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My first solo fiddle busking experience

Thursday, September 6, 2012

I’ll just start by saying that I haven’t been fiddling for all that long, but if you are reading this then you probably play the fiddle too and agree that the love and enjoyment one gets from playin dat  fiddle is simply one of the best things in life. Two days ago, a noontime jam session at a friend’s place was canceled and the next day an evening jam session that I planned to attend was canceled too, so I decided to try my luck at Busking. Family members at home prefer to not be distracted when they are watching TV and I can’t really fiddle to my heart’s content at home unless nobody is at home anyway, so why not, I thought.

Where I live, you have to get a three month $ 50 Busking permit and you are only allowed to play in a designated Busking spot, in the Central business district, and only for two hours max and only before 5PM, but I was having none of that and decided to play at a shopping mall which I will not name [ ha ha] ,chucked the milk crate and my fiddle in the car and drove to where I planned to go and just did it.

It seemed to me that as long as I was fairly low profile, not too intrusive or loud, if the music was alright, and the shop owners didn’t object there would be no problem, and that turned out to be the case, as even the security guards who walked passed just simply said hello, and the police doing their rounds drove by twice, and did nothing at all other than to have a good look to see what was going on.

A little quick planning was called for…First, on to the computer and create a ‘busk file’ with 22 tunes that I could play reasonably well, and download them to my I tunes, so I could hear them in my earphones as I played along on the fiddle-a good way to be accurate, yes?

How did it go, you ask? Well here is what happened. On those two days I busked around noon time for just under an hour twice, and twice  just under an hour at about 7 PM at another location.

That’s a total of 4 hours, and the take was just over $70 total, with one of the night time gigs netting me $23 + change. This is interesting cause I am 61 years old now, and I have been wondering how I would earn small change further down the track when I eventually become jobless, with my superannuation already spent- the house is all paid for but all the other bills will keep on coming! Now my future small earnings after retirement are drawn out on the sand.

I did get a surprise reaction from my lovely wife, when I told her that I went busking. Her first reaction was that it was a lowly degrading thing to do, almost like begging, and she did not like the idea of me busking at all, but she will eventually come around, [I think]. And my adult son & daughter, well they are indifferent to the idea of me busking and they know that dad does what dad does anyway, so they are neither for nor against it.

The experience was actually enjoyable, and some funny things happened too. At the night gig, one shopper dropped some small change in my fiddle case, then got in her car, took a picture, then got out again and put a $ 5 note in, other pple offered me cigarettes, or when they threw coins and missed the case, they would rush back, pick it off the ground and place it in properly.

I would say ‘thank-you’ to some pple, and they would say ‘no, thank you for playing, it sounds good’.  One person walked past and said ‘get a job’ others would pause to listen for a while, and others totally ignored me and just went past. All of the above, more or less what I  expected, but not the photo taking and the $5 note.

The best part was just playing the fiddle of course. Any fiddler knows you just start fiddling, you get into a trance like state, and you just never want to stop, and this was an environment where that could be shared too, by others who wanted to listen, and that is where I am coming from.

Your thoughts please?


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Playing Since: 2009
Experience Level: Just Startin'


Occupation: Driving Instructor

Gender: Male
Age: 71

My Instruments:
guitar fiddle

Favorite Bands/Musicians:
Changes all the time. Currently, the 'Rosinators' from England

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Created 7/13/2009
Last Visit 5/3/2016

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