I’ve done plenty of busking in my time. It was for many years my only source of income. I’ve always moved around a lot, and the two go hand in hand- travel & music. It’s a great way of keeping afloat, keeping your belly full. And it’s also a great way to meet new people.
Busking is where raw talent is developed. It provides a kind of mid-way stage. You have an audience, but they are constantly moving, constantly passing by; offering intermittent attention and interest. It’s the perfect way to test out new songs, and to practice your instrument.
It also brings a lot of joy to the public, not only the performer. If offers a slight dabble of colour into the people’s otherwise mundane and routine schedules. A sprinkle of melody to go with the rhythm of their footsteps. And they respond with encouragement, in the form of: coins, comments and smiles. There’s no other time that you’ll get more people smiling at you than when you’re busking; singing your heart out.
There are some people who look down on buskers. Hopefully this way of thinking is becoming less and less; but still, sometimes you’ll encounter folk that seem to harbour a grudge against someone out there trying to make a bit of money from their art. “Get a job!”, “Bum!”, “Go on the X-factor”, and other such insults. It seems they just don’t get it; they think that you are doing it out of desperation, not out of love. They can’t understand why someone would ever want to do such a thing, and that scares them, apparently. But thankfully it’s only a few, compared to the majority of passers by
As battery-powered amps become more and more available, so does the popularity of outdoor performance increase. At least in cultured cities. The amount of buskers is steadily on the rise, with more and more varieties of music echoing through the streets. And in this day and age, with its evolving music industry, it is relevant more than ever. People support art out of their own free will, rather than being coaxed into buying a ‘product’. It’s even spreading to the internet, with concepts such as Patreon and crowd-funding. There’s less middle-men so that those donating see that their money goes straight to the artist. Just like that hat, or bag, or tin in the street. It’s an old way of doing things done in the current digital method.
It’ll always be there, in its many forms. I think busking is the natural answer to an artist seeking to sustain themselves, without interference from lobbyists. It’s a very pure and innocent part of this rather corrupt financial world that we live in. And if you want to support it, there’s now more ways than ever…
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