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busking vacation

ridge plucker 26 Jan 07 - 07:13 AM
Scrump 26 Jan 07 - 07:39 AM
alanabit 26 Jan 07 - 07:50 AM
ridge plucker 26 Jan 07 - 07:55 AM
bubblyrat 26 Jan 07 - 07:59 AM
Sorcha 26 Jan 07 - 08:03 AM
GUEST, Topsie 26 Jan 07 - 12:11 PM
GUEST,open mike 26 Jan 07 - 06:24 PM
GUEST,Bardan 27 Jan 07 - 07:21 AM
Jim Lad 29 Jan 07 - 11:17 PM
GUEST,reggie miles 29 Jan 07 - 11:43 PM
Jim Lad 30 Jan 07 - 01:10 AM
GUEST,musicmic 30 Jan 07 - 01:32 AM
alanabit 30 Jan 07 - 02:00 AM
Jim Lad 30 Jan 07 - 02:32 AM
GUEST,billbunter 30 Jan 07 - 09:21 AM
Sorcha 30 Jan 07 - 10:00 AM
GUEST,LilyFestre 30 Jan 07 - 10:45 AM
GUEST,Angry Raisins 30 Jan 07 - 10:47 AM
Jim Lad 30 Jan 07 - 10:50 AM
Sorcha 30 Jan 07 - 10:53 AM
Jim Lad 30 Jan 07 - 12:13 PM
GUEST,billbunter 30 Jan 07 - 12:17 PM
GUEST,guest ridge plucker 30 Jan 07 - 01:12 PM
breezy 30 Jan 07 - 04:53 PM
Jim Lad 30 Jan 07 - 07:36 PM
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Subject: busking vacation
From: ridge plucker
Date: 26 Jan 07 - 07:13 AM

Hi,

I was wondering if there is anyone out there that has thrown their instruments in their auto and just busked their way across the country. Sort of like a hippie vacation. What was it like and did you run into any troubles?

Pete


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Subject: RE: busking vacation
From: Scrump
Date: 26 Jan 07 - 07:39 AM

Are you in the US? I ask because there may be different laws from the UK there (I'm in the UK myself). I assume the laws wherever you are will have some bearing on what you are able to do.


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Subject: RE: busking vacation
From: alanabit
Date: 26 Jan 07 - 07:50 AM

There are plenty of busking threads here. I should search the site and have a look at some of them. Good luck!


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Subject: RE: busking vacation
From: ridge plucker
Date: 26 Jan 07 - 07:55 AM

I'm in PA usa. I have read a lot of the posts on busking and they seem to be mostly people that are in one city doing it for a living or money on the side. I was wonder if anyone just set out and had a musical adventure.

Pete


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Subject: RE: busking vacation
From: bubblyrat
Date: 26 Jan 07 - 07:59 AM

I did a lot of Busking outside Hanover station in Germany. Every German person who spoke to me /us ,thought I was an American !! It was quite deflating !!(Sorry,American Cousins, no insult to you intended !! )


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Subject: RE: busking vacation
From: Sorcha
Date: 26 Jan 07 - 08:03 AM

Several years ago Mudcatter Marian did this. She took her fiddle and back pack, hopped a bus and went all over the US. I'll see if I can find the thread.


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Subject: RE: busking vacation
From: GUEST, Topsie
Date: 26 Jan 07 - 12:11 PM

Laurie Lee did it in the 1930s in England and Spain, as recounted in As I Walked Out One Midsummer's Morning.


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Subject: RE: busking vacation
From: GUEST,open mike
Date: 26 Jan 07 - 06:24 PM

in the U.s. there are some advantages for folks from other countries.
for instance i believe bus and train passes may be available, which is how marian travelled around. I have known other musicians who went by bus. I am not sure theese unlimited passes are available to citizens here. but if you are planning on making enough to buy food and gas, this might be difficult.(especially if you hope to take care of lodging needs. too.)


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Subject: RE: busking vacation
From: GUEST,Bardan
Date: 27 Jan 07 - 07:21 AM

My dad did it for about seven years I think, as did a few relatives/friends of his. That was in the seventies or eighties though. Last time I tried busking my mate couldn't remember any of the tunes and we got moved on after about five minutes. (That was in France.)


