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Mar 17, 2021 - 2:48:01 PM
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10244 posts since 3/19/2009

It has been said, 'Busking is a crap shoot'. Today, Wednesday, I went downtown to busk.. I picked a good corner but there were virtually no people on the sidewalks.. I knew I had to trust the busking Gods.....With very light traffic me and Harry still brought in $48 in tips in just an hour and a half...
Whoda' thought!!.......Many of the regulars came by and then there was the guy wearing a Jesus tee shirt and No shoes.. He jumped up and down for a while and told me that he'd see me at the Rapture which was going to happen later in the afternoon.. He Hopped across the street and continued on his merry way.......... I love busking..!

Mar 20, 2021 - 2:02:23 PM
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10244 posts since 3/19/2009

Today's busking story.. I set up on my new 'lucky' corner just across the street from a CVS Drug store.. A homeless guy was sitting out front of that store and he was holding up a sign..At first he'd call out something to me but I just went on minding my own business.. I watched.. Three people came out of CVS and gave him bags of 'something'.. Other passersby offered him cash... After about 20 minutes ...he got up, THREW his sign into a garbage can and Stormed in my direction.. I thought he might have been angry with me, and I was ready for anything......He hustled across the street and Just as he got up to me ....he continued walking by but said, "DANG.. Made $50 in 15 minutes!!".....and he left the scene.... Curious.. I wondered what exactly his sign read...Soze I mozied on over to the garbage can across the street and recovered his sign.. That sign said, "Collecting money to give that fiddler across the street, some lessons.. He's Terrible"...... ................ OK, the part about what the sign said is a LIE.. but the rest of the story is true..!

PS.. forgot to mention . I also made, coincidentally, exactly $50 in tips today.. but it took me 90 minutes.. Maybe I should take some lessons?  I played Jerusalem Ridge and the Cotton Patch Rag as my key busking tunes   ....and pretty well I might add...

Edited by - TuneWeaver on 03/20/2021 14:19:09

Mar 22, 2021 - 1:55:36 PM

10244 posts since 3/19/2009

I can't resist.. I really didn't want to tell another busking story so soon, BUT.... so.. this is just more of the Last busking story.. Remember the homeless guy who made $50 in just fifteen minutes? Well, he was out there again today.. after just a short while he again threw away his sign and crossed the street to the side I was on.. I said to him jokingly , "Hey, did you already make $50 for the day?"... It wasn't a serious enquiry... but he replied, '"Yep.. a guy just went to the atm and got me my $50.".............Not makin' this stuff up Folks..

Mar 22, 2021 - 2:23:19 PM
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10244 posts since 3/19/2009

Buskers/ vs / Homeless.. Buskers get tips just a dollar at a time.. but the homeless, well people want to give them enough for a MEAL.. not remembering that SEVERAL people may give them enough for a meal.. so it is easy for a homeless person to make $50 in a short time.. I've had them tell me that often.. I don't begrudge them the money.. they are still homeless.. I just find it very interesting..I'd much rather go home with $20 in tips after two long hours of busking than to go to NO HOME with $50 in my pocket after 15 minutes of holding out an "anything helps " sign..........I'm very lucky..

Mar 22, 2021 - 3:44:01 PM

LukeF

USA

109 posts since 10/15/2019

Maybe you should borrow his sign after he's done with it, so you too could earn $50. :)

Mar 22, 2021 - 4:05:16 PM

10244 posts since 3/19/2009

quote:
Originally posted by LukeF

Maybe you should borrow his sign after he's done with it, so you too could earn $50. :)


Yes, tempting but I have my pride.... Those guys are Not having as much fun as on might think  they are.. Remember, they went all last year without a chance to hold out a sign.. I DID think that for fun, I'd put a sign by my tip basket that said, " Prepay for your restaurant purchases here..!!  "     Or, "Pay your parking fees HERE"......   In reality I DID once have a sign that said'  "Play good music, ....$1..... Stop playing music..$2..."

