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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
ollaimh 'Busking' for money? (78* d) RE: 'Busking' for money? 24 Dec 12


well i busked on and off for twenty or thirty years. i did a lot of other jobs but busking, and what ever gigs i could scrape up were my main occupation for much of that time. i did the toronto subway syatem. it is good money most of the time. the audition system has advantages but they need temproary licences for people passing through. over the years most busking places in canada have created more and more rules that make it harder and harder to make good money. toronto had a half mad ttc operations officer gary webster who was a fanatic about enforcinf anti bisking rules. they used to send a busking enforecement officer around at christmass to give out infraction notices for such terrible crimes as playing off the designated spot or in a station where they didn't allow busking. the one good thing mayor rob ford did was fire webster. he was so fanatical he authorized hundreds of man hours of ttc police time to chase after an illegal uimmigrant who busked for years--mostlky legally, because the busker told him off once. this thousands of dollars wasn't spent to chase a criminal or fraud articst or pickpocket in the ttc, of which there are many, no a classical piano player who was a bit mouthy. webster didn't identify himself and just approached and told him to change his methods. when bureaucrats get involved nothing good happens.

i used to lay low and just keep looking for new spots.

and by the way louder isn't better--it's dumber.. do an act thats actually interesting and you don't need the best spots nor the perfect night. i play celtic harp mandolin and bouzouki and a few other things and i did almost as well at low use stations as high use ones.there were some stations no one else played where i was doubling the money i made in the "in demand stations". no one else did but if you do something interesting you'll do fine, and the loud buskers with loud voices do turn a lot of the passersby off. so really learn to play well and do something interesting and you don't have to be loud and you don't irritate people.

i only do it occasionally now. i'm retired in a smal city. if i moved back to toronto or vancover id do it again.

i did the west coast, colorado and parts of europe as well. there are a lot of nice places to play, they all have their advantages and disadvantages , you just have to figure them out. i did the street in toronto and many other places as well.

it is also good to move around. how are they going to miss you if you don't go away?

i used to do well in montreal and although the people are really nice, its isn't as good for the money. i only did quebec city a few times, both before the auditions.

my over all favourite place was vancouver, but the downtown poverty has changed the translink scene a lot. there are too many beggers out there now. still its worth it. west coasters are a lot less mannerly than toronto or even most american cities so you have to be able to absorb a lot of hostility. but then if you can't stand cat calls then you shouldn't be busking--iyt ain't carnigie hall. i used to love the view of the water and the mountains from the sea bus stations in vancouver, but the union scabs banned the buskers there. increasingly there are bureaucrats and unions guys banning busking. i hope the trend reverses but i am out of it now so i don't lobby much/ and finallky socan in canad ais charging for busking spots. that has caused a lot of people to restrict or ban busking so as to save socan payments. a really disgusting situstion where one group of musicians is parisitic on another and it has destroyed the livelyhood of many former full time buskers.

but if i had to i'd be right back at it.


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