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Discussions => General Discussion => Topic started by: Sandy on July 13, 2008, 11:55:06 PM

Title: busking
Post by: Sandy on July 13, 2008, 11:55:06 PM
So what's the story with melodeon busking? Assuming the place is good and the playing is up to scratch, what can you earn ?
just thinking of trying to earn a few pennies whilst the little ones are at school!
love to hear of any experiences, tips?
cheers,
Sandy.
 :-\
Title: Re: busking
Post by: Folkiekay on July 14, 2008, 02:59:06 AM
Hi Sandy,

I don't know anything about busking in the UK, so I'm no authority on that.  I have no idea how much you could make or where to do it or anything else, but I am a busker in Texas, and I have a great time and make enough to make it worth my time and effort.  I presented a workshop about it at the National Accordion Convention a few years ago in Texas, and there's a copy of the workshop paper on the website with tips and stories and some ideas about how to go about it.  Go check it out when you get a chance:  http:www.streetsqueeze.com 

It's a lot of fun and I wish you the best with your busking! :)

Kind regards,
Kay
Title: Re: busking
Post by: Malcolm Austen on July 14, 2008, 12:27:00 PM
Where is squeezy when you need him?
I remember seeing him busking in Oxford years ago with his tastefully lined hard case (Leopard skin or the like) open for donations. It occurred to me then that if you are good enough to pull it off it is a good way to get paid for practicing.
Title: Re: busking
Post by: george garside on July 14, 2008, 01:23:25 PM
So what's the story with melodeon busking? Assuming the place is good and the playing is up to scratch, what can you earn ?
just thinking of trying to earn a few pennies whilst the little ones are at school!
love to hear of any experiences, tips?
cheers,
Sandy.
 :-\

It helps to have at least 15 minutes worth of tunes you can play well  as you can keep repeating them  with a different audience of passers by.  It also hlps to play at least some tunes - perhaps non folk - non morris etc thaat  the passers by can identify with  ? a bit of music hall stuff -? a bit of skiffle -? happy wanderer,  Danny boy & other slow aires, a few waltzes etc etcetc.  The more they can identify with it the more they are likely to part with!

george
Title: Re: busking
Post by: Rees on July 14, 2008, 01:30:28 PM
Financially speaking, Christmas is always the best time to go busking.

Whatever tunes you play there is one tune that makes more money than all the rest.
Rudolph the Rednose Reindeer - they love it. Learn it well.

Fingerless mitts are essential at that time of year.

If you can dress up a bit in some sort of costume you will earn more.
Also novelty items like dancing puppets, etc. help the cash flow.

In the UK, many local authorities require some sort of street performers licence.
Best to check first.
Title: Re: busking
Post by: brianread on July 14, 2008, 07:45:18 PM
It sounds fun - perhaps we ought to have an ad hoc  "busking" workshop at Whitney in Nov (weather willing).
Title: Re: busking
Post by: Ebor_fiddler on July 14, 2008, 10:55:49 PM
Is lost busker about? He seems to work well whenever I've seen him in York. You do have to have a licence here though, and I believe you have to pass an audition too! Come out of the undergrowth Paul!
 ::)
Title: Re: busking
Post by: mikesamwild on July 15, 2008, 12:47:40 PM
I agree about overall presentation.
There was a guy at Whiby during Moor and Coast and he was dressed as Captain Birdseye with a dancing sailor doll and singing sea songs by the  tall ship.
He was doing well particularly from kids whose gradnparents were giving them the money!
Dave Wright used to have a Dancing Devil and again got quite a crowd. A little dog helps too!

Cheers
Mike
Title: Re: busking
Post by: baz parkes on July 15, 2008, 01:10:35 PM
A little dog helps too!

As long as its not a lurcher on a length of bailer twine.... :)

Baz
Title: Re: busking
Post by: Québécois on July 15, 2008, 03:59:29 PM
Check with shopping malls, many will hire singers and musicians especially during Christmas time.
Title: Re: busking
Post by: Paul Young on July 15, 2008, 11:44:05 PM
I'm a full time busker, and make what I consider to be a decent living out of it. Here are a few general notes:

1. As a melodeon player you're in a very fortunate position. I've busked with a few different instruments and the melodeon's the clear winner. It's loud, has more novelty value than a guitar or fiddle, works well on its own, and it get's everybody's feet tapping - and that's when they start reaching into their pockets...

