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

martin oldsberg martinoldsberg@xxxxx
Thu Jul 7 13:24:40 EDT 2016

Before I started out I asked and got some good advice here from experienced folks. 
Now with my limited background (one summer of serious busking, two guys, vox/guitar and harp) I´d say that problem no 1 here in Gothenburg, Sweden was the disappointing revenue. 
We did not get a whole lot of money. Not at all.
Maybe it has something to do with the Swedish rapid progression towards a cash-free society, so that can possibly differ greatly from the US?; maybe the fact that we´ve been swarmed by beggars from SE Europe contributes: people are tired of donating money; maybe just our musical lousiness scared people off.
Don´t know.The advice you got about a CD has also been given to me, and before we hit the streets this summer I think we will have something along that line to sell, at a very attractive price.
General advice? Embarassment was something I feared -- got over it soon. Pretty much right away.
We staked a claim on one spot in the city, didn´t go there every day and -- important -- had a varied repertoire so we didn´t drive shopkeepers etc mad by repeating e.g. "Theme from `The Godfather´, part II" ad nauseam. (A particular favourite w/ the accordion players from Bulgaria/Romania, who arrived on the same bus as the beggars.) On the contrary, we were appreciated.
That a 15 W amp would not suffice is something I would not worry about at all. We were two on my 5 W Roland Mobile Cube (guitar/harmonica, singing unamplified) and even that was at times too loud. You can check it out on YT (my links never work) by using my name, and may land on a not-so-subtly blaring blues number. (My excuse that I had a thunderous hangover that day is pretty lame -- wouldn´t that have made me turn down? But the lady who did the filmimg -- with the very visible thumb at the outset -- said it sounded much more tempered live. I don´t know, that could be ... love.)

 Cheers,Martin Oldsberg,Sweden
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Uncas o jag
 Blues på gatan i Haga, 11/7 2015. Uncas Rydén & Martin Oldsberg.  |   |




Hello Fellow Chewers of the Tin Sandwich,

I believe that many harp-l participants have experience as street
performers, and I would greatly appreciate the benefit of any advice and
wisdom you can impart. I?m inbetween day jobs and hoping to fill some of
the time with busking as a solo act. I?m going to be ?official?; the street
performer license in Chicago is $100 and it?s good for two years, so that?s
not a significant barrier.

My questions divide into two streams. General questions about street
performing, and specific questions about street performing with the harp.

General: I think I know what to do about bathroom breaks, and how to keep a
fleet-footed thief from stealing all the tips. I?m curious about requests,
as in, do you get them, and what songs do people request? But there?s a lot
I haven?t considered, I?m sure. If there was one thing you wish you?d been
told, before you started out, what would that be?

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