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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
Jack Hickman - Kingston, ON Street Musicians, Buskers? (94* d) RE: Street Musicians, Buskers? 25 Feb 99


I lost track of this thread for a while, but quite enjoyed picking it up again. The question was asked, how much money can buskers make, and the answer varies an awful lot. In our town during the Buskers' Festival, we found that a family consisting of ma and pa and five kids would stand in front of you for half an hour, make all kinds of requests, then when ready to move on, would throw a quarter in the case. This to be split amond six of us. On the other hand, once, and only once, a young lady known to all of us in the band dropped in ten bucks without batting an eye. I don't know whether she liked us or the music we played.

I've spoken to a couple of guys about how worth while it is to busk. This one guy lives about 60 miles from our town, and during the summer comes in about 3 times a week to busk. In the winter, he goes to Toronto, a round trip of about 150 miles, to play in the St. Lawrence Market. He says he makes out alright, but he always looks like a ragbag, although anytime I've seen his kids, they were always clean and well-dressed. He usually has them close by as a psychological ploy. Maybe his wife has a good job and supports his busking habits, among others.

The other guy I have in mind plays on the streets all year long, and that takes some doing in our climate. He wears special mittens with the fingers exposed so he can play his guitar. About three days a week he plays for a couple of hours in front of the liquor store, and tells me he makes out like a bandit. I guess people going into to buy booze have a sense of guilt. They never stop to listen, just throw money in the case and walk on.

During our Buskers' Festival, they attract a lot of travelling buskers who really make a living out of it. They're good, but most importantly, they know how to attract and hold a crowd for about half an hour or so. It wouldn't surprise me it they made in the 20k range, but they also have a lot of travel expenses.

Tim Jacques: A belated response to your comments above. The latest thing is what the City fathers are planning to do with our beautiful County Court House. As a lawyer, you'd appreciate it. I'll fill you in in another message. Send me your e-mail address.

Keep the Faith, all of you.

Jack Hickman


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