From stage to street. See Tim busking.
I’ll preface this post by letting you know that you can find me somewhere in the CBD of Brisbane busking very regularly. To find out where….keep reading.
Mel & I lived in Toronto for a couple of years and it was a wonderful, big, thriving city with culture and entertainment around every corner. Literally. If there wasn’t a venue like a bar or café that had some form of live music, it was a theatre that had a touring show, a stadium with a rock concert or even a festival with some sort of theme with music a large feature (I will never forget the Taste of Danforth Greek Festival with Zorba blaring out every 10 minutes).
But the one thing I loved and grew inspiration from was the buskers plying their trade on the streets, at the Harbour Front and in the subways across the city. Wonderful acts from musicians, clowns, acrobats and magicians, all there to entertain the unsuspecting passerby’s.
I had done some busking as a teenager, with my good friend Alan (aka Zeke), in my hometown of Geelong, but I had never thought of performing my art as a profession on the street stage. Until I saw an incredible violinist on the platform of the Bloor Subway who had a crowd of people watching and listening intently, happy to miss their train just to wait to the end of the song and gladly pay the busker with all denominations of coins and notes. What a wonderful way to entertain people, earn an income and do what you love … play music.
So, one Saturday afternoon I felt very motivated to have a sing and thought I would incorporate it into a busking session. I went down to the local gadget store and bought a small battery operated speaker system that we could plug my iPod into and headed down to the Harbour Front of Lake Ontario. I knew that at the time there was a classical Festival being held that weekend down near the shopping complex on the harbour (a centre very similar to our Southbank in Melbourne).
I set up in what I thought was a reasonable busking spot as there was a steady flow of people coming and going in and out of the harbour front centre as well as boarding on an off the ferries that were docking nearby. I sang for exactly one hour as I watched my hat fill up with coins and even notes with every song. I concentrated more on the classical songs as I knew that the festival was on and that most of the patrons that were around at the time were possibly attending it. Plus it’s not every day you hear a guy on the street singing arias at the top of his voice. And okay the wheelchair and the dog I’m sure drew a few more onlookers than the normal busker, but as they say in the industry “you got a have a gimmick”!
Cutting a long story short, I loved it. The people seemed to love it and my hat seemed to love it. Since then I have been busking regularly wherever I am. Always fine tuning and adding to my act, making sure I give every passerby the professional performance I pride myself in.
As mentioned, when I’m not gigging and travelling around the place, you can probably find me most afternoons and evenings somewhere along the beautiful bougainvillea arbor along Brisbane’s South Bank (Near the Courier Mail Piazza or the Conservatorium of Music). Come and visit, say hi, request a song and maybe if I’m lucky, drop a dime!