After making the move from London to Melbourne one of the most noticeable similarities is the undisguised zest for live music that engulfs both cities. With both places enriched with institutes catering for those wishing to study Music, it could be said that busking has gradually become a more and more utilised outlet for those wanting to let the world hear what they’ve got.
With a variety of genres echoing from street to street, Melbourne is the hub for ‘Do it yourself’ musicians with loop pedals appearing left, right and centre. Walking through the main streets of the city, both tourists and locals alike seem to be tuning in to hear the music that’s being created in front of them. With some musicians accumulating rows of passers-by, the question is: has watching the local talent just become a remedy for the bored companions of shopaholics, or is busking organically encouraging the general public to seek enjoyment in the art of live music?
With the days of an impromptu street-side rendition of ‘Mr. Brightside’ sadly over, busking within most cities around the world demands some serious planning and license obtaining. Mostly for the benefit of the public’s ears, often councils now require an application just to ensure you’re not Phoebe Buffet’s long-lost cousin. Following in the footsteps of the likes of Rod Stewart, The John Butler Trio, and Tracy Chapman, a large number of musicians seem to be favouring a day of busking in vibrant streets over playing a gig that may, or may not be attended by at least one man and his dog.
With playing original material in various music venues often coming hand in hand with a request to bring at least 20 friends, who will, of course, pay 15 on the door and will definitely buy at least 5 drinks; it might be said that busking offers more of a self-rewarding method. Though a sentiment that has often reflected personal experience, can gigging your music to a crowd of people who may or may not be interested in hearing your music, really compare to the buzz of playing a live, pre-planned gig?
In a time where the ‘DIY’ attitude has lent itself to the success of several millennial musicians; armed with albums and promotional material, buskers have tapped into an opportunity to grasp the attention of the public on their own terms. As many continue to strive to establish themselves within the ever competitive industry, it appears that busking has, and will continue to remain an unrivalled and unlimited platform for up and coming talent.
Photos are not my own.