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'Busking' for money?

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The Shambles 24 Apr 00 - 06:49 AM
InOBU 24 Apr 00 - 06:59 AM
Kernow John 24 Apr 00 - 09:58 AM
Rick Fielding 24 Apr 00 - 10:08 AM
JamesJim 24 Apr 00 - 01:29 PM
Kelida 24 Apr 00 - 10:37 PM
Mbo 24 Apr 00 - 11:05 PM
Kelida 24 Apr 00 - 11:15 PM
Mbo 24 Apr 00 - 11:20 PM
Crowhugger 25 Apr 00 - 12:43 AM
Sorcha 25 Apr 00 - 12:53 AM
M. Ted (inactive) 25 Apr 00 - 02:44 AM
Seamus Kennedy 25 Apr 00 - 03:20 AM
Seamus Kennedy 25 Apr 00 - 03:22 AM
Gervase 25 Apr 00 - 06:01 AM
The Shambles 25 Apr 00 - 06:09 AM
InOBU 25 Apr 00 - 07:38 AM
Little Neophyte 25 Apr 00 - 08:54 AM
MMario 25 Apr 00 - 09:13 AM
GUEST,FP 25 Apr 00 - 09:47 AM
Grab 25 Apr 00 - 10:14 AM
Jon Freeman 25 Apr 00 - 10:32 AM
GUEST,Mbo 25 Apr 00 - 10:38 AM
alison 25 Apr 00 - 10:39 AM
Petr 25 Apr 00 - 01:08 PM
M. Ted (inactive) 25 Apr 00 - 01:51 PM
The Shambles 25 Apr 00 - 03:15 PM
Jim Dixon 25 Apr 00 - 03:23 PM
GUEST,ben 25 Apr 00 - 03:58 PM
GUEST,Twitchy 25 Apr 00 - 03:58 PM
Peter T. 25 Apr 00 - 08:54 PM
Willie-O 25 Apr 00 - 09:45 PM
Seamus Kennedy 25 Apr 00 - 11:01 PM
Crowhugger 25 Apr 00 - 11:45 PM
Crowhugger 26 Apr 00 - 08:23 AM
alison 26 Apr 00 - 08:49 AM
Terry Allan Hall 26 Apr 00 - 09:25 AM
Mooh 26 Apr 00 - 10:01 PM
M. Ted (inactive) 27 Apr 00 - 11:09 AM
Molly Malone 27 Apr 00 - 12:29 PM
Marion 27 Apr 00 - 02:25 PM
GUEST,Rich(stupidbodhranplayer......) 27 Apr 00 - 05:31 PM
Kelida 27 Apr 00 - 11:10 PM
GUEST, George 27 Apr 00 - 11:20 PM
M. Ted (inactive) 28 Apr 00 - 10:55 AM
Rt Revd Sir jOhn from Hull 03 Sep 01 - 09:44 AM
InOBU 03 Sep 01 - 09:46 AM
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GUEST 04 Sep 01 - 02:49 AM
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Rt Revd Sir jOhn from Hull 30 Mar 02 - 04:22 AM
InOBU 30 Mar 02 - 07:35 AM
InOBU 30 Mar 02 - 07:36 AM
The Shambles 30 Mar 02 - 08:34 PM
Marion 30 Mar 02 - 08:47 PM
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Les from Hull 31 Mar 02 - 08:48 AM
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Subject: 'Busking' for money?
From: The Shambles
Date: 24 Apr 00 - 06:49 AM

This is a subject that interests me and would like to hear views and experiences of it.

Is busking for money in public places a good or a bad thing?

Is it welcomed where you are or not?

Can you actually make much money doing it?

Have you seen any good ones?


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Subject: RE: 'Busking' for money?
From: InOBU
Date: 24 Apr 00 - 06:59 AM

Ive busked in Ireland, England, Cananda and the US. Ireland in the seventies was great, once made over 3 hundred quid at race week in Listowl, playing the pipes at the race course, back then, you would see the Fury Bros. busking in Tralee, even after they were a big hit. England was a dangerous place to busk, it is not a society which tolerates much in the way of stepping out from the social order. Canada, Quebec used to be great. Now, like New York, there is an on going crack down, where one needs a licence in both Montreal and Quebec, for which you must audition, so out of town buskers passing through are not welcome, nor are young kids using their traditional culture to make a little gelt cant do it as they dont pass the audition. So, it is no surprise that we have seen the death of Quebecouis fiddling on such islands as Isle au Coudre, because a lot of young kids grow to love their culture while trying to make a buck off it. Busking is one of the great teachers of style, as it provides the busker with an immidiate evaluation of his or her perfomance, well, that is enough from me... still busking in New York,

Larry Otway,
Uilleann piper of the band Sorcha Dorcha.
PS as the city governments give the impression that it is a form of begging, through government control, the money get worse as well...


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Subject: RE: 'Busking' for money?
From: Kernow John
Date: 24 Apr 00 - 09:58 AM

I'd have to disagree about the busking attitude in England. I have earned money this way on many occasions since the 60's both as a means of keeping body and soul together and for charities. I've never been hassled and although asked to move on from outside the London Underground on one occasion the copper suggested another site that proved to be lucrative.
I must admit I enjoy busking it is a bit of an ego trip I suppose when you can capture an audience out on the street.
Give it a go if you don't depend on the outcome it's great fun!
Baz


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Subject: RE: 'Busking' for money?
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 24 Apr 00 - 10:08 AM

As Larry says, in Toronto, buskers must audition (before a panel of folks who wouldn't know alternative music if they stepped in it.) One of the finest drop thumb banjoists in the universe, Chris Coole still busks regularly.

Many of the non-licenced buskers are of the "Dylan/Neil Young" persuasion. They sure give that "Needle and the Damage Done" song a run for it's money.

Rick


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Subject: RE: 'Busking' for money?
From: JamesJim
Date: 24 Apr 00 - 01:29 PM

Busking in Louisville, Ky. began about 2 or 3 years ago. You have to buy a license (inexpensive) and be assigned an area (location). I have never busked, but have friends who have and do. They say they enjoy it. I have been invited to give it a try and I might do so. Jim


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Subject: RE: 'Busking' for money?
From: Kelida
Date: 24 Apr 00 - 10:37 PM

I've thought about trying it here in Cincinnati, but considering how snobby and conservative and asinine the city government is, I bet it's illegal. . .Anyone know about that?