It is bad enough that some people THINK that buskers are begging.. I don't need to feed that idea.!!!   I'll just perform and let the tips fall where they may..  Me, Harry Hare and the Homeless have an understanding.. We are sidewalk performers and  do our thing..and they, the homeless,  do their thing.... There is room for all of us..  Again, I don't begrudge them their life style.. It isn't fun, in the end..

Edited by - TuneWeaver on 03/22/2021 16:07:00

Mar 22, 2021 - 4:12:23 PM
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10244 posts since 3/19/2009

WHile I'm posting.. I had considered starting a New topic about "Public performances''.. It would include not only busking but ANY type of performing in public.. That way , maybe more people might be willing to participate.. Stories about church performances, private parties, Jam sessions.. whatever.. Then, I thought , well, anyone who wanted to start a topic about that ....could have already started it!!!.. It is not on me.. SO.. I'll focus on busking.. others can do whatever they want about other performance stories they may have.. The pressure is off.. No more guilt about posting my stories on this topic..

Mar 24, 2021 - 2:44:48 PM
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10244 posts since 3/19/2009

The latest busking story.. Yesterday I played my fiddle on the sidewalk for 90 minutes and got ONE DOLLAR in tips.. That does happen from time to time.. However, the Development Manager from the Buskirk-Chumley theater asked me to sign up to busk at a special event and said I'd get paid $50/hr..for two hours... I signed up for two hours..!!! (what busker wouldn't?) This might be a regular event.. sooooo.... sounds like Work.. but Fun work...
It is so nice that now that there are four major hotels within two blocks of the down square, that I don't have to drive 20 miles to Nashville, Indiana to busk ......!!! Bloomington has become quite the tourist town..!

Mar 26, 2021 - 2:55:25 PM
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19 posts since 10/4/2018

Busking. I live in a small town on the extreme Western edge of Michigan on the Lake Michigan shoreline. The population soars with the arrival of the summer people and plenty of tourists. My friend Frank plays the accordion and I'm a fiddler. We get together and do some busking weekends and the string band gets together on Sunday on the street. We try to be versatile and play everything from Elvis and cowboy music to lots of Central European and American dance music plus square dance and waltz tunes. We have couples dancing on the street and sometimes I bring a bubble machine! There's lots of dogs and we've been known to break into "How much is that doggie in the window".
We just have fun and often donate proceeds to local causes such as the Fourth of July fireworks.
I often notice that little kids will almost always want to stop and look and listen but mum is only intent on shopping and drags them down the sidewalk. Teens will generally just ignore us but once in while will stop, listen and ask what we are playing. They seem a bit bewildered about what they're hearing–be it a polka, waltz or swing tune. I'm sorta convinced that many of the younger population may well have never seen musicians up close actually playing music except maybe their school bands.
Couple years ago there were the cute little twin girls-maybe 10 or 12 years old-who started dancing to our music. They quickly caught on to the fact that people were leaving us money so they each retrieved empty coffee cups from the trash and would hold out the cups for money. If you gave one a quarter the other one demanded a quarter too! As soon as they had enough change to get ice cream, off they would go to the ice cream shop. Wasn't unusual for these two to have three ice creams in an hour and a half! I think these agressive girls will to do well in life but will need to learn the idea of saving money!
After this crazy year we're chomp'n at the bit to begin playing around the end of May. I'm planning to resume my normal pre-covid wandering far and wide to hit the fiddle/music events this summer! Yay!

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Mar 26, 2021 - 2:59:34 PM
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10244 posts since 3/19/2009

Great to read your post, PIK... There aren't many buskers here on the Hangout... I'm happy to see that you have great enthusiasm for busking!! I look forward to hearing more busking stories from you!!!!

Mar 26, 2021 - 3:25:41 PM
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WyoBob

USA

413 posts since 5/16/2019

quote:
Originally posted by TuneWeaver

WHile I'm posting.. I had considered starting a New topic about "Public performances''.. It would include not only busking but ANY type of performing in public.. That way , maybe more people might be willing to participate.. Stories about church performances, private parties, Jam sessions.. whatever.. Then, I thought , well, anyone who wanted to start a topic about that ....could have already started it!!!.. It is not on me.. SO.. I'll focus on busking.. others can do whatever they want about other performance stories they may have.. The pressure is off.. No more guilt about posting my stories on this topic..