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Subject: RE: busking vacation
From: Jim Lad
Date: 29 Jan 07 - 11:17 PM

Ridge Plucker: In 1998 I packed in my job, took one gig in Nova Scotia and drove over from Vancouver Island with all I owned in the trunk of the car. I lived for the next couple of months on my Busking earnings alone. I was a seasoned busker who could draw a crowd and make a couple of hundred in an hour. It's an art and not something that I would recommend to many. There are local bylaws and turf wars to contend with as well as the elements. Anyway, within a few months I had a decent house to live in and enough work to keep me going. Keep in mind: There is a huge difference between panhandlers and buskers, even if both can strum a guitar.


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Subject: RE: busking vacation
From: GUEST,reggie miles
Date: 29 Jan 07 - 11:43 PM

Jim, I'd be interested in knowing just what it is that you as a performance artist. A couple of hundred dollars an hour while busking sounds like quite a living. Care to share your secrets with us less fortunate types?


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Subject: RE: busking vacation
From: Jim Lad
Date: 30 Jan 07 - 01:10 AM

A couple of hundred dollars in an hour involves a lot of preparation.
Location, time of day, product, the ability to sing/play loud and well and the art of drawing complete strangers without causing them to distrust you. Keep in mind that you will also have to put in 2 or 3 one hour sets for $30 to $60 per hour, during the day in order to draw them out for the evening show and a one hour set is about all my voice could handle without amplification. I can go on if you want me to but I don't want to take up all the space here?


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Subject: RE: busking vacation
From: GUEST,musicmic
Date: 30 Jan 07 - 01:32 AM

If, I may expand for a moment, I think that busking may be the best venues available to acoustic, contemporary singers. The traditional venues (clubs, festivals, coffehouses) are few and, except for very established draws, they pay poorly. (Unlike rock, acoustic is not often presented in bars with bigger entertainment budgets). The big problem with busking is that it helps if people see you every day, get used to you and look forward to seeing you. That means that it is tougher to hit a town for a couple of days and clean up on the streets.
Good luck on your adventure.

                Mike


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Subject: RE: busking vacation
From: alanabit
Date: 30 Jan 07 - 02:00 AM

I am sure Jim is right. That sounds like Jim Taylor, Don Partridge and the other really top buskers, whom I saw at their best. It is possible, but it sure is no hit and miss affair.


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Subject: RE: busking vacation
From: Jim Lad
Date: 30 Jan 07 - 02:32 AM

If I may ... and without taking up too much room. Here is the Reader's Digest version of my experiences as a busker. If it's not to your liking, just skip over it.

Reggie: to answer your question. A busker is a wee folk singer in the same way that a Hummer is a big jeep.


If you get the chance to hear my song "The Troubadour" it's about the busking scene, as it was in the 1990's. The tune was taken from a Matt McGinn song which incorporated lines from The Rubyats of Omar Khayyam and was an old tune.
I worked as a Paramedic for many years and transferred to Victoria BC in 1995. There was a lively busking scene there and in 1996 I decided to try it out as a way of sharpening my skills. There is nothing more difficult than an indifferent audience (except for Scots and Golfers) and I was sure this would be a real test.
I bought a Busker's License for $10 and set up down on the Causeway.
My first sets were making me about $30 per hour and I was getting quite discouraged. My son who was about 12 or 13 at the time, went for a walk during one of my sets and when he came back, enlightened me on the art of busking. "Dad; You've got to get cheeky. That's what the good ones are doing." And so began the real Busker's Apprenticeship.
The very next set, I began speaking to people (between lines) as they passed me by. Never asked for money. Always smiling and never hurtful. Audience participation is the key to many forms of entertainment and the same goes for busking. One thing worth remembering too is that men are pigs so if you can involve young ladies in your show, men will watch and so will their families.
The Unicorn is an excellent song for this reason. If I can get 3 or 4 young women to do the actions then within the time it takes to sing the song, the audience will increase dramatically and the show begins. A crowd draws a crowd and when I felt that the crowd was large enough, I would play for twenty minutes more. Before the last song I would remind them all that I am a busker and would accept donations but always assured them that if they had already given to a busker that day or just wanted to enjoy a free show then that's fine by me. If I had product then that would also be the time (and the only time) to mention it.
My evening shows in Victoria drew more people than I could handle and usually netted $200 without product.
Later, in Cheticamp, Cape Breton I discovered a small band-shell on the boardwalk. I approached the Boardwalk Committee and was given permission to use the band-shell each Wednesday evening, free of charge. I coined the Phrase "Fair Weather Concerts" and they advertised the show with sandwich boards and gave me access to electricity and chairs. I dropped in to the local radio station and they were only too happy to advertise the show.
Each Wednesday evening I would take one of my sons, set everything up including my own P.A. and play two 45 minute sets, selling CDs at the intermission and at the end of the show. For the next three summers I was invited back.
I did the same in Chemainus a few years back and that town is now promoting a "Fair Weather Concert" series each summer which is proving to be an excellent venue for the young ones.
I would recommend trying the Band-Shell Concert to any of you who are interested in creating your own venue with no overheads. Busking though?... I'd be very careful about that.


