Ever thought of busking as a great way to improve? I had, so I tried... here's my thoughts on it.
The biggest single factor about busking has to be that it is terrifying. I have played so many Open Mics now and gotten pretty used to it, but that first song on the street is something else - especially if your on your own. Pretty, pretty intense! The good news is that after one song things quickly fall into place and feel good again> Also, if you go in a group, the whole thing is a hell of a lot easier.
In Brighton-town I think unless you are amplified, amazing, have hours and hours of material, know loads of covers and/or are pretty unique sounding you shouldn't really do busking for the money because the reality is you probably wont make much. Stick a hat out of course, but more think of it as a great chance to practice and boost your confidence, that is the real pay-off for an hours busking.
Well, I haven't played that many places in town but under the bridge by Brighton station has always been the best spot for me, both in terms of louder acoustics, more money and more people passing by and listening.
Everyone busks in this town and competition for spots between buskers, beggars and Big Issue sellers is something you'll have to be prepared for. Personally, I just move on as soon as someone asks, it's easier that way.
I don't know about the rest of the country but in Brighton the rules are, in a nutshell...
- No amplification (yes I know everyone does this)
- No drums (yes I know everyone does this)
- Max 2 hours in one place (yes I know everyone ignores this)
- Not allowed in residential areas
- You must move if asked to be a shopkeeper or a cop
- No selling CDs (yes I know everyone does this)
- You can only busk in the day (Yes, I know, people busk at night)
So there you go, busking. Personally, I think it's a really positive thing to push yourself to do, especially if confidence is an issue. Try it, you just might like it.
Maybe see you out there....
A (mostly) virgin-busker crew! Left to right - Jenna, Irena, Stephi, Miriam and Joe