All profit supporting special needs music education and Help Musicians
SYOS

Does anyone on here do Busking/street playing?

ColchesterSaxMan

New Member
Messages
19
Read something the other day about it and its caught my attention, I also saw a guy doing it in my town of Colchester playing and hes in town everyday doing it.

I have heard its a good way to get more practice in of new tunes and experience in playing sax in front of people, Have done some reading about it and some state that they have had nice sums of money/change for Busking bare min they seem to get £6 an hour some say thay have got a lot more for a session of playing.

Seems a good way once you are of a certain standard to get playing time in and with a nice bonus of getting some money for it so its like being paid to practice and get a chance to give value and entertain people with some nice tunes.

Has anyone had any good experiences?
And what sort of standard was you when you did it?

Regards.
 

Jeanette

Organizress
Cafe Moderator
Messages
26,509
Location
Cheshire UK
Not done it myself but bear in mind sometimes you need a license and it is strictly taxable income.;}

People that do busk seem to get a lot out of it and sometimes pick up work.


Jx
 

wol916

New Member
Messages
125
A melancholy sax played slow in an underpass or subway and heard from the other end as you enter has to be one of the greatest sounds on earth.

Warren
 

wol916

New Member
Messages
125
Just had look on youtube and there is a lot of stuff on there for saxophone busking, Have a look you should get an idea of the standards out there (it varies greatly) also have a look at the equipment, it ranges from just a sax to battery powered backing tracks and amps. Looks to me that confidence is the most important thing you need.

Warren
 

thesaxman71

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,687
Myself and a few mates, when we were at college doing our jazz course, used to meet up sometimes on a Friday afternoon in the middle of Newcastle and knock out a few tunes, it was great jamming with mates and attracted good attention, 2 sax players tenor (me) and alto, a trumpet player, drummer using just a snare, acoustic bass player and an acoustic guitar player. We just brought our 'real books' and banged through a few standards, was great times way back then in the early 90's (i was about 21 at that time)
we used to do it to make some money to go to the pub later that night, we used to do alright, student life huh!
 

Reed Warbler

Senior Member
Messages
617
Location
Marciac, France
Lol Coxhill was forever busking in Sloane Square, Chelsea; really good stuff, whatever came into his head. To get good you have to put in the hours so coupling this with some possible income is a good idea, provided you dont get booed off the pavement.
Practicing in public you dont have to consider the neighbours and it teaches you how to project. Bouncing sounds off architecture is a pleasure in itself.
In Australia, 30 years ago, I was skint and wanting to get back to England so I pawned my camera, bought a guitar, and busked the rush hours in Martin Place, Sydney. The accoustics were very good and people were in such a hurry that I could keep repeating my best songs. Soon had the camera back out of pawn and eventually saved enough to fly back to Blighty!
Nowadays I play in a french trad band that often gets booked to "animate" events such as night markets or Xmas shopping. I still get a buzz out of street playing. The sounds are good, the unexpected is constantly stepping up and, at the end of the day, we get payed for it.
 

SaxoFREAK

saX on the bEaCH..
Messages
627
Location
Liverpool
Years ago my mate was busking to buy a new keyboard, he had two hats for donations, one for his dog and one for him, he told me that at the end of his first week he had earned £50 which was great for the early 80's, I said that was fantastic until he told me Satchmo his hound had earned £80 just for being cute, my mate got moved on a few times till he got arrested, the dog got off scott free lol!!!
 

U CAN CALL ME AL

Well-Known Member
Café Supporter
Messages
1,176
Location
Undy Monmouthshire U.K.
you might find this helpful in dealing with "the authorities" it has helped me on a number of occasions and will almost certainly gob smack the local bobbies, for whom I have the utmost respect. If they tell you they have a noise complaint don't argue but politely apologise and comply immediately
 

Attachments

  • busking guide front reg print.pdf
    975.2 KB · Views: 64
  • busking guide inside reg print.pdf
    1.1 MB · Views: 52
Last edited:

MandyH

Sax-Mad fiend!
Café Supporter
Messages
3,572
Location
The Malverns, Worcs
Yes, most of the bylaws relate to causing a nuisance or an obstruction.
I find it's polite to say hello to local shopkeepers and to say if they find you too loud / annoying, to pop out and let you know.
I've had no complaints so far...but am also ready with a copy of the bylaws ( most councils seem to have adopted the same bylaws)
 