Peace--Keli


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Subject: RE: 'Busking' for money?
From: Mbo
Date: 24 Apr 00 - 11:05 PM

Yeah, they'd probably bust you for loitering or something! Busking sounds fun, but I don't work that well in public...too shy and mumbly. When I played in Raleigh 1 year ago last week, when I DID play for the NC Community College president & administrators & art teachers from around the state...they obviously found my music boring! They perked right up when the operetta tunes were sung by my friends, but when I did my folkie "MacGregor's Gathering" they just kinda looked the other way. Sometimes it's not a very rewarding experience! BTW can I wear buskins when if I busk?

--Mbo


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Subject: RE: 'Busking' for money?
From: Kelida
Date: 24 Apr 00 - 11:15 PM

I'm not very shy--I LOVE singing for people--I don't know if anyone loves my terrible voice though. . . As soon as I get a mic for my computer, I'll torture you with it in hearme. . .

Peace--Keli


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Subject: RE: 'Busking' for money?
From: Mbo
Date: 24 Apr 00 - 11:20 PM

Well that's good. I think Hearme is actually getting me psyched for doing something in public....I not nervous at all anymore singing on Hearme, as opposed to when I first tried back in January...I could barely sing, my hands were shaking so bad!

--Mbo


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Subject: RE: 'Busking' for money?
From: Crowhugger
Date: 25 Apr 00 - 12:43 AM

Kelida,

When I'm concerned about being hassled, like with the cello 'cause it's big and I bring my own seat too, I use the private property approach. Get into a lane or doorway of an empty retail space that's not too closed off from the street and they can't do anything without a complaint from the property owner. This is better in a town or small city, or on the weekend, when I can find parking close to where I want to play. --CH

General anecdote:

Once, but this was years ago, at the Elmira Maple Syrup Festival (Ontario, not NY) the site manager had her knickers in a twist. She was bothered, not by the music but because I hadn't paid for booth space! So I asked would it would be okay if I closed the case? She didn't quite know what to do with that. As I made my request I waved my arm over the small crowd that had gathered to listen to farmer who'd joined me on harp; I said something to the effect that I think people are enjoying the music. She uttered a confused yes and got the hell outta there. And I promptly reopened my case. She didn't come back and we made a small fortune in no time flat. Still had plenty after paying out to the harpist, too. Bloody cold when the sky clouded over, though. Stopped when my fingers froze.

Think I'll stop, now. Time for others' stories.

Singing & dancing, CH


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Subject: RE: 'Busking' for money?
From: Sorcha
Date: 25 Apr 00 - 12:53 AM

I would like to try but I am a big Chicken!! I live in a very small town of 4,000 or less, and they ALL know who I am!! If I bombed I would bomb big time!! And it is a long ways to the nearest large town!! I don't think anybody has ever busked in Cheyenne, WYO! I guess I could be the first, if I was brave enuf! (and I love performing!)


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Subject: RE: 'Busking' for money?
From: M. Ted (inactive)
Date: 25 Apr 00 - 02:44 AM

I must say that I spent many happy days, once upon a time, busking, though I always called myself a street singer--you have to be hungry for the attention, and you have to get itchy fingers when you see people milling around--

You will never go far wrong if you develop a sense for the kind of activities that need a bit of entertainment--street fairs, art fairs, flea markets, any kind of market, especially outdoors, where people mill around will welcome you--

You might even get an offer of a few dollars (or "quid" if you like that sort of thing) from the sponsors of the event to come back--They often have to drive vendors off with a stick, but don't know where to find entertainers--

Interesting instruments, like hammered dulcimers and such things are always a plus, and of course, it helps to play and identifiable sort of music(cowboy songs or Irish things, or ragtime or old jazz) better if people are familiar with it--and, for some reason, it helps to wear funny hat!!!

My record take was the equivalent of about $200 in today's dollars, taken in in 30 minutes--I would have been great, if I'd stopped at thirty minutes, but I went for thirty one and got arrested, and was eventually driven across the bridge to the next town, told never to come back, and tossed from the police cruiser--

I started doing the streetsinger thing one summer when the roadhouse where my band was booked to play burned to the ground. This event precipitated the kind of band conflict that is currently the subject of one of the other current threads--which ended with my being left with my guitar and backpack at a service station near Saugatuck, Michigan.

It seemed like as good a time as any to try "busking"--


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Subject: RE: 'Busking' for money?
From: Seamus Kennedy
Date: 25 Apr 00 - 03:20 AM

I busked in Dublin in the late 60's while going to UCD. It helped pay for the Guinness and Wimpey burgers we lived on. And then busked a bit in NYC and Boston in the early 70's before becoming a full-time performer. It's great training for anyone who wants to try performing full-time. You learn to cope with all sorts of adversity - weather, drunks, idiots, dogs, cops, etc., etc. All the best
Seamus


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Subject: RE: 'Busking' for money?
From: Seamus Kennedy
Date: 25 Apr 00 - 03:22 AM

Forgot to mention - busking is always done for money. It's an honorable trade.
Seamus


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Subject: RE: 'Busking' for money?
From: Gervase
Date: 25 Apr 00 - 06:01 AM

I busked regularly in London about 12 years ago, when it was quite lucrative - best set was on the day before Christmas Eve at St James's Park station when everyone passing was pissed; one hour garnered £90, a pound of brazil nuts, a fruit flan (in its box, not thrown) and six cans of strong lager. The average for an hour's playing is around £30. London is an awkward place to play however - on the Underground it's still illegal, and the transport police have few qualms about moving you on. Nevertheless, there are pitches on the tube network which have been in use for years. Among the best are the foot tunnel at South Ken en-route to the museums (where the accoustics will have your ears ringing if you play the box), Green Park at the interchange between Piccadilly and Victoria Lines (plenty to tourists dumping loose change on the way to Heathrow) and Bond Street (well-heeled shoppers with social consciences). Most such pitches work on a list system - turn up around 8am and, if you're the first, you start the list - hour-long sets scribbled down on the nearest white space on a poster or on a piece of paper which each musician passes on to the next to turn up. With some nifty use of the network you can get yourself around four pitches a day - though if you're moved on it's tough. There are licensed pitches - particularly at Covent Garden, but you have to audition for those, and the emphasis is on street theatre rather than musicianship. Be prepared for unpleasant behaviour from punters, though, particularly in the evenings and at weekends - drink does strange things to some people!


