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Author Topic: Busking  (Read 4068 times)

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emrock

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Busking
« on: April 16, 2009, 06:09:10 PM »

A period of unemployment has spurred me to think about busking. I'm probably not the best player in the world, I've been playing for about a year, and play completely by ear.

Anyway was wondering if had any experience or knew anything about the legalities, specifically in London.
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Mike Higgins

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Re: Busking
« Reply #1 on: April 16, 2009, 06:15:28 PM »

Emrock

This might be of some interest to you.

http://forum.melodeon.net/index.php/topic,680.0.html

I have only busked once and was terrified when I started. It was good fun when I settled down so best of luck and tell us how you get on.

Mike
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george garside

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Re: Busking
« Reply #2 on: April 16, 2009, 06:23:29 PM »

?dark glasses & a false beard!
 ;)
george
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Owen Woods

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Re: Busking
« Reply #3 on: April 16, 2009, 08:38:27 PM »

I wouldn't worry about the busking laws. But then I'm of the opinion that any law that I do not agree with shouldn't be in place and therefore I shouldn't abide by, so I wouldn't listen to my advice. Thankfully I agree with a lot of them.

Busking is great fun, especially if you are with someone who is a good player...
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Tattyjacket

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Re: Busking
« Reply #4 on: April 16, 2009, 09:01:39 PM »

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HallelujahAl

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Re: Busking
« Reply #5 on: April 17, 2009, 10:38:13 AM »

I know that some quite serious sums of money can be made from street performance.  I'm a Salvation Army officer and therefore have had quite a few years experience in this area. I always apply for a local authority licence - doesn't matter whether I'm playing guitar, uke, concertina, melodeon or whether I've got a full brass band in tow (rare these days!). Often it's the local authority or shopping centres who come to me and ask me to play (I don't tell them I'm rubbish). Its worth asking around, talking to the powers that be, there's nothing quite like the aura of legitimacy when you're standing on a street corner broadcasting to all and sundry. And often you'll find that the local authorities or shopping centre managements will be open to the idea of having good quality street entertainment in order to encourage shoppers to keep shopping. Sadly, but quite rightly IMHO, what they don't want is stuff going on that they feel is out of (their) control and will be off-putting to shoppers and more importantly council tax payers. Legally most LA's now have By-Laws in place restricting or even banning busking without an official permit or licence.  That doesn't stop a lot of people of course - and very often you'll find that it's not enforced as long as you're not engaged in some other activity that is criminal or anti-social.  However the law is there - just as the Alps are - but you can get round 'em.

Another thing to do is of course test the water - find a location you think would be good and give it a try. Even if its just for 10 or 20 minutes - give it a go. You'll soon discover whether you've got the feel for it. Then give yourself a target - like the next Saturday try and do an hour (it'll fly by btw). Also don't just play what you want to play - you need to get a kind of street ear that enables you to adjust what you're playing to who's around. Another discovery I made was that often the really simple stuff played reasonably well would appeal to a much larger number of people - give them what they want in bucketloads! Most importantly - don't forget the children - they are umbilically attached to their parent's purse - so 'Twinkle Twinkle Little Star' can earn you more money than 'The Flight of the Bumble Bee' AND its easier to play.

I really hope things work out for you and if you do give busking a go please give us a progress report.
AL (:)

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Dazbo

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Re: Busking
« Reply #6 on: April 17, 2009, 12:23:19 PM »

A period of unemployment has spurred me to think about busking. I'm probably not the best player in the world, I've been playing for about a year, and play completely by ear.

Anyway was wondering if had any experience or knew anything about the legalities, specifically in London.

I've not busked but have looked into in Sheffield and the council seem quite relaxed about it as long as you follow a few simple rules (don't stay in the same place too long, do what council officials/police ask you to do etc..) so best to check with the local authorities about what they require.

I've heard that busking on the underground is a bit of a closed shop and the regular buskers there are very protective of their sites.