Taz

Busking Oracle
Messages
3,664
Location
Rugby UK
Most coppers know that there's nothing they can do to move you on if you've been playing at a reasonable volume and not being a nuisance to anyone.
Some people will complain about you before you've opened your case.
Here are some tips that I was given, some by the good people on here, others by buskers I've met on the streets.
Always be polite.
Don't appear scruffy
Add a little movement to your performance
Play popular tunes but remember the different age groups around you.
Drop a few coins in your case before you start (personally I never bother)
Know your material
Don't stand too close to your case/hat it puts some folk off
Don't put your hat/case in people's way
Don't forget to say thank you or at least nod or bow in appreciation
Be prepared to stop and chat.
Don't block the pavement or doorways
Don't play near telephone boxes
Don't play too near to market traders who call to their punters such as greengrocers
Do play near places where people will receive change
Don't play near the 99p shop (you'll be amazed at how many 1p coins you'll get lol)
Do play near shopping trolley parks if they are coin operated
If there's another busker around, be polite, say hi. If he's in a spot you want then ask if he's staying for a while or moving. If he's staying then find somewhere else far enough away so that you won't interfere with each other.
Think about your surroundings, narrow pedestrian areas will sound better and will funnel people towards you
Watch out for flats above shops where night workers could be sleeping
Empty shops make great stages and there's no one inside to upset
Make friends with the locals.
Always remember that people haven't come to see your performance, you are there to enhance the atmosphere and buy dong so you can reap the rewards.
If you are on Facebook look for Buskers Unregulated.
You don't need a licence to busk. Neither do you need public liability insurance.
Two councils in England do require licences and they are Harringey and Camden

Also remember, a busker never reveals his days takings, but on a bad day (4 hours) I have gone home with £20. On a good day (same amount of time) I have made over ten times that amount!

Busking is something that you love and hate in equal measures. On the days that count, your punters will have you weeping! I have experienced many amazing and emotional things. A deaf child discovering that she could hear me if she touched my sax! An old lady who was reminded of dancing with her late husband to the tunes that I was playing.
Just watching couples reaching for each other's hands as you play some romantic ballad puts a warm glow in my heart!

I hope this helps and I'm sure there's plenty more good advice for all of us buskers.

Have fun

Oh and by the way, the first time you go busking, you will be terrified, the nerves will hit hard. Once you are over the initial fear, will have the most amazing time. (Don't forget your tissues :mrcool
 

sax panther

Member
Café Supporter
Messages
564
Location
UK
I've done busking before playing clarinet...stuff like Mozart clarinet concerto, Brahms sonatas etc. Took a small battery powered stereo that was just about loud enough to play backing tracks through. Made about £50 in 45 mins.

I also go busking with an 8 piece funky new orleans style brass band (think Lucky Chops, Youngblood etc) - we usually make about £250-£300 from two hour long sets. Not a great deal when split between 8 of us, but we get a lot of gig offers from people who stop and watch so it's always worthwhile. Great to make people dance in the streets too. As well as the money, we've had a lovely family buy us some cakes and doughnuts, and a local coffee shop bring us free milkshakes.

Check with the local council - some places (like Southampton) have designated busking spots. We only had one complaint, in Winchester, from the manager of a mobile phone shop who was finding it difficult to speak to his customers because we were quite load. Wasn't a nasty complaint, he just explained the situation and asked us when we'd be finishing.
 

Targa

Among the pigeons
Café Supporter
Messages
9,094
Location
KIC 8462852
'we usually make about £250-£300 from two hour long sets. Not a great deal when split between 8 of us,'
That's approx. £15 to £20 an hour cash in hand, obviously busking is better than working for a living.
 

sax panther

Member
Café Supporter
Messages
564
Location
UK
'we usually make about £250-£300 from two hour long sets. Not a great deal when split between 8 of us,'
That's approx. £15 to £20 an hour cash in hand, obviously busking is better than working for a living.

Once you take travel expenses and parking into account, and I've given the taxman his cut, it's a bit less than that. We can't do it too much as people would get bored of us (plus trying to find a day where 8 people are available is often pretty difficult), so it's not really going to pay off my mortgage! Good fun though, and great for getting other gigs.
 

Targa

Among the pigeons
Café Supporter
Messages
9,094
Location
KIC 8462852
Once you take travel expenses and parking into account, and I've given the taxman his cut, it's a bit less than that. We can't do it too much as people would get bored of us (plus trying to find a day where 8 people are available is often pretty difficult), so it's not really going to pay off my mortgage! Good fun though, and great for getting other gigs.
£15 an hour is £30000 a year, more than most people get and they have to pay travel, parking and the taxman usually on PAYE.
 

sax panther

Member
Café Supporter
Messages
564
Location
UK
£15 an hour is £30000 a year, more than most people get and they have to pay travel, parking and the taxman usually on PAYE.

Yes, it's higher than the national average wage. But you can't exactly do it in the same spot for 40 hours a week (like my boring office job). So we do it every couple of months for a couple of hours, for a bit of fun and hopefully to entice people into hiring us for festivals, weddings etc.
 

Jules

Formerly known as "nachoman"
Messages
4,747
Location
brighton by the sea
and hopefully to entice people into hiring us for festivals, weddings etc.
I used to spent a lot of time busking with my band with exactly the same rationale- A big notice in the double bass case "CDs for sale & this band is for hire- please take a business card or chat to us in the breaks" . Its less hassle than ringing up venues and grovelling to promoters... worked pretty well.
Re Winchester- We used to set up by the market cross and never had a problem, but that was a few years ago. Guildford high street used to be the best one though...
 

Members online

Popular Discussions

Top Bottom