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Subject: RE: 'Busking' for money?
From: The Shambles
Date: 25 Apr 00 - 06:09 AM

I added the 'for money' bit because, busking is also a term used for playing along, 'by ear'.

Great stuff.


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Subject: RE: 'Busking' for money?
From: InOBU
Date: 25 Apr 00 - 07:38 AM

Good to hear that London is OK for busking. I find that much of not geting hassled has to do with knowing where to busk, and I never got to know London well.
As to licences, I have, as a matter of morals, never purchaced a licence to practice that trade that has belonged to us for thousands of years. We have always had a first get there - get the corner rule in Busking. One day, a few months ago on the Subway, and older gent gets off the train and comes over to me, and says, We have this spot in ten minutes. I look at him, as though he is daft, and say, Well, ... I dont think you do!? He pulls out a licence from our esteemed murderer, I mean Mayor, and says it is a BUSKING LICENCE! Well, I pack up and tell him that I never thought I would see the day when one busker moves another with a piece of papaer. As I told him and his mates, it is nothing but scabbing, and turning over the freedom of our trade to a government who has never had a part of it.
Larry


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Subject: RE: 'Busking' for money?
From: Little Neophyte
Date: 25 Apr 00 - 08:54 AM

MTed, how about when I go out and busk on the streets I wear an evening gown and mink stole instead of a funny hat while I play my banjo tunes?
I bought a Pig Nose baby amp, but now I have to build my courage and sharpen my skills before I feel comfortable on the streets.
One day I bet you'll see me out there

Little Neo


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Subject: RE: 'Busking' for money?
From: MMario
Date: 25 Apr 00 - 09:13 AM

Lil Neo - I bet evening gown, stole and banjo would probably do wonders for your take busking!


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Subject: RE: 'Busking' for money?
From: GUEST,FP
Date: 25 Apr 00 - 09:47 AM

OK, so we've heard stories of maximum takings ever, but for those who busk fairly regularly, what are your average takings per hour? Anytime I've tried it's been around £8, which is fine for me, and of course it's worth twice as much when people seem to be enjoying it and come up and talk to you. It does seem really cruel the way they often clamp down on buskers, but on the other hand there can be some really terrible ones - by anyone's standards - out there. Came across a guy with a tin whistle who couldn't even play three notes together, and sat permanently pretending he was about to play something, and actually getting payed for it! I suppose in the end the good buskers find it lucrative enough to keep at it, while the bad ones give up pretty soon. Democracy!


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Subject: RE: 'Busking' for money?
From: Grab
Date: 25 Apr 00 - 10:14 AM

Germany seems to be a good place for busking. The town centres (esp. in larger towns & cities) all seem to have many, many more buskers and other street performers than England does. Can't say how much they get though.

Grab.


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Subject: RE: 'Busking' for money?
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 25 Apr 00 - 10:32 AM

>Is busking for money in public places a good or a bad thing?

I think it is a good thing and it can brighten up a town. I also like other forms of street entertainment.

>Is it welcomed where you are or not?

It seems to get a mixed response in Llandudno and I would be inclined to say accpeted rather than welcomed.

>Can you actually make much money doing it?

It became increasingly difficult to make money busking in Llandudno. One factor was the recession. There ware also comments by one prime-minister (? Maggie - or was it John Major) that seemed to change attitudes round here and the New Age Traveler bit didn't seem to help at all.

The best time I had was just after I left Hotpoint in about 1990. At that time, I could pretty well be sure of making between £35-£40 for about 3 hours playing for at least 3 or 4 days a week on the main street in Llandudo which was not bad for a small town but I would be lucky to make £20 for the same amount of playing.

>Have you seen any good ones?

Yes, plenty. The best ones I have heard though have tended to be more organised groups in the cities.

How good you are, and how much money you make are not necessarily related. There used to be a lady in Chester (maybe still is) who had a melodoen and all she did was hold a few keys down and move the bellows in and out and I have seen her raking the money in.

In Llandudno, there was a youngish girl I know who used to dress up in Welsh costume and play the flute who managed to make 2-3 times more money than me on 2 tunes. I am not claiming that I am good but this person was a complete beginner and she had acutally asked me for help in learning tunes which I had given and continued to give.

The conclusion I reached was image is far more important when it comes to making money busking than quality. Unless of coure you are taliking about the more organised groups who can make a big sound.

Jon


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Subject: RE: 'Busking' for money?
From: GUEST,Mbo
Date: 25 Apr 00 - 10:38 AM

Image, eh? Hmmm...I guess I;ll have to find me a kilt then! My family thinks my Zoot Suit Folk idea is stupid...

--Mbo


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Subject: RE: 'Busking' for money?
From: alison
Date: 25 Apr 00 - 10:39 AM

I'm seriously considering dressing as a leprechaun and sitting at Circular Quay playing whistle and bodhran for the tourists...... there is a guy down there who dresses in full Scottish Highland dress who "plays" bagpipes really badly (how can you tell???*grin*)... and he rakes in the money because he looks the part.. and he's something you don't expect to find in Oz.......

here is an older thread where people tell of their experiences both nice and nasty while busking....

slainte

alison


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Subject: RE: 'Busking' for money?
From: Petr
Date: 25 Apr 00 - 01:08 PM

