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 Title: What's great about busking?
PostPosted: Jun 1, 2012 
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Bwana Busker
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Joined: Jan 1, 2005
Posts: 48
Location: Boulder
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:tophat: WHAT'S GREAT ABOUT BUSKING?
by Fergus McKay

fergus_mckay.jpg
I was, at 37 years old, bankrupt, with a dead end job living in Edinburgh in a cramped flat, getting enough money to pay my rent and bills. I gave it up and started to tour, busking in Europe.

I now live in the south of France, have freedom, self confidence, am my own boss, entertain people every day, get asked to perform at festivals, have traveled to an average of 15 countries a year for the last 3 years, get paid only when people like what I do, have a beautiful Italian girlfriend who I would never have met if I hadn’t been busking, and am recognised by people in the streets of my home town, even when not busking.

I have played music with fantastic musicians from all over the world, been hosted on the floors and couches of wonderful people in all sorts of places, opened my horizons more than I could ever have imagined and so on. I’ve picked up two new languages in which I am now fluent… what HASN’T busking done for me?!

Practicing four hours or so every day in front of a live audience, and knowing that you’ll only get paid if you’re entertaining them, certainly helps to make you a better artist. I’ve become a better guitarist, better singer, better songwriter, better interpreter of other people’s songs, better at communicating and better at projecting myself. Perhaps best of all, I have learned how to play the trumpet, mandolin, clarinet, charango and ukulele, and have invented and built my own instruments.
fergus_mckay2.jpg

Busking has given me a career. Before, I had a dead end job and two failed businesses behind me. Now I have an internationally known profile as a one man band, I have bookings in Serbia, Italy, France, UK, Germany, Luxembourg, Austria and Slovenia for this summer, and I will be supporting Joan Armatrading on her tour of the UK.

This has all come about because I decided to become a full time street musician. In my old 9-5 job, I simply didn’t have the time to do any of this. But busking has made it possible to earn a living as a musician without following the depressing route of underpaid gigs, or sending demo tapes to disinterested record companies. I’ve even started to do workshops for street musicians and for building instruments, working with children, the elderly and the disabled, as well as adults wishing to continue learning!


I play in front of literally thousands of people every day. If people like my act, they take a picture, stand and watch, give me a tip, or buy a CD. This is the best way to gauge an international audience’s appreciation. In the days I was in a band, playing at venues that charged an entrance fee, getting that many people to hear my stuff/buy my cd’s etc was impossible. The audience must like what I do or I can’t eat, it’s as simple as that.


For all the above reasons! I never understood who it is that wants busking stopped. It can’t be the people who take pictures, watch, laugh, dance, buy cd’s and merchandise, or go to street festivals — and in my experience that’s the vast majority of people.
fergus_mckay3.jpg

Who are the small minority who think it’s a good idea to restrict it? It provides entertainment, colour, life and vitality outside of the drab and uninspiring world of television; it gives people inspirations and aspirations; it allows people whose talent is not necessarily aligned with that of mainstream culture and media an opportunity to display their talent to a public, who, on the whole, appreciate it; it enables artists to develop and find out where their strengths and weaknesses lie; it alleviates poverty; it opens up travel opportunities; it gets people meeting each other, and swapping creative ideas; it has helped SO many people pick themselves up from broken or dysfunctional situations; it’s an alternative to sitting at home watching TV; it has started many careers; it is an outlet for creative people who don’t necessarily want to be stars…
:spotlight:


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 Title: Re: What's great about busking?
PostPosted: Jul 7, 2012 
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Neo Busker

Joined: May 5, 2012
Posts: 7
Way to go, man. Sometimes when you go out on a limb, you get a much better view of life than you ever imagined. May you savor every day.


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 Title: Re: What's great about busking?
PostPosted: Jan 18, 2013 
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Neo Busker

Joined: Jan 18, 2013
Posts: 1
Great post man! Very inspirational.
Cool, you've "learned" the trumpet... :horn: :wink2:


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 Title: Re: What's great about busking?
PostPosted: Aug 27, 2014 
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Neo Busker

Joined: Aug 27, 2014
Posts: 1
I have played music with fantastic musicians from all over the world, been hosted on the floors and couches of wonderful people in all sorts of places,,,very nice post.. :guitar:

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 Title: Re: What's great about busking?
PostPosted: Jan 24, 2015 
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Neo Busker

Joined: Jan 24, 2015
Posts: 1
BC wrote:
:tophat: WHAT'S GREAT ABOUT BUSKING?
by Fergus McKay

fergus_mckay.jpg
I was, at 37 years old, bankrupt, with a dead end job living in Edinburgh in a cramped flat, getting enough money to pay my rent and bills. I gave it up and started to tour, busking in Europe.

I now live in the south of France, have freedom, self confidence, am my own boss, entertain people every day, get asked to perform at festivals, have traveled to an average of 15 countries a year for the last 3 years, get paid only when people like what I do, have a beautiful Italian girlfriend who I would never have met if I hadn’t been busking, and am recognised by people in the streets of my home town, even when not busking.

I have played music with fantastic musicians from all over the world, been hosted on the floors and couches of wonderful people in all sorts of places, opened my horizons more than I could ever have imagined and so on. I’ve picked up two new languages in which I am now fluent… what HASN’T busking done for me?!

Practicing four hours or so every day in front of a live audience, and knowing that you’ll only get paid if you’re entertaining them, certainly helps to make you a better artist. I’ve become a better guitarist, better singer, better songwriter, better interpreter of other people’s songs, better at communicating and better at projecting myself. Perhaps best of all, I have learned how to play the trumpet, mandolin, clarinet, charango and ukulele, and have invented and built my own instruments.
fergus_mckay2.jpg

Busking has given me a career. Before, I had a dead end job and two failed businesses behind me. Now I have an internationally known profile as a one man band, I have bookings in Serbia, Italy, France, UK, Germany, Luxembourg, Austria and Slovenia for this summer, and I will be supporting Joan Armatrading on her tour of the UK.

This has all come about because I decided to become a full time street musician. In my old 9-5 job, I simply didn’t have the time to do any of this. But busking has made it possible to earn a living as a musician without following the depressing route of underpaid gigs, or sending demo tapes to disinterested record companies. I’ve even started to do workshops for street musicians and for building instruments, working with children, the elderly and the disabled, as well as adults wishing to continue learning!


I play in front of literally thousands of people every day. If people like my act, they take a picture, stand and watch, give me a tip, or buy a CD. This is the best way to gauge an international audience’s appreciation. In the days I was in a band, playing at venues that charged an entrance fee, getting that many people to hear my stuff/buy my cd’s etc was impossible. The audience must like what I do or I can’t eat, it’s as simple as that.


For all the above reasons! I never understood who it is that wants busking stopped. It can’t be the people who take pictures, watch, laugh, dance, buy cd’s and merchandise, or go to street festivals — and in my experience that’s the vast majority of people.
fergus_mckay3.jpg

Who are the small minority who think it’s a good idea to restrict it? It provides entertainment, colour, life and vitality outside of the drab and uninspiring world of television; it gives people inspirations and aspirations; it allows people whose talent is not necessarily aligned with that of mainstream culture and media an opportunity to display their talent to a public, who, on the whole, appreciate it; it enables artists to develop and find out where their strengths and weaknesses lie; it alleviates poverty; it opens up travel opportunities; it gets people meeting each other, and swapping creative ideas; it has helped SO many people pick themselves up from broken or dysfunctional situations; it’s an alternative to sitting at home watching TV; it has started many careers; it is an outlet for creative people who don’t necessarily want to be stars…
:spotlight:


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