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Harpman HSep 03, 2009 11:03 AM GMT
What is your views on Busking?
In Spokane,my amplifiedharmonica playing has put a face on the busking scene here.
And the little sweet talking girls have got the laws changed regarding license
follow the link and see
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busking can be a great contribution to a street scene. it depends greatly on what other activities are going on, like fartmers markets, street vending, etc etc. also of course depends on city officials seeing its benefits. i know here it's good for business.
where we busk no amps are allowed, which is fine- it allows me to stretch out dynamic-wise and i've developed much better chops with no amp. we pay #25 a season to play at the farmers market here and make that back fairly quickly. as far as actually on the street, there are ordinances that prohibit blocking a thoroughfare which make it dicey on actual cit streets, but there are a few places that work at a given time and day.
there are plenty of homeless and also street hustlers here and we've had a runin or two with them, but not so much lately.
vendors in the market appreciate us and the others who come down and play. it definitely adds to the cool vibe of the area. downtown little rock- don't ask me why- has a lot of cool stuff going on that draws tourists so there's usually a varied crowd walking around and stopping by to listen and maybe chat.
i know we must be some some kids' very first taste of live acoustic music and they are drawn to it. this has been responsible for a portion of our tip income, but to me more importantly, kids getting turned on to music with folk instruments. children have no reservation about expressing what they like and music is in all of us esp when we're before the age where perception narrows.
playing in the open on a street etc has also been a real help to my wife, who is a 3-year veteran of playing guitar and singing. she has progressed much faster than say someone who has become srv in their living room but can't play in front of people. we often rehearse new material at the farmers market. i see some guys who just stand there and plink a banjo for 2 or 4 hours, and they even make some tips. but wife and my determination to polish an act and play with ease and confort and excitement pays off better i think.
if you ever get to the arkansas blues and heritage fest- aka king biscuit- you will see dozens of buskers on cherry street, the main drag during the fest. it's really a very cool scene for a day or 3 there. and down in clarksdale mississippi we see some of this on busy weekends a few times a year also.
it's a free country. too bad there are cities and towns who lump an art form in with panhandling. they miss out on a true cultural enrichment.
is there a difference in ordinance's attitude if busker play accoustically vs. amped?
i can't second guess municipalities' thinking, but my sense has been 1) if the street music is too loud it can upset usual commerce, 2) bottlenecks at places on the street can do the same thing, 3) in our case here there is an ampitheater on the river front where big events take place and it's those events that the city wants to promote.
some officials lump street musicians in with the homeless and panhandlers who are ever present in this day and age in a lot of cities, which to me is a real mistake.
when we busk we never ask for $$. we have the guitar case open and a buck or 2 in there so people get the idea. but yesterday we forgot to bring a buck or 2 so we played anyway- and we ended up in short order with a 5, a 2 and a 1 in the case! people generally know what the game is.
you just have to ask where you are. harpman h has done a really good thing in his community, obviously presented a good case for street musicians that he sold to the city. here in this city of 30k people we are working to organize some open mic mornings at the new library- in their very acoustically nice pavilion outside- and also we're looking to open the upcoming farmers' market location to music as well. this is a town where soliciting etc is prohibited. we hope to get this one exception in next year.
I Busk all the time. I live in Toronto and have a license to play in the subway. I've also found the beer stores and liquor stores up here to be really profitable places to play. Any large multi vendoroutdoor food market or sporting eventis a great place when the sun is shining.More playersshould busk. Its great alternative income streamfor us fulltimers and has led to many gigs and connections.It's also alot of fun.