Ive busked in front of the Castle in Edinburgh (only for a few minutes) as I happened to chat with a fiddle player there and he let me play and I made some money for him. Ive also busked a few times on the ferries from Vancouver to Victoria or the Gulf islands. Generally if you find an out of the way spot so youre not intruding on peoples space like in the hallway people will stop and listen. Ive had a little crowd build up with kids dancing and people listening. Its really nice to play for people who appreciate it. I made about $15 (canadian) thats about $10 us. and people are more likely to come and chat with you. Ive had people ask me whether Im from Cape Breton and Japanese tourists take pictures. I think Vancouverites are a bit cheap when it comes to buskers. Ive had friends who busked elsewhere say they make more money than here. There is a touristy spot called Granville Island with Galleries and public market where you pay $10 for a one year busking license and come in the morning and they have a lottery for the best busking spots (its very democratic). There are smaller spots you can just sign up for on a sheet (1/2 hour slots). I play fiddle there with a guitarist sometimes and usually we make about $20-$30 in an hour. Usually the large outdoor spots you can make $200 in an hour during the prime times (1 or 2pm wkend afternoons). THere are no auditions although oddly enough if you are a balloon artist you have to demonstrate your skill (I think thats great). There are a lot of regulars who seem to do it just for the money. I mean does every city in the world have a Peruvian band with panflutes etc. Some people have drum machines and canned music in the background (which I dont think should be allowed) there is a whole debate about amplified music although if youre in a large crowded area outside you wont be heard. Anyway I enjoy doing it, you learn who your real friends are too. Ive had friends stop by and listen for 10-15 min. and not drop a nickel. CHeers Petr.


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Subject: RE: 'Busking' for money?
From: M. Ted (inactive)
Date: 25 Apr 00 - 01:51 PM

I will defer to everyone on money questions and all, having not played the streets for quite a long while--but Bonnie, the evening gown and mink are a great idea--It gives people something to talk about when they get home!!!!

For me, being out on the street was about connecting with people, having fun, and making them have fun--I always tried to hook people in--I used to make up verses about the people who walked by, or I'd ask people things about themselves, and put them in to songs--If there were others playing, I always tried to do something different so that I'd be remembered--

The best thing was to do that back and forth thing that the old blues guys used to do, which is to get across from someone and try to show each other up--with put downs, stealling each others songs, and all kinds of show off stuff--the trick being that you are really working the audience together--

My last street performance was somewhat spontaneous--some mumber of years ago I was in SF and waiting in the rain with the crowd for the cable car at Fisherman's Wharf--there were a number of people taking turns playing, but the response was nil, and the performer was making nasty remarks about the crowd's indifference--He took a break and was covering his equipment, so I just popped out into the center took off my hat, and sang "April Showers", then turned it into a sing-a-long--I gave my tips to Ol' Sourpuss--


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Subject: RE: 'Busking' for money?
From: The Shambles
Date: 25 Apr 00 - 03:15 PM

I think the strangest place I found a busker, well it was not strange at all really, for it was exactly the right place. A piper in the Pass Of Glencoe, in The Highlands of Scotland.

Well in the lay-by at the side of the road. There must have been more than one, for there seemed to be one playing all the times we went past. I think they must do pretty well there but it must be a little chilly standing there all day in a kilt?

But in all truth, it did sound pretty damn good in that setting.


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Subject: RE: 'Busking' for money?
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 25 Apr 00 - 03:23 PM

A few years ago, the Minneapolis city council passed an ordinance that you have to have a license to busk. Then they refused to issue any licenses. One busker sued them and won. They were forced to issue him a license. I don't know how many licenses they have issued since then, but busking is still pretty rare here.

As my wife said, you have to practice anyway. Why not practice in public and get paid for it? (She doesn't practice what she preaches, however.)

I once heard a busker at a downtown bus stop during rush hour. He had parked himself near where well dressed suburbanites were waiting for an express bus to take them home. He sang a song to the tune of "The Ballad of the Green Berets" where the refrain was "Won't you die, you yuppie scum?" I admire that kind of guts. I guess the moral is, you can afford to take more risks when you busk.

Another line I remember from his song was, "No bargain basement anymore." He made a point that I had never thought about before: downtown has been taken over by yuppies. There is no place downtown for poor or working-class people to shop. Walgreen's has closed, Montgomery Ward has closed, and Dayton's bargain basement has closed. We now have Nieman Marcus and Sharper Image. Nothing makes a point like singing in the midst of the very stuff you are singing about.


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Subject: RE: 'Busking' for money?
From: GUEST,ben
Date: 25 Apr 00 - 03:58 PM

In Newcastle upon Tyne there is fabulous arcade, The Central Arcade in which is Windows a music shop which at one time was reputed to have the best record (I'm talking History here)catalogue after the HMV shop in Oxford St. Students used to busk in there, playing classical pieces, and keeping their instuments protected. Another guy used to play Irish tunes on a penny whistle outside Fenwicks and dance a doll to slip jigs and reels (geddit?). he used to fill a deep hat a bit like Hosses (Ponderosa) without the brim.


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Subject: RE: 'Busking' for money?
From: GUEST,Twitchy
Date: 25 Apr 00 - 03:58 PM

...There are a number of Mudcatter's we'd gladly pay to never perform or, who should be paying all of us, to listen...


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Subject: RE: 'Busking' for money?
From: Peter T.
Date: 25 Apr 00 - 08:54 PM

There are hints scattered hereabouts about what works, but could those with experience be more explicit? What works? For example, do you pause between songs, or just keep going? Where do you put your hat, guitarcase, whatever? Do you put money in it, to start it off? What tunes work?

I wonder because, for instance, in the city (Toronto) where I live, I notice that amateur (?inexperienced?) buskers seem to pick the worst places -- for instance, at the turn in corridors when no one is going to stop because they are already on the move, and don't want to be hit by someone from behind and so on. It is like hitchikers (not that there are many anymore) who clearly had no experience, and would stand at the place where cars had to accelerate.
Any good tips we should know about? What works?

yours, Peter T.


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Subject: RE: 'Busking' for money?
From: Willie-O
Date: 25 Apr 00 - 09:45 PM

What works? Well, try to look like a performer, not a street person. You don't need an extensive repertoire except to amuse yourself and any nearby street vendors, because nobody stays to listen to more than two numbers at most. You can take as many or as few breaks as you like, you're working for yourself. Location, location location: the universal formula is find the place with the most pedestrian traffic flow, and the least extraneous noise. Preferably where the sidewalk is extra wide or something, so a couple of people stopping won't jam up traffic flow.