Well, I don't busk but I really enjoy playing at the Senior Center, the assisted living place in town and the care home.  Also, at the old band shell in the park and old time music at the old Occidental Hotel in Buffalo.   I haven't played anywhere but home since Covid except a few times when it was outdoors at the park and the four of us were spread out. 

I really enjoyed the playing (banjo, hadn't took up the fiddle, yet) at the local assisted living place.   When we first started, there were only 6 or 7 people who showed up.  A few months later, 15-20.   One lady came up to me after we were done, with a big grin on her face, saying that, "I haven't seen Mable smile, clap or stomp her feet since I've been here and then you guys showed up".   Another little sweetie asked me what I was doing for a living and, as I seemed to be an aimless musician that perhaps I should consider a job in the military. I was 70 years old at the time!  Must have looked youngersmiley

Playing for folks who are "shut in" and feeling neglected is the high point for me in playing music.  I have fun playing with my friends and the "old folks" enjoy listening to us.  I don't like to think about it but, I'll be 74 in May so I may be approaching "old age".  Don't know for suresurprise

Mar 29, 2021 - 1:00:04 PM
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10244 posts since 3/19/2009

My communications with the lady from the Theater that wants to have regularly scheduled buskers included this email:

" Lily, I have another 'suggestion'.. How about a small sign for buskers to use that says something like, "Our busking (performing) benefits the Buskirk-Chumley Theater"... Did you know that Many, many people have absolutely NO idea what a BUSKER actually is???? Many have never heard of the word.. Cities all around the World have Busker Festivals, but in the good old USA, buskers are only common in larger cities.. Almost daily I have to explain what a 'busker' is..
The Bloomington signs on Kirkwood discouraging people from giving to panhandlers also affects buskers in that many people don't realize that a busker is NOT the same thing as a panhandler.!!!!
Such is life.. My understanding is that the word Busker comes from the Spanish word "buscar'', which means "to look for''... Buskers are looking for attention, notoriety, tips, fun, or a chance to perform in public...
I actually have friends who think that when I busk, that I'm begging... Really..!!! I have more money than all of them!!! Me and Harry are performing HAMS.. Just looking for something fun and productive to do in our retirement and the tips make it even more fun..."

Mar 29, 2021 - 2:18:31 PM
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1919 posts since 4/6/2014

I really can't  see the connection between busking and begging at all ? ...Weird....frown

Mar 29, 2021 - 2:58:48 PM
Players Union Member

boxbow

USA

2725 posts since 2/3/2011

quote:
Originally posted by pete_fiddle

I really can't  see the connection between busking and begging at all ? ...Weird....frown


It's easy to dismiss the connection, but it's there.  Busking is more like panning for gold.  Not so much like begging.

Mar 29, 2021 - 3:45:30 PM
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1919 posts since 4/6/2014

Still don't see it. A practised performance that may have taken decades to hone and asks for nothing. You can enjoy it for free, or pass it by, (if you don't get any tips you just go home and practice some more), and also contrived to brighten your day.

Vs actively asking for food or money etc, in return for nothing. Which would either require honest desperation, outright deceit and/or manipulation of a persons emotions. Valid or otherwise.

Chalk & Cheese IMO

Mar 29, 2021 - 4:07:25 PM

10244 posts since 3/19/2009

Before I get in trouble.. There is nothing wrong with begging.. If someone thinks that that is what they need to do then they should do it... I just don't want my friends thinking that I'm in that situation...
Hey, the homeless guy who I've mentioned making $50 in a few minutes holding out his sign... well, he approached me this evening.. I thought he was going to cause trouble but instead he offered me a Coke and chatted politely.. Funny, but up close he looks a lot like that famous old time fiddler Lotus Dickey.. !!!