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Subject: RE: busking vacation
From: GUEST,billbunter
Date: 30 Jan 07 - 09:21 AM

As a busker for many years and through many countries I take my hat off to you Jim lad. It's a difficult, demanding job requiring enormous skills about the the least of which is being able to play and sing.


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Subject: RE: busking vacation
From: Sorcha
Date: 30 Jan 07 - 10:00 AM

Guess ole ridgeplucker isn't all that interested anyway.


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Subject: RE: busking vacation
From: GUEST,LilyFestre
Date: 30 Jan 07 - 10:45 AM

Sorcha,

You'd be most wrong. He's been off his feet with Dr.'s orders for feet up due to an injury to his foot. Feet up = not going to work, not sitting at the computer, nada.

Mrs. RidgePlucker


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Subject: RE: busking vacation
From: GUEST,Angry Raisins
Date: 30 Jan 07 - 10:47 AM

I remember at the Edinburgh Festival one time, I was playing away while, among others, a large American fella (with wide, loud checked trousrs) was filming me on a hand-held but making not the slightest signs of actually throwing any dosh. Another (seasoned) Busker went by, and saw the situation at a glance, and said, "C'moan, gie's yer camera and I'll fillum ye pittin' in a coin..."


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Subject: RE: busking vacation
From: Jim Lad
Date: 30 Jan 07 - 10:50 AM

Should've said "A fiver".


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Subject: RE: busking vacation
From: Sorcha
Date: 30 Jan 07 - 10:53 AM

Ah, then, my hugest apologies, Mrs rigde! Was just wondering where he'd got to. Best wishes for the feet up!


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Subject: RE: busking vacation
From: Jim Lad
Date: 30 Jan 07 - 12:13 PM

Same here. Give him our best.


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Subject: RE: busking vacation
From: GUEST,billbunter
Date: 30 Jan 07 - 12:17 PM

Yes, the ubiquitous camera guy, always smiling, never punting. We had various strategies for them (usually dependent on whether there was 60p or 60 quid in the box). Stop and turn our backs and start pointing at the scenery or drinking coffee. Stand beside them and look where they are looking.... open verbal humiiation...


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Subject: RE: busking vacation
From: GUEST,guest ridge plucker
Date: 30 Jan 07 - 01:12 PM

Guys and Gals,

Thanks for your posts. They are very interesting to say the least.

Thanks,

Pete


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Subject: RE: busking vacation
From: breezy
Date: 30 Jan 07 - 04:53 PM

thanks Jim for sharing your experiences with us here.

are you still at it ?

If you're ever in St Albans, stop by, but not on my patch !


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Subject: RE: busking vacation
From: Jim Lad
Date: 30 Jan 07 - 07:36 PM

Yeah! Sorry for going on a bit. Was a real learning tool for me but I'm done with it. Sounds like you're still going strong though. If I'm ever in St. Alban's I'll throw some money at you but I'll make sure I roll it up in a ball first.
Pete: Best of luck with your ailment. I suppose professional soccer's not an option then?
Regards
Jim


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