Where you put your case is very important. It's got to be right accessible to the traffic flow, so they can contribute without the psychological difficulty of breaking through a ring of listeners to come close to you, but close enough that you can supervise the contents, put some change over the paper if there is any (not much of an issue in Can. any more I guess)

Street drunks are your biggest problem unless you are breaking the law by being there. If they start hanging around, time to pack up and move.

I played mostly hammered dulcimer in my successful busking days--an ideal instrument in that it's loud, tuneful and unusual. But I did it so much that I got sick of the dulcimer, which I now play about once a year.

Ottawa had a licencing system for buskers for awhile, but they gave up on it. Yay! I've also played Montreal (good), Toronto (most lucrative) and Vancouver (you're considered a panhandler there, it seems like. Just didn't get a good vibe.)


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Subject: RE: 'Busking' for money?
From: Seamus Kennedy
Date: 25 Apr 00 - 11:01 PM

Bonnie and Alison, love the costume selections! Bonnie, perhaps a pair of cocktail (elbow-length) gloves with the fingertips cut out as well. Alison, how about a traditional Irish step-dancing costume with the Celtic knotwork front instead of a leprechaun outfit? There's nothing wrong with looking like a performer. All the best
Seamus


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Subject: RE: 'Busking' for money?
From: Crowhugger
Date: 25 Apr 00 - 11:45 PM

Willie-O is right about location location location ... I would add that part of a good location is where people will have their money handy. For example, around a free art show was dumb. Where people are in mind of spending is part of the equation.

"Image is everything." Yup!! Made diddly in the hot weather the last two summers during Parry Sound's Festival of the Sound (3 glorious weeks of international chamber music talent for about $200 Can., plus accommodation). When it was too hot to "dress" I made less money than when I wore scarf, hat and generally too much flowing girl-stuff.

Little Neo, in the dead of a Toronto summer, make that gown strapless, have air conditioning installed in the stole and go for it. People love the banjo.

Repertoire? What repertoire? Three songs are plenty; the variety was for myself:

-one fiddlish tune
-one familiar song (King of the Road paid well from an older crowd)
-one a capella show-off song, sad & slow (best money of all -- I guess it's different -- so I'm going to learn a couple more).
-St. Louis Blues

Same as Willie-O, any more than that was for my own amusement or practice. Frankly, it paid better not to stray too far from the tried and true. Once I hit the formula, the practising was done back at camp.


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Subject: RE: 'Movies' for money?
From: Crowhugger
Date: 26 Apr 00 - 08:23 AM

'Hot-dog vending' for money?
'Groceries' for money?
'Doctoring' for money?
'CDs' for money?

Tee-hee ;-) I can just see that last thread coming up in Sony-chat, the one before it as an editorial in the Journal of the American Medical Association. **snort**


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Subject: RE: 'Busking' for money?
From: alison
Date: 26 Apr 00 - 08:49 AM

Seamus.. there's a few already doing that.. wear the costume... put on a CD of Riverdance loudly in the backgroud and leap about and pretend you know what you're doing....not very convincing....... I'll aim for the "look at that cute little faery person" end of the market..... hahaha

slainte

alison


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Subject: RE: 'Busking' for money?
From: Terry Allan Hall
Date: 26 Apr 00 - 09:25 AM

The best "busking" sites (in the Ft. Worth/Dallas area) for me and/or my trio are flea markets/swap meets.

All ya do is rent a space (usually about $15), and as long as you keep the volume low enough not to interfere with your neighbor's business, all is well.

Last time my trio did a flea market, we cleared, after expenses, a bit over $90 per, over the course of 3 hours.

Basically, it can be a paid rehearsal w/ instant feed-back!


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Subject: RE: 'Busking' for money?
From: Mooh
Date: 26 Apr 00 - 10:01 PM

To answer the original question, busking for money is a good thing. The money varies from shit to the average industrial wage or beyond if you're lucky. I've seen some lousy and some great buskers. The best was likely an 11 string classical guitarist. Though I did see a world famous fiddle player accept Canadian Tire money when some tight-ass situation prevented the acceptance of cash...I don't recall the exact details...

I've only busked a few times because I'd rather do it in strange (to me, meaning unfamiliar) places, though I've an idea to do alot more this season.

The world today needs more buskers. It's good for the collective soul.

Peace, Mooh.


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Subject: RE: 'Busking' for money?
From: M. Ted (inactive)
Date: 27 Apr 00 - 11:09 AM

Mooh--You are so right--it is good for everyone!!

Peter--What works depends on what you can make work--I had an acquaintance who dressed up in a sort of monks robe, with a tape player and speakers hidden underneath, and sang songs from "Fiddler on the Roof"--it was painful for me to watch, but he enjoyed it, and did quite well--

Terry--I am glad that you mentioned this--it seems like a really great idea!


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Subject: RE: 'Busking' for money?
From: Molly Malone
Date: 27 Apr 00 - 12:29 PM

Best busking in Phoenix...like anyone would brave the 80 degree nightime temps....:)

...is actually in Tempe. You have to have a permit, but you don't have to audition. Here's the catch. You can't sit on the sidewalk. We actually have a law that says you can't sit on the sidewalks in Tempe!

Too many of the Sunshine Kids, or whatever they are calling themselves, camp out on the sidewalks and make foot traffic difficult. So the city passed an ordinance about not sitting on the sidewalks.

Bring a stool.

And you can do VERY well here. Especially weekend nights.


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Subject: RE: 'Busking' for money?
From: Marion
Date: 27 Apr 00 - 02:25 PM

Hmm... I've never busked intentionally, but occasionally I play outdoors in public places, like when waiting to meet somebody, or to give my apartment-building-neighbours a break from my fiddle atrocities.

I've never put a case or hat out in front of me, but three times people have come and given me coins, once somebody tried to give me a hot dog, and my favourite reward: once, when I had been playing the fiddle for only four months, I was practicing outside and someone asked me if I was a professional.

Maybe this summer I'll put a case out and see if I can get some paper money, or good vegetarian food...

Marion


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Subject: RE: 'Busking' for money?
From: GUEST,Rich(stupidbodhranplayer......)
Date: 27 Apr 00 - 05:31 PM

The best place I've ever busked (accompanying a fiddler, not just baaanging my drum at strangers), was by the entrance of a movie theater. It had 6 movies all starting within a window of about 15 or 20 minutes. We started a little bit before the first one and played til just after the last one began. Took a 2 hour break and did the same thing. Made about $40 apiece, and had a lot of fun in the process.

