Unicyclist Matthew Rosson says he could lose half his income
The new owners of Covent Garden Market want to reduce the number of buskers and street performers.
But performers have started a campaign to reverse these plans.
As you walk across the cobbles from Covent Garden tube station, you can hear the cheers and the clapping even before you enter the market.
Once inside, it has a carnival atmosphere - it's colourful, noisy and exciting.
The shops and stalls are quirky, not like the high street.
People are smiling, and there's a man riding a 10-foot unicycle while juggling two swords and an apple.
"I'm going to be taking a bite out of one of these three," he calls down to the spellbound audience. "And I'm hoping it's the apple!"
The audience is from all over the world, with a strong family showing.
The unicyclist has no trouble finding two large tourists to help him up.
To be exact, they hold the unicycle and he climbs up them. They beam and take a bow, and go back to being spectators.
We support street performance in the area and see it as a fundamental part of the history and the future of Covent Garden
Covent Garden brand director
After his performance, the juggling unicyclist is happy to chat. He's 32-year-old Matthew Rosson, and it's the only job he has ever known.
"The way it works is we have certain times. I work during the week, which many don't, so if they make these cuts I'm going to lose half my income," he says.
"This place will suffer as a result because a lot of people come to see the shows. It's one of the biggest attractions in London. Where else can you go to see this if you haven't got a lot of money?"
Matthew Rosson has hit the nail on the head.
Many in the market think the new owners, Capco, want fewer low-budget tourists watching shows and more wealthy shoppers spending money.
"I think they want to turn it into a posh shopping centre," Matthew says.
Capco deny this.
Bev Churchill, Capco's brand director for Covent Garden, categorically says that it is not being turned into a shopping centre, and the company has no plans to cut out street performance altogether.
"We support street performance in the area and see it as a fundamental part of the history and the future of Covent Garden," she said.
Capco say the reason for cutting back the number of available slots for performers is that they often overlap, producing a "sound clash" which has led to complaints.
A wander around the market shows a fair bit of shopping going on already, much of it at the many colourful stalls and barrows, selling trinkets and candy floss and crafts.
A group of stall-holders are keen to talk, but are worried about giving their names in case it worsens relations with their landlord, Capco.
"Security came down and stopped the street performers from getting their petition signed," one stallholder calling himself "Stanley" says.
"They don't want tourists. They want rich people. They think all this is tourist tat."
Another, calling herself "Mary", says the market needs the performers to bring in the crowds.
"Listen to those cheers. Someone starts singing or playing an instrument and people come. When the performance stops they disappear," she says.
"We all feel desperate. This is my living. How can I plan when I don't know if I'll have any business. I don't know whether to stock up or not."
Richard and Ursula say the performers are the main attraction
It would be a strange business plan to deliberately put off tourists, and Capco deny it. The crowd don't look poor. They're not backpackers, but mainly families with children.
"It's cool that they're here," said a young Swedish woman, Johanna Bjoremo, who was in the crowd watching one of the performers with her mother.
"It makes a much better impression of the whole place for people walking by. It's likely to make us stay longer, and come back," she says.
Ursula and Richard Dierkes from Limburg in Germany were spending five days in London with their children.
"I would be very sorry if there were not so many performers. It's a reason to come here," she said.
There were plenty of British people in the audience too, mostly visiting from outside the capital.
Kevin Lucas from Coventry was visiting London for the day with his wife and three children.
"This is one sight we wanted to include, mainly because of the street performers," he said.
Robert Atkins from West Bromwich described the performances as "really worthwhile", and proclaimed them one of the most enjoyable parts of his day.
"I wouldn't come as often if there were fewer performances," he said.
A short walk away, down some steps surrounded by little shops, a group of classical musicians were entertaining a crowd who hung over the balconies all around them.
They were music students earning some extra cash.
"I depend on this for a lot for my income," 22-year-old Matthew Barlow said.
"It's not just about here," Alice Pratley, 32, chimed in. "We get other work from people who see us play here."
Unlike the stall-holders, they didn't see a conspiracy to force them out.
"I'm not sure how much of that is true," Frances Grime, 24, said.
"But if our time slots are cut then that's going to be really difficult. As a musician it's amazing to be able to rely on this at times when other work is scarce," she said.