Updated: Nov 14, 2019
Written by violinist & street performer, Hannah K Watson
I’ve decided to describe some of my busking experiences with a list of the 10 best, worst, weirdest, random and perhaps helpful tidbits that have made this busking season memorable:
1. Best Day of the Summer
Definitely Independence Day, and oddly enough, it was one of the very first days I was able to busk this summer as well, and man was it a good day. Met a lot of friendly festive people and made a fair amount of tips. People would clap along to the upbeat tunes like ‘Yankee Doodle’ and I even heard a few people singing along with us to songs like ‘God Bless America’ and of course, ‘The Star Spangled Banner’. The simple pleasures of playing some good ol’ American music.
2. Worst Day of the Summer
There were many (more than last summer), but one particular day, temperatures were skyrocketing to dang near 100 degrees, it felt like a sauna bath outside. It was definitely too hot for me, and way too hot for my fiddle. As I recall, I think I played for about a half hour, sweated like a coal miner, then decided to call it a day because it just wasn’t worth it! The planets were not aligned that day.
3. Best Place to Play
My favorite places are all along Michigan Avenue, especially around Magnificent Mile (hopefully in the shade). There are many good spots, but I look for places where lots of people are shopping and kids and families are abundant.
4. Worst Place to Play
I haven’t come across a really horrible busking location yet, though one time on State Street after playing my fingers off for about an hour, I only made $2 in my tip jar. I must have been in the wrong place at the wrong time. In general, I always avoid places that don’t have a lot of foot traffic and might be dangerous or less welcoming parts of town.