My $0.02

Rich


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Subject: RE: 'Busking' for money?
From: Kelida
Date: 27 Apr 00 - 11:10 PM

They're doing auditions for buskers in Cincinnati, but I don't have time to do it!!! It sounds like so much fun, but it's an every day job, and I have car payments and insurance and everything else I want to pay for. . . Maybe over the summer sometime I'll try up at one of our local flea markets here. That sounds like a good idea. I can get some of my musician friends to come up with me. Even if we don't make a lot of money, it will still be a good time. . .

Peace--Keli


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Subject: RE: 'Busking' for money?
From: GUEST, George
Date: 27 Apr 00 - 11:20 PM

Trust the Yanks to privatise busking.

You have no soul, you mega conglomerates.

Arise and conquer, I say.


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Subject: RE: 'Busking' for money?
From: M. Ted (inactive)
Date: 28 Apr 00 - 10:55 AM

I was going to say that auditioning and selling permits to streetsingers reminded me of the recruiting and collecting of fees from beggars, as practiced by Old Peachum, the "Poorest Man in London"---


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Subject: RE: 'Busking' for money?
From: Rt Revd Sir jOhn from Hull
Date: 03 Sep 01 - 09:44 AM


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Subject: RE: 'Busking' for money?
From: InOBU
Date: 03 Sep 01 - 09:46 AM

Hear hear... though well... some of us ARE trying to avoid the assoiation of busking with begging... begging is what you do to get your band to behave... Larry


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Subject: RE: 'Busking' for money?
From: GUEST,Nick
Date: 03 Sep 01 - 11:52 AM

Busking in Paris (subway/Metro) used to be a well-recognised tradition - supposedly Paul Simon and even Jimi Hendrix did it - certainly Ralph McTell did - and so did I - for about 3 years - made a reasonable (but not lavish) living... However, in 1979, people started playing in the trains, instead of just in the corridors, and so people started to get sick of it... now people are begging (CONSTANTLY) in the trains as well, and music in the corridors has pretty much died out. I never liked having someone "bottle" (pass the hat) - I just used to put the guitar case in front of me - primed with a couple of coins, just so it was clear what I was there for. Wellknown songs are best of course - in those days, if you could do a reasonable version of Simon & Garfunkel, Beatles, Eagles, etc, that was a good bet. My Kristofferson/Waylon/Leonard Cohen imitations were a bit obscure, but still, I did OK... Nick


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Subject: RE: 'Busking' for money?
From: GUEST
Date: 04 Sep 01 - 02:49 AM


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Subject: RE: 'Busking' for money?
From: GUEST,Joerg
Date: 04 Sep 01 - 08:42 PM

Sorry for not having read the complete thread, but to answer your question, Shambles:

1. It is a GREAT thing.

2. I really can't tell how it is welcomed in general but personally I appreciate it very much, and I suspect other people to appreciate it too, even if they don't tell it.

3. I doubt but I don't know.

4. YES! I was especially impressed about 20 years ago by some guy in Freiburg who played a guitar AND a lute (not at the same time of course) and did real German folk songs I never had been aware of (wasn't there a discussion on that recently?). He looked as if he did make some money with it.

Hope that helps

Joerg


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Subject: RE: 'Busking' for money?
From: Rt Revd Sir jOhn from Hull
Date: 30 Mar 02 - 04:22 AM

I have heard about a buskers festival/competition somehere in the UK, does anybody know when and where it is? Thanks.john


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Subject: RE: 'Busking' for money?
From: InOBU
Date: 30 Mar 02 - 07:35 AM

More important... do they allow busking????????? Larry


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Subject: RE: 'Busking' for money?
From: InOBU
Date: 30 Mar 02 - 07:36 AM

Yes your honor, I do pleed guilty on the charge of busking at the busking festival... Couldn't ya see that in England??? (Or the US or Quebec?) Cheers Larry


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Subject: RE: 'Busking' for money?
From: The Shambles
Date: 30 Mar 02 - 08:34 PM

Generally busking is tolerated by our officials in public places, unless and until someone complains.

As with just about everything else in this country, sadly one complaint from one individual is worth more than than the lack of complaints from many who enjoy or ignore the activity.

The Busker's Ball of Bolton England

I always thought that busking needed at least two of them?


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Subject: RE: 'Busking' for money?
From: Marion
Date: 30 Mar 02 - 08:47 PM

Larry, have you ever tried busking at a festival? (I mean as a free agent, not trying to get a booking with the festival). I'd be curious to know how they deal with that.

Often when I tell people about my busking, they mention festivals, but to be honest, I see very little connection between the festivals and what I do.

Marion


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Subject: RE: 'Busking' for money?
From: InOBU
Date: 30 Mar 02 - 10:24 PM

Close to festivals, not in em... on major access roads, footpaths, yup... sometimes good responce, some times not, race weeks in Ireland, festival like, were good also... if you want into a festival, best to give them a call. Cheers Larry


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Subject: RE: 'Busking' for money?
From: Les from Hull
Date: 31 Mar 02 - 08:48 AM

I'm not that keen on people busking at festivals, mainly because there are usually better players and singers doing it for nothing in the pubs. I appreciate that buskers have to have a wider appeal to the 'general public', and it's often the material that I find lacking. But as long as it's not over-amplified, I'm happy enough.


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Subject: RE: 'Busking' for money?
From: InOBU
Date: 31 Mar 02 - 02:27 PM

Hi Les.... "mainly because there are usually better players and singers doing it for nothing in the pubs" and doing what to pay the rent? Working for IBM perhaps? Musicians are workers also, sometimes we have to go right to the sourse to get paid, especialy if you don't play rock and roll, but play... folk? Cheers, Larry


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Subject: RE: 'Busking' for money?
From: hesperis
Date: 31 Mar 02 - 03:24 PM

How is it in Burlington, anyone know?
I might like to do some flute stuff when the weather gets better, if even just to practice. (No, I don't want a silver flute frozen to my lips, thanks!)