2. 99% of all the requests you get will be for Danny Boy or Captain Pugwash. Learn them both!

3. Even if you're playing English or Scottish tunes, a lot of people (particularly American tourists) will ask you if you're Irish. Learn to say "Yes, I'm Irish" in the appropriate accent. They'll give you more money.

4. Contrary to popular belief, touristy places are not the most profitable. I busk in York because I live here and it's only 5 minutes walk to the centre (and petrol's getting too expensive for me to go and busk anywhere else, grumblegrumble...) but I earn quite a bit more money when I go out to smallish market towns with no tourists and, most importantly, no other buskers. The key to making lots of cash is having a monopoly, and also the element of surprise. ;o)

5. For the same reason, whilst Christmas and summer are ok, they're also the times when there are more buskers out, and when people are most expecting them. In my experience the best times of the year have been September and January (when the punters are still out but all the part time buskers have given up). Having said that, there's money to be made at any time, so don't wait - get out there and have a go!

Right, that's about as much wisdom as I can think of for the moment. I'll come back if I think of any more good ones.

Good luck and happy busking!
Title: Re: busking
Post by: joe on July 16, 2008, 09:11:42 AM
I'm going to have to try it some time, my current hometown Beverley is the ideal place!

I think its one of those things thats just difficult to do for the first time. Some friends and I were going to do it once but our bozouki player chickened out! We went to the pub instead ...
Title: Re: busking
Post by: Sandy on July 16, 2008, 09:52:47 AM
What a lovely lot you all are!

Thanks for lots of info. Off to the kitchen to learn Captain Pugwash!

Live nearish to some market towns, so that's good. Am a bus ride from Oxford but that might be like playing on the Hallowed Turf!!!

As for the little dog, my son has a little terrier on a lead but it's stuffed with foam and comes from China...could be a good prop.

As for time of year, summer and christmas holidays are not good because the childen are with me...and they would take every penny!! As for winter, then I would like a nice warm shopping centre, preferably outside a coffee and cake shop!! otherwise i'll have to practise playing with a woolly hat and coat on.

It's got to be worth a try combining the housewife bit and the busking bit!!

Suppose now I should check up on the legality of it all and get a licence if needed.

thanks again.

Sandy




Title: Re: busking
Post by: joe on July 16, 2008, 10:07:12 AM
I know in Oxford city that you have to get a permit. It's free, but there is a set of rules to follow.
Title: Re: busking
Post by: Spimbly on July 17, 2008, 11:42:59 AM
Here is Oxford's busking guideline thingies...assuming I didn't break the weblinking doobrymajig!

http://www.oxford.gov.uk/files/seealsodocs/72883/Buskers%20code%20of%20practice%202008%2003%2017.pdf (http://www.oxford.gov.uk/files/seealsodocs/72883/Buskers%20code%20of%20practice%202008%2003%2017.pdf)
Title: Re: busking
Post by: joe on July 17, 2008, 12:26:28 PM
Hmmm, does the Melodeon count as 'very loud'? and does playing one count as anti social behaviour? Could be a few problems ...
Title: Re: busking
Post by: Steve_freereeder on July 17, 2008, 06:42:49 PM
Here are Sheffield City Council's guidelines. They seem a little less restrictive than Oxford's.
http://www.sheffield.gov.uk/out--about/city-centre/buskers-and-street-entertainers

The best busking I ever had was in Llanelli way back in the 1980s. Playing anglo concertina in the Market precinct, I averaged 20 quid an hour on a few Saturday mornings. That was quite a tidy sum in those days.

I've also found Scarborough quite good too (on the main street - Westborough).

