Busking, here’s how to do it

Busking is one of the most rewarding ways to perform, because everyone who watches, smiles or drops money into your case is directly supporting your art. However, it’s also one of the most daunting, so after a few months experience here are my top tips to make sure your street performance goes smoothly

1.Check whether you need a busking license-

Some cities require you to obtain a busking license before you go and perform. Make sure you check out the local busking laws in your city so you don’t get shut down with a fine before you’ve even started! Most of these can be found on your local council website

2.Bring a friend the first time-

As much as you plan and as organised as you are, there will be a few mishaps that you’re not prepared for that will come your way the first time you hit the streets. Whether that’s needing new batteries, or wanting emotional support for last minute nerves, it’s always good to have a helping hand the first couple of times you perform.

3.Use social media signage

Every-time I go busking, my Instagram and tiktok followers slowly creep up because of the sign with all my social media’s on. As all musicians know, exposure and an audience is exactly what we need to make it, so a standard sign or business cards are perfect for an audience that want to know more about you. It’s also a good idea to put an email or some form of contact details on so people can book you for gigs or shows if that’s part of your career. These can be found on any sign making site e.g: vistaprint 

4.Have a range of songs-

Do not fall into the trap of playing the same five songs that you enjoy the most or make the most money. In my experience I’ve had listeners sit and enjoy for hours on end, and they will realise if you play the same song multiple times. Playing songs with a smaller niche will often do better than popular songs too, because you create a connection with fans of the specific genre who are often pleasantly surprised you’re singing a small song they enjoy.

5.Improvise & talk to the audience-

Like previously stated, an audience will sometimes stay and watch for a prolonged period so it’s good to make a relationship with them and make them remember you. Add in a run, switch a verse up and talk to people between songs.

6.be polite –

This should be an obvious one but an important thing to remember when busking is no one asked you to be there, buskers turn up and the public have no choice but to listen so any smiles, compliments or money are completely extra and their own choice. You don’t want to be remembered for the wrong reasons before you’ve even started so make sure to say thank you, and smile! 

7.Bring lots of water!!

Aside from busking, performances are normally about two hours max. However, busking can be double or triple that length and added with talking, your throat will be extremely dry! So a big water bottle is definitely a necessity, and make sure you go to the toilet before! If you’re on your own, you don’t want to leave your equipment on its own or drag it with you to the toilet.

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