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Subject: RE: 'Busking' for money?
From: Les from Hull
Date: 31 Mar 02 - 03:28 PM

That was me talking about busking at festivals, which is often a 'carrying coals to Newcastle' thing (perhaps there's a more appropriate American adage?). I've no problem with buskers - perhaps some day I'll be out there myself!

There can be a problem at festivals if buskers are occupying street spots used by the festival for outdoor stuff (dance displays, mummers plays...). The buskers that I've met have always been very accomodating, though. I agree that when that is the case, the festival and the public can only be the winners. Although I do remember one hot summers day in Whitby (I must have a good memory!) when an official singaround had to compete with a trumpet player outside. That wasn't so much fun.

Les


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Subject: RE: 'Busking' for money?
From: InOBU
Date: 31 Mar 02 - 04:05 PM

Hi Les... we actually say Coals to New Castle here as well, as well as ice to escamos, and I agree trumpet playing buskers should be given more space than money often... sorry if there are any trumpet playing buskers out there, volume is not everything... Cheers Larry


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Subject: RE: 'Busking' for money?
From: alanabit
Date: 01 Apr 02 - 02:35 PM

It's a perennial problem, isn't it Larry? Loud buskers often stop others from working. THe balance I want to achieve is to make enough noise so that people can hear me, but not so much that I am shutting out other folks...


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Subject: RE: 'Busking' for money?
From: Bull Am
Date: 06 Sep 02 - 08:41 AM

I'm living as a musician in Rennes, France, and I busk all the time. The plus in a non anglophone community (besides being able to mess up the lyrics and no one knowing) is that just the fact that one is singing Irish songs, American songs, or English songs is a draw. Grandfather's Clock, Dirty Old Town, Cecilia are all big money makers. Plus, if one makes an attempt to play French songs (I stick to Georges Brassens), the French are so honored and so amazed that an anglophone has gone to the trouble, that they're sure to contribute.


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Subject: RE: 'Busking' for money?
From: Caz
Date: 06 Sep 02 - 01:40 PM

I've busked before and in my opinion I would say it was a good thing to do. Bringing music to the streets seems to lift your spirits, well it does mine anyway. It is welcomed in my home town of York and I love it all, no matter what people are playing. As for making money at it, well I've never made more than £30 over 3 sessions! I refuse to accept that it was my singing, playing or delivery, more like the average person in the street does not listen, hear or understand. But on a positive note there are always the few who smile, stop for a while or tell you it's nice as they go past and to me that's worth it. I have seen some good buskers and some bad ones but so what, they always get money from me because I've been there!

Carole


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Subject: RE: 'Busking' for money?
From: Allan Dennehy
Date: 07 Sep 02 - 07:16 AM

Here's my advice for people who want to start up. You need a loud guitar and a big voice, otherwise the background noise of the street will drown you out. The narrower the street, the better your voice will bounce back of the other side. Don't take a break if a few people have stopped, pull out your best material and try to build up a crowd. It is, in my experience, at least 10 times more frightening to busk for the first time than get up on a stage for the first time. Bring another musician with you if your'e nervous. You've gotta play a few times before you start learning the tricks, don't give up after one bad experience. You'll meet a lot of nice people. I just love it when the little kids pull up their mothers dead in the street and stare with their mouths open.

Here's a couple of busker stories; a guy was singing a Bruce Springsteen song on the streets of Copenhagen years ago. The Boss was walking by, stopped, joined in and did a couple of songs with him!

We had an exceptionally nasty drunk hassling us, couldn't get rid of him by conventional means, then he makes a move on our money in the middle of a song. I sang, played my guitar and kicked him where the sun don't shine all in one move without missing a beat. The crowd liked it and it sure felt good.


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Subject: RE: 'Busking' for money?
From: alanabit
Date: 07 Sep 02 - 08:13 AM

I sympathise with your attitude towards the drunken idiot who wanted your crowd. I used a slightly different approach. I told the drunk straight faced that he was going to leave. Then I looked at the crowd and told them that I did not want one drunk spoiling the entertainment for everyone. I also told them that although I was quite confident in my ability to remove him, I was less confident in my ability to make it look nice. So I asked them politely if two big gentlemen would come forward and remove the pest without violence. Everyone smiled and it worked a treat. (Your drunk did not deserve any better than the treatment you gave him, but I would not recommend doing the same on a regular basis!)


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Subject: RE: 'Busking' for money?
From: GUEST,Bman
Date: 07 Sep 02 - 08:55 AM

Long John Baldry had a song about being arrested for busking called, if memory serves, "Don't Try to lay no Boogie Woogie on the King of Kock and Roll", very funny.


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Subject: RE: 'Busking' for money?
From: alanabit
Date: 07 Sep 02 - 12:25 PM

Elvis Costello got busted for busking back in the seventies. I bet the record company paid the fine. The publicity did him no harm at all!


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Subject: RE: 'Busking' for money?
From: GUEST,Al
Date: 08 Sep 02 - 02:09 AM

Although it has been many years since I've busked on the street,

Busking is not begging. Asking for spare change without doing anything for it is begging.

It's fun.

You sometimes get to meet other musicians that might turn into lifelong friends.

If you're having a good day and attracting a big crowd, that's when the po-lice will chase you away. Consider it an honor.

For reasons I don't understand, the tune that generated the most money was MISSISSIPPI SAWYER.

Al


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Subject: RE: 'Busking' for money?
From: hesperis
Date: 09 Sep 02 - 10:19 AM

I posted a story here about my first time busking in Toronto. I was really nervous, had to drag a friend into it.


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Subject: RE: 'Busking' for money?
From: GUEST,Rudy Jacket - electric violinist
Date: 24 Dec 12 - 01:22 PM

I was a busker during 18 years ... it is the truth of life ... it is living the moment ... nothing is programmed ... I made 8 miles a day with my violin ... just walking around ... and play ... 4 everybody ... never counted the money during my walk ... just at home in the caravan ... and u earn with what u don't spend!