Sheffield's OK, but there are often too many buskers around on a Saturday, so shoppers' spare change gets a bit diluted :-(
Title: Re: busking
Post by: Rees on July 17, 2008, 11:23:39 PM
I was busking in Llanelli in the seventies, man, so there.  ;D
The money was pants (mingin, jank.......... sorry scandanian  ;))
... or perhaps your playing was better than mine Steve!  :'(
Title: Re: busking
Post by: Steve_freereeder on July 17, 2008, 11:55:34 PM
... or perhaps your playing was better than mine Steve!  :'(
I doubt it! I hadn't been playing for that long. I'd learnt a few tunes from young Terry Teague. But it was during the miners' strike, so perhaps people were more willing to part with their readies.
Title: Re: busking
Post by: Rees on July 18, 2008, 12:30:00 AM
Aye, I too was nobbut a beginner in those days. Still it's a great way to practice.
Shopkeepers used to harangue me with "If you've played that blimmin' tune once you've played it a hundred times!!!"

and my reply of course "Yes, but I'll get it right next time"

It was in Llanelli that I was busking with a sax player one Christmas. The weather was bitingly cold and we only had one pair of gloves between us which we shared in strict rotation. I wasn't too bad pumping my bellows in and out but my mate almost froze to his instrument. ::)
Title: Re: busking
Post by: baz parkes on July 18, 2008, 08:58:25 AM
It was in Llanelli that I was busking with a sax player one Christmas. Tbut my mate almost froze to his instrument. ::)
Morning Rees...if it'sthe sax player I'm thinking of, some of us might wish he had :)

When the Ironmen danced in the Basque Country a few of the band tried busking (Please add your own "Basquing" pun here........)

We ended up with less in the hat than we started with.  Now that takes skill...

Baz
Title: Re: busking
Post by: Rees on July 18, 2008, 02:35:19 PM
...if it's the sax player I'm thinking of, some of us might wish he had :)



ooooooh, scratch your eyes out! (but you are quite correct, it was our mutual friend the deaf kazoo player and don't you dare show him this)

LMAO  :D - according to my 12 year old niece, that's msn speak for "laughed my bottom off"
Title: Re: busking
Post by: C age ing on July 18, 2008, 02:48:01 PM
...if it's the sax player I'm thinking of, some of us might wish he had :)



ooooooh, scratch your eyes out! (but you are quite correct, it was our mutual friend the deaf kazoo player and don't you dare show him this)

LMAO  :D - according to my 12 year old niece, that's msn speak for "laughed my bottom off"
Rees,
As a tenor sax player and one you invited to blow a few choruses at the Boris nee Ken Thames Festival, it is my duty to copy this post to all the sax boards I know as part of my sworn duty as a member of The Saxophones Federation.
On the other hand, silence could be bought, maybe a MkVl Selmer. :-X :-X
Title: Re: busking
Post by: Rees on July 18, 2008, 03:13:17 PM
Oh poo, I've been rumbled!

It's a fair cop, guv............... kazoo in the post.  ::)
Title: Re: busking
Post by: Ebor_fiddler on July 18, 2008, 10:12:51 PM
Anybodt got a swannee whistle to go with it (as played by L. Armstrong esq.) ?

 :-* (I've wanted to use that one ever since I first saw it!)

 ;) Chris  :D  ;D
Title: Re: busking
Post by: Ebor_fiddler on July 18, 2008, 10:14:37 PM
D-mn th-t spellchecker!  :'(
Title: Re: busking
Post by: C age ing on July 19, 2008, 06:46:05 AM
Oh poo, I've been rumbled!

It's a fair cop, guv............... kazoo in the post.  ::)
Rees,
Could you make that a Bb as I'm pants at on the fly transpose.
Old Bill.
Title: Re: busking
Post by: Rees on July 19, 2008, 12:59:08 PM
Come on Bill, you can't be serious. Everyone knows you can't tune a kazoo. To change the key all you need to do is put a capo around your neck. ;D
Title: Re: busking
Post by: Steve_freereeder on July 19, 2008, 01:59:32 PM
My Sheffield City Council 'Authorised Busking Permit' came in the post today. Hooray! So I'm now an official, legit, licensed Street Entertainer ! 
Listen out, shoppers and get those s ready to bung in me box box.  :D
Title: Re: busking
Post by: C age ing on July 19, 2008, 05:30:47 PM
Come on Bill, you can't be serious. Everyone knows you can't tune a kazoo. To change the key all you need to do is put a capo around your neck. ;D
[/quote
Far from me to correct an Old Pro but capo-ing another part of the body might result in a greater key change range.
Title: Re: busking
Post by: Rees on July 20, 2008, 11:04:11 PM
Ouch!!! :-*