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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
ollaimh Busking permits (in various locations) (87* d) RE: Busking permits (in various locations) 10 Nov 12


i busked for decades in north americas, my european busking is so old it doesn't count--1975ish.

i had a toronto subway licance for over a decade, it was sometimes very good, with a few poor years. the regulations have gotten more restrictive over the years. bureaucrats with noting to do will make busy work, and the toronto transit commission has lots of senior bureaucrats with nothing to do, there was even a local scadal that the council member who was ttc chair was having sex in his office during office hours. an orwellian world(the councillor reswigned and quit politicsa).

however as marion said unlicanced buskers can do well in the subway . they have to be polite. many show up and view the licenced buskers as "the man" and swear and intimidate. that will get you to the police real quick. i used to hlpe the nice ones. there are lots of stations were the buskers are no longer allowed to play that are very good money and nice crowds. if you play them in rotation the odds of running into the same police officers is low and if they only see you occasionally they may kick you out but they won't charge you.

there are also many neighbourhoods in toronto where busking right on the street is decent, although not as good as the best subay spots. i used to carry a mandolin everywhere just in case in toronto.

now be aware if you are an immigrant the local born have a powerfull sense of entitlement and will do pretty much any dirty trick to try and get you to leave except violence--toronto anglos are usually cowardly. you hear a lot of self righteous bull shit from them but about how they are owed.among the licenced buskers they even formed a buskers union which kicked me out for talking about the threats and dirty tricks. can't talk back to the anglos in toronto.i can't over state the toronto anglo bigotry--just ignore them and do your thing, they have no self awareness at all and you can't reason with them.(but most don't last long and the ones that do are easily out manouvered) however the good news are these types although prevelant are dumb and incompetent. if you get to know the spots and befriend the nice players you will be able to do well with or without a licence. if you have a good act you will be ble to live totally on busking--i did it many years.with or without a licence.

toronto is also a bif city and you see wired stuff but its one of the most polite and law abiding city in the world, so it is very safe for buskers, not true in some american cities.

i used to play vancouver sanfranscisco and seattle a lot as well , and cities in between. most american cities with a local university have a corner with a coffee shop book store and record store near the university. i have always done well on that corner right out on the street. san franscisco can be fantastic, but you have to line up for the great spots in the market. seattle is good at pike street market and i met some great and nfun musicians there. including a guy who used to display a sign saying:"saving for a hooker". ya gotta love a sarcastic busker--the cloying thing does get old.


vancouver had a licanec system as well and they have had changes due to socan fees. you'd have to ask about that. the liquor stores used to be great though, and some neighbourhoods are good out on the street.however they have an increacing homelessness and poverty problem, which can be trouble. the down and outs are not together enough to reason with .

i have retired and moved to rural new brunswick. it's boring but i can use some boredom. after years of husstling for a buck i like my boredom

i used to dream about getting a van and touring europe, but sigh not now. now i am learning ancient wire strung gaelic harp and lute. and doing a lot of meditation


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