How to Find a Pitch

A lot of times, a busker wishes to check on or find a new pitch for their performances. However, as cities are constantly flip-flopping all over the place, where it may have been legal five years ago may now be illegal. Where it was once illegal may now be perfectly okay. The decision is usually left up to the community's perception of busking and street performing versus it's pan-handling and begging laws.

As the times change, more and more busking laws are being repealed in favor of tourism and in the interest of re-vitalizing the community. Some cities even repeatedly change back and forth on their decisions. Busking may have been legal, then outlawed, then again, made perfectly legal over a span as short as three years.

Rather than relying on other busker's word of mouth, one may want to do some research before traveling to a distant pitch only to find street performing is not allowed. Spend some time deciding on five to ten cities in which you'd like to try your hand at busking.

Why should you waste your hard-earned money going to a perspective pitch not knowing what the local laws are regarding busking? The short answer is, you shouldn't. Neither should you try to ask by email. Why? Because city governments are usually embroiled in much more serious matters than to answer your email.

The simplest method is to telephone and ask City Hall or the police the current state of their busking policy. It's a lot easier and you'll receive an answer on the phone right then and there. For some reason, telephoning seems to have an immediate urgency that email just can't match. By telephoning, you're engaging another human who's been paid to find the answer or re-direct your call to someone who does. Writing letters back and forth is also one of the worst ways of communicating where the message is often mis-interpreted or even lost in translation.

Of course, you may not speak the local language. However, most police departments usually have someone on hand who speaks a major language. English is most likely your best bet as it's probably the most spoken and often referred to as a true "world language". It is the dominant international language in entertainment, communications, science, business, aviation, radio and diplomacy. It is the official language in fifty-three countries world-wide.

A busker in Hawaii used this method when deciding to busk Europe. Using the premise of not wanting to violate any local laws, he simply phoned the police in each city in which he was interested and asked their current busking status. He was also surprised to learn some cities had recently outlawed busking while others had just made it legal again. He even learned of the recommended pitches and upcoming events - even busker festivals - by simply asking while he had them on the phone. Here he was in Hawaii calling to the other side of the world in the convenience of his living room - all for a $5 calling card. He was also saving hundreds of Euros by crossing some cities off the list and adding others. The busker had a quite successful tour knowing the laws, pitches, events, and festivals in advance.

What could be easier? Ring them up!

Busker Alley

More Insights