[Harp-L] busking/street performing -- seeking advice

Sébastien Frémal sebastien.fremal@xxxxx
Fri Jul 1 04:48:28 EDT 2016

Hello !!

I did some busking at several occasions with different groups. Firstly, if
you just want to get fun in the street and getting money is not your
objective, go for it, do whatever you want, you will always receive some
cash. Here are however some advice to optimize the income (in the fun case)
- Play where the accoustic is nice. You're selling your sound. The most
important thing is to get a nice accoustic place so your sound is so
awesome people want to make love with it ! If your amp is not powerfull,
avoid big open space, your sound will get lost. With one guy, we played
with a really nice accoustic amp which had a gread sound and was really
powerfull. In this case, we were heard all over squares, no need to chose
specific locations. But another time, I played in accoustic with a guitar
player, and we had more success in little streets with great accoustic and
reverb than in crowdy squares.
- Chose a spot where people pass. Like shopping streets. I like crossroads
because you get the passage from 2 streets instead of 1 :D
- Wear nice clothes. I'm not saying to wear a tuxedo, I'm just saying that
if you wear something in accordance with your role, if it makes more
authentic, more artistic, people will get more attracted. It also makes
more serious and less "if you give me a dollar, I will just use it  to
purchase a whisky bottle and get fucked tonight". I'm not saying it's
necesseraly a bad thing, I'm just saying it's less selling haha.

Now, if you want to make money, here are some advice. I'm not saying you
have to follow it. I don't necesseraly follow them, but sometimes you're
just trying to get something to eat :
- Record a CD. It's now possible to get a cheap home-studio (an external
sound card and a cracked recording software like Cubase or Garage Band,
depending on your operating system). Record 12-15 tracks and sell it
between 5 and 10$. People will more easily give you money if you give them
something in exchange. For my experience, when I was playing with a guy who
sang its own french song (I live in Belgium, french songs are a good thing,
and having its own songs is always better, so it was a really good plan),
we made 40€ per hour. If we sold CD too, we made 80€ per hour. It doubles
the income.
- Get a girl who sing well. With a pretty face and boobs. Nobody can
compete against a nice girl who sing nice. I mean, once we played near a
girl who sings really well, we got nearly nobody and no money. Once I
played with an accordeonist who sang its own french song, we made 80€ in 40
minutes, without CD. That's just crazy !!
- And last but not least, it's like the advice leading to hell ha ha :
don't play songs because YOU like them, play songs that PEOPLE like. Once I
played with 2 guys who had guitars and no money and who wanted to enter in
a festival. So we just began playing some nice jamming stuff, but we got
only 2-3 euros per 15 minutes. Then we improvised on known theme such as
The House of The Rising Sun, Hotel California, Get Lucky ... They got their
2 tickets (80€) and we each had  an extra 15€/pers in an hour and a half :)
Here it is, don't get discouraged if a session goes wrong. There are some
days you will get your share, and some other day you will just doubt about
yourself. Always believe in yourself !!

Good luck, good work !!


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