultation with businesses, those that live in the town centre and the public on how the issue was to be approached in the town centre.

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“You do not need a licence to busk in Mansfield, however we do expect buskers to comply with the policy.

“This code is to ensure the town centre and environment can be enjoyed and used by all, including buskers.

“Upon arriving in the town centre, the officers spoke to two buskers.

“One of the buskers immediately agreed to move on and relocated to another spot within the town centre.

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“Officers then approached Mr Dolan and explained that we were requesting for him to move to another location having received a couple of complaints.

“After 15 minutes had passed, Mr Dolan continued to refuse to move or listen and he became obstructive, started to film the incident and a crowd began to gather.

“As Mr Dolan had refused to move on and his behaviour was deemed to be causing a disturbance, under the Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO), officers issued Mr Dolan a Direction to Leave Notice (DTLN), stating he needed to leave the town centre for 24 hours.

“Following the DTLN notice, Mr Dolan still refused to leave.

“Council officers then issued a Fixed Penalty Notice.

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“These actions are all within delegated powers of the authority.

“Mansfield District Council recognises it is not illegal to busk and is happy to accommodate buskers.

“The code of conduct aims to prevent street entertainment from becoming an annoyance to people.

“Under the policy, buskers are asked that performances should last no longer than 45 minutes, followed by a 15 minute break.

“After this time, buskers are asked to move to a new spot.

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“Following complaints, the council has a duty to deal with them timely and effectively – and this was one of those instances.

“It was unfortunate it turned out this way as we do recognise that Mr Dolan does bring entertainment to the town and is welcomed by visitors.

“We would just ask that he complies with the code, so that the interests of businesses and the public are met.”