Apr 4, 2021 - 3:53:08 PM
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10244 posts since 3/19/2009

The moderators will probably kick this comment off... but today it was a fun, warm, sunny, busy day on the sidewalk.. About 6 college aged girls, all wearing extremely short skirts were watching me and Harry play..At one point a couple of them started to do-si-do... Well, one of the girls did not need to Tell anyone what she was wearing a thong..!! Yikes.. Even Harry blushed..,

Can't top that story, but Yesterday, a LOOOOONG semi was trying to turn a corner in a tight entersection.. I watched his efforts for over a half hour.. Finally, he gave up and went to another intersection where there was a little more width........
My best buddy, Larry, a concertina player and fellow busker, and I, took two corners of an intersection and gave it our best.. Afterwards we went for a beer an discussed the fact that I had a 'gimmick' and he didn't..He is VERY talented.. but generally I'll make 5-10 times the tips that he makes.. Harry Hare is my gimmick......I've offered to make a concertina playing puppet for Larry but he is resistant... Fortunately, he has recently taken up playing the fiddle and is REALLY GOOD at it in just a few months (Hate him.. it took me years to get to where he is in a short while) (JK..he is my best friend..can't hate him)...It will be fun/interesting watch him develop as a new fiddling busker.. I welcome the competition ...

Apr 4, 2021 - 5:21:34 PM

510 posts since 7/18/2014

you got any pictures to prove story?

Apr 4, 2021 - 5:41:34 PM

5885 posts since 9/26/2008

Is this Larry who plays the guitar too and doesn't drink at Clifftop?

Apr 4, 2021 - 5:43:04 PM

10244 posts since 3/19/2009

quote:
Originally posted by Astrang

you got any pictures to prove story?


I wish!!

Apr 4, 2021 - 5:44:04 PM
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10244 posts since 3/19/2009

quote:
Originally posted by ChickenMan

Is this Larry who plays the guitar too and doesn't drink at Clifftop?


Yes, the same Larry.. He just may pull off being a fiddler!!!

Apr 11, 2021 - 11:46:39 AM

10244 posts since 3/19/2009

Wish I could get the quote exactly, but recently someone 'quoted' a Classical music composer from over 100 years ago who supposedly said something like, 'If you really want to know what composing is all about, just go out to the streets and listen to buskers'....I've thought about that.. and can relate that my own creativity has improved  by  leaps and bounds in the past few years...

Edited by - TuneWeaver on 04/11/2021 11:47:03

Apr 11, 2021 - 12:03:27 PM

5885 posts since 9/26/2008

I think the confusing with the word "busk/er/ing" is that it's an old world word. Lots of people aren't all that up on having a wide vocabulary.

Apr 11, 2021 - 1:11 PM
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10244 posts since 3/19/2009

quote:
Originally posted by ChickenMan

I think the confusing with the word "busk/er/ing" is that it's an old world word. Lots of people aren't all that up on having a wide vocabulary.


You could be correct, Billy.. So many people don't know what a busker it.. Yet, many major Cities actually have Buskers Festivals, and their populace seems to know exactly what a busker IS....Such is life.. Similarly, many people confuse the word "fiddler" and the word "musician"laugh  Recently I was at a Dermatologist  appointment.  I told the Doctor that I spend a lot of time in the sun because I was a busker.. She gave me a blank stare, then, I added, "sidewalk musical entertainer".  She replied, "Oh, so that is what it is called..Busker!"

However, my post about the supposed composer's comment had to do with the Appreciation that the composer had for the creativity of buskers... !!  I've tried to find out which famous person, Poe, or Shakespeare supposedly hated buskers... As you can see I'm full of factual information in this post!!!   Hey, it is a cold, cloudy, rainy Sunday... give me a break!! Can't go BUSKING!!!!

Edited by - TuneWeaver on 04/11/2021 13:15:38

Apr 11, 2021 - 1:43:23 PM
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Old Scratch

Canada

989 posts since 6/22/2016

I don't believe the term 'busker' was ever widely used or known in North American - I don't recall being aware of it till the later 1970s, when I was busking myself - don't know how I learned the term - was it used in 'Mary Poppins'? As for: "Yet, many major Cities actually have Buskers Festivals, and their populace seems to know exactly what a busker IS...." - no: people in those cities think buskers are people who perform in Buskers Festivals, that's all. You're giving people too much credit ... !

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