Go for it.
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emrock

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Re: Busking
« Reply #7 on: April 17, 2009, 01:57:36 PM »

Thanks for the replies, still in two minds as to whether I'm good enough and mor eto the point confident enough to actually give busking a go. I have never been too concerned about the legalities of things, and after spending sometime on the Lambeth council website failed to find anything relating to busking. Enough experience at the wrong end of police harassment as taught me not to worry too much about them, though my relative lack of skill does unnerve me.
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Folkiekay

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Re: Busking
« Reply #8 on: April 21, 2009, 07:01:22 PM »

I am a regular busker - in Austin, Texas instead of London, and my advice would be to be able to play at least 5 to 10 songs decently.  Not long songs - just short tunes - but halfway well, and make sure they all sound a bit different from the others.  Then play them over and over.  If people are just passing by, you can play one tune for a long time.  If they stop to listen and tip you, you would need to stop playing that one tune after a bit and start a new one.  It's really a lot of fun, but since you are unemployed, just try to make it look like you are out there for a good time, and smile a lot, and that might help to bring in more cash.

Good luck to you!

Kay

ladydetemps

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Re: Busking
« Reply #9 on: April 21, 2009, 07:55:44 PM »

Thanks for the replies, still in two minds as to whether I'm good enough and mor eto the point confident enough to actually give busking a go. I have never been too concerned about the legalities of things, and after spending sometime on the Lambeth council website failed to find anything relating to busking. Enough experience at the wrong end of police harassment as taught me not to worry too much about them, though my relative lack of skill does unnerve me.

If you get moved on by the poilice....Will you be  doing the Lambeth Walk? Oy! ;)
(sorry don't know what came over me there.) ::)

Accordion Dave

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Re: Busking
« Reply #10 on: April 22, 2009, 04:51:37 AM »

Speaking of children...

The Chicken Dance is immediately recognized by most kids. They will invariably start doing the dance routine associated with the song.

During the warmer months I frequently take a squeezebox or two to a local public park and start playing, (not practicing.)

I have purchased several accordions at a local flea market. (I think you folks in the UK call it a boot fair.) Recently, I bought a squeezebox for $15 dollars and made that amount back in donations after someone stuck a bucket in front of me whilst I was playing it.
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ganderbox

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Re: Busking
« Reply #11 on: April 22, 2009, 09:39:10 AM »

You can get away with lots of nice easy polkas when you are busking. They are catchy, they get the toes tapping and the kids dancing, and they aren't too taxing....which means you might even be able to smile while you are playing. A bad case of "melodeon face" isn't good for connecting with your audience!

Pauline
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ACE

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Re: Busking
« Reply #12 on: April 22, 2009, 04:49:57 PM »

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press on regardless

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Q
« Reply #13 on: April 22, 2009, 08:45:39 PM »


Hi there,

definitely give it a go!

Last month I ended up by accident with a mate who plays guitar busking from midnight till 3am in Oxford. We went to all the bus stops and kebab shops where we were greeted by lots of young folk who really liked the music. I can only knock out basic seassion tunes with no fancy bits but our young and mostly well oiled audiences loved it and were dancing in the street. We did not go out ot make loads of money and gave most of it back but we could have made a tidy sum if we were more organised.
The city centre was crawling with police (Saturday night) but they approved of us with one lot actually clapping along with the music.

Brilliant fun and if you need to make it pay a bit I am sure you can.   
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HallelujahAl

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Re: Busking
« Reply #14 on: April 23, 2009, 09:45:00 AM »

Quote
Hi there,

definitely give it a go!

Last month I ended up by accident with a mate who plays guitar busking from midnight till 3am in Oxford. We went to all the bus stops and kebab shops where we were greeted by lots of young folk who really liked the music. I can only knock out basic seassion tunes with no fancy bits but our young and mostly well oiled audiences loved it and were dancing in the street. We did not go out ot make loads of money and gave most of it back but we could have made a tidy sum if we were more organised.
The city centre was crawling with police (Saturday night) but they approved of us with one lot actually clapping along with the music.

Brilliant fun and if you need to make it pay a bit I am sure you can.

I'd agree - 'accidental' busking can be great fun - and if you have little or low expectations you may be very surprised how well you go down and how much you make.
AL
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