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Subject: RE: 'Busking' for money?
From: ollaimh
Date: 24 Dec 12 - 07:18 PM

well i busked on and off for twenty or thirty years. i did a lot of other jobs but busking, and what ever gigs i could scrape up were my main occupation for much of that time. i did the toronto subway syatem. it is good money most of the time. the audition system has advantages but they need temproary licences for people passing through. over the years most busking places in canada have created more and more rules that make it harder and harder to make good money. toronto had a half mad ttc operations officer gary webster who was a fanatic about enforcinf anti bisking rules. they used to send a busking enforecement officer around at christmass to give out infraction notices for such terrible crimes as playing off the designated spot or in a station where they didn't allow busking. the one good thing mayor rob ford did was fire webster. he was so fanatical he authorized hundreds of man hours of ttc police time to chase after an illegal uimmigrant who busked for years--mostlky legally, because the busker told him off once. this thousands of dollars wasn't spent to chase a criminal or fraud articst or pickpocket in the ttc, of which there are many, no a classical piano player who was a bit mouthy. webster didn't identify himself and just approached and told him to change his methods. when bureaucrats get involved nothing good happens.

i used to lay low and just keep looking for new spots.

and by the way louder isn't better--it's dumber.. do an act thats actually interesting and you don't need the best spots nor the perfect night. i play celtic harp mandolin and bouzouki and a few other things and i did almost as well at low use stations as high use ones.there were some stations no one else played where i was doubling the money i made in the "in demand stations". no one else did but if you do something interesting you'll do fine, and the loud buskers with loud voices do turn a lot of the passersby off. so really learn to play well and do something interesting and you don't have to be loud and you don't irritate people.

i only do it occasionally now. i'm retired in a smal city. if i moved back to toronto or vancover id do it again.

i did the west coast, colorado and parts of europe as well. there are a lot of nice places to play, they all have their advantages and disadvantages , you just have to figure them out. i did the street in toronto and many other places as well.

it is also good to move around. how are they going to miss you if you don't go away?

i used to do well in montreal and although the people are really nice, its isn't as good for the money. i only did quebec city a few times, both before the auditions.

my over all favourite place was vancouver, but the downtown poverty has changed the translink scene a lot. there are too many beggers out there now. still its worth it. west coasters are a lot less mannerly than toronto or even most american cities so you have to be able to absorb a lot of hostility. but then if you can't stand cat calls then you shouldn't be busking--iyt ain't carnigie hall. i used to love the view of the water and the mountains from the sea bus stations in vancouver, but the union scabs banned the buskers there. increasingly there are bureaucrats and unions guys banning busking. i hope the trend reverses but i am out of it now so i don't lobby much/ and finallky socan in canad ais charging for busking spots. that has caused a lot of people to restrict or ban busking so as to save socan payments. a really disgusting situstion where one group of musicians is parisitic on another and it has destroyed the livelyhood of many former full time buskers.

but if i had to i'd be right back at it.


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Subject: RE: 'Busking' for money?
From: GUEST
Date: 17 Jul 14 - 06:09 PM

My son is a busker in colorado


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Subject: RE: 'Busking' for money?
From: GUEST,Any guest you like
Date: 17 Jul 14 - 08:00 PM

Why else would you do it?

Can't be arsed to read the rest of the thread.


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Subject: RE: 'Busking' for money?
From: Airymouse
Date: 17 Jul 14 - 09:55 PM

Would someone provide a definition of the verb "busk"? (I have a copy of the O.E.D. so I know the meanings it provides.) Does it mean to perform some form of music in public with, or without, compensation? I live in Southwest Virginia, and I have never heard anyone use that word. Is it a recent word, or does it hark back to the days of yore when a shire reeve was lief to leave a fief in peace? thanks


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Subject: RE: 'Busking' for money?
From: GUEST
Date: 18 Jul 14 - 02:22 AM

busk: probably from Italian buscare (to procure, gain), from Spanish buscar (to look for). First Known Use: 1857

According to t'interweb.


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Subject: RE: 'Busking' for money?
From: GUEST,Desi C
Date: 18 Jul 14 - 06:33 AM

I've done a bit of Busking in Ireland, Kilkenny. Buskers are very much welcomed there, in fact there is a very good buskers competition in Sept. 've done very little as I'm very lasy and have very bad Arthritis. But one guy I know there told me he averages 60 Euros a day in Summer, more on festival weeks. You can certainly make a living at it if you put the hours in. I was sitting outside a pub one day just tuning my guitar when a couple walked past and dropped a two Euro coin intio my hat ;)


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Subject: RE: 'Busking' for money?
From: GUEST,ollaimh
Date: 18 Jul 14 - 01:15 PM

I have busked much of north America and parts of Europe, even morocco--it wasn't very good, but I tried.

I am of two minds about the licences. they are poping up all over Canada and they do harm the travelling busker--which used to be part of the tradition and the real lifestyle of a busker. ilived in a van several times in my life and travelled around playing wherever looked promising. hwoever I am getting old and have mobility problems. a licence protects me from the young toughs now..

I had a licence in Toronto for over a decade. the licence was a god send to keep the bullying anglo away. sorry , but the ontario born anglos expect and demand special treatment and preferential spots. that's just the way it is. but most of the really aggressive can't get a licence because they can't pass the audition, and if they get past the audition they usually get in too many fights and get kicked out.

so as a partially handicapped person the licence was a real protection when I couldn't walk well and couldn't easily defend myself.

don't get me wrong, the public in Toronto are fantastic to buskers. it's a great place to play. the trouble comes from other musicians and mostly Ontario born anglo musicians. there is areal residue of the british empire in Toronto, more than england in many ways> they created a buskers ttc union and kicked oujt buskers who weren't anglo but wanted to discuss the threats and violence against other musicians--really screwy(the busker union organizers were all Toronto anglos)

however the down side is the longer licences exist the more jerk off bureaucrats create rules to regulate the busking-- and often ruin it. ttc gave in to socan to collect socan royalities for busking spots. the legistation and regulations probably do not cover busking but they agve in and thus they eliminate half the legal spots to afford to pay socan. to collect twenty five thousand a year socan eliminated spots that would make working musicians two to three hundred thousand a year==spread among a hundred or more regular musicians(legal and illegal). it's a travesty.

hwoever I still buck part time. local markets and other promising spots. I'm old and grey, I get pity mony now on top of skill money. the youngest and oldest buskers get extra money for their particular infirmities.


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Mudcat time: 25 May 2:59 AM EDT

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