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Topic: Busking in Boston
Message: Posted by: DevynS (Nov 4, 2007 04:29PM)
Anyone busking in Boston? Maybe not right now do to the wheather, but maybe have or are planning on.

ALso, besides Faniuel Hall(Quincy Market)where are some other good places to busk? I know you have to audition to work Fanny Hall so that's why I'm looking for other places there to busk.

Message: Posted by: marty.sasaki (Nov 4, 2007 06:35PM)
At one time there was quite a lot of busking in Harvard Square. Not so much these days, they've changed the sidewalks and areas that were great for performances have been broken up a bit. In Cambridge you need a permit, it's $40 per calendar year. During the summer months, and maybe it's been extended for longer, Memorial Drive is closed for a few blocks around Harvard Square. It should be possible to find a few spots along the river appropriate for busking.

I imagine there are spots along the waterfront and there should be spots in the "new" park above the "Big Dig". Danny Hustel advises that there is a spot in front of Faneuil Hall that doesn't require you to be part of the audition process, but it is sought after and unless you are really good, and probably even if you are really good, you will get pushed out by the bucket drummers and break dancers.

New England has all sorts of festivals and fairs through the summer. It is worth checking out surrounding cities and towns.
Message: Posted by: DevynS (Nov 4, 2007 09:01PM)
Wow that was a wealth of information. Thanks so much. I will look into those places.

How about more on those fairs and festivals. Can you give me any names of these? and how you get to be in and perform in them?

Thank ou Devyn
Message: Posted by: DevynS (Nov 4, 2007 09:33PM)
And I think I know waht spot your talking about at Fanny Hall where you don't need a permit. is it the spot right in front of the main entrance? Where its shown on the Art of Street Performong dvd collection.

If I'm right I agree that you would have to be good to work there. I've seen Gazzo,Lucky,Danny Hustle,and others working there and they are just great.

Message: Posted by: Jason Fleming (Nov 4, 2007 10:33PM)
In Boston...there are some spots in Downtown Crossing, but probably not for a big circle show. I never saw anyone working in the Copley Square area, not sure why... plenty of geography there by the looks of it. Salem has tourists and foot traffic, not sure of the rules. I don't think it's worth trying to work Worcester.
Message: Posted by: marty.sasaki (Nov 5, 2007 08:27AM)
I've seen buskers, not doing magic though, jugglers, and music folks, in the Boston Public Garden, and the Boston Common. There are probably spots along Commonwealth Avenue.

There are all sorts of things happening. There are kite events in and around Boston. There is the Cambridge River Festival, various towns and cities have "town day". Around July 4, many towns have events during the day with fireworks in the evening.

I don't know how you get in on it, but there are also "First Night" festivities on New Year's Eve in Boston, Providence, and I think Worcester.

It might actually be easy to do something at first night, unless the police chase you away. One year I was waiting for the parade to come by and took out a yo-yo to pass the time. After a bit I looked up to discover I had gathered a crowd and received a round of applause when I stopped. If I had been quicker, I could have passed the hat and would probably have done okay.
Message: Posted by: ShawnB (Nov 5, 2007 02:56PM)
I busk in the common. There is a walkway that is right across from the gardens.. It gets a bunch of foot traffic. (people going from the gardens or common up to Faniuel Hall.

I did a show or two up by Faniuel.. across from the break dancers... They kinda take the place over though... They have a good show.. but they just don't stop...
THey have speakers and 5 to 10 people at a time... so they win...

Still you could get your nitch if you went there often enought..

Message: Posted by: Danny Hustle (Nov 5, 2007 07:27PM)
If you want to learn your trade and craft knocking out shows in Downtown Crossing or Boston Common will work. The money is not there and stay away from the vendors but you can have fun.

Harvard Square IS A MESS at the moment. There are still places to work if you just want to hustle and learn but again, money is tough. Better situation than Downtown crossing or the common though in my opinion.

My best advice would be to go walking around AWAY from fanny hall, downtown crossing, the common, and find A NEW AREA. There are MANY places in Boston with a lot of foot traffic. I know guys who claim to have had good luck in other areas but I am not going to blow their pitches.

The good news is the city is now WIDE OPEN to buskers. You can work almost anywhere YOU think is good.

Take a look at surrounding towns as well. there is some great night life in particular in some of the outlying towns.


Message: Posted by: DevynS (Nov 5, 2007 07:52PM)
Thank everyone for the wealth of information.

I have a quesion tho. do you have to have a permit to busk in Boston? Besides Fanny Hall I mean.

Message: Posted by: Danny Hustle (Nov 5, 2007 08:00PM)
Nope. It's WIDE open. ;)
Message: Posted by: ShawnB (Nov 6, 2007 03:08PM)
You just can't block any walking paths... They will try to get you on that no matter where you are.. So make sure you or your crowd is not impeading on a walkway sidewalk enterance or exit.. and you will be all good...

Good luck Let us know how you make out..

Message: Posted by: Danny Hustle (Nov 6, 2007 08:32PM)

That is VERY true! Thanks for pointing that out! Also, if the police should tell you that you are blocking the walking path EVEN if you are not, maybe especially if you are not. BE POLITE and do what they tell you. When they see you are willing to 'play ball' and not be a pain in the lower regions they will cut you some slack. that has worked for me with the BPD, the parks department men and women, and the state police. Be nice and they will too.

GREAT point Shawn!


Message: Posted by: G.Gilbert (Nov 7, 2007 01:43AM)
Hey Danny thanks for the info on Boston.. I was supposed to go to Salem, Ma a couple weeks ago, but I had some gigs and told my sister to go ahead without me.. She had a ball, but she told me that Boston, and the 3 hour drive from salem was horrible. I guess she didn't like the traffic or somethin..

Message: Posted by: Danny Hustle (Nov 7, 2007 07:36AM)
The traffic is just horrible...always.
Message: Posted by: DevynS (Nov 7, 2007 04:59PM)
Wow, thanks for that point Shawn.

And Danny thanks for letting me know that its open. that's just great.

Boston is actually only a little over an hour for me. Especially if I take the T in. All those from Boston know what I'm talking about.

Yes, I will definetly let you all know how I do. But to let you know it's probably not going to be a little while before I go. I have to work some more on my patter and get everything down to the point where I can do my routine in my sleep. hahaha.

Thanks everyone.
Message: Posted by: ed rhodes (Nov 8, 2007 08:18PM)
Good for you. I wish you success.
Message: Posted by: DevynS (Nov 8, 2007 08:53PM)
Thank You.
Message: Posted by: ed rhodes (Nov 15, 2007 11:10PM)
And you got plenty of time to work on the timing and patter, it's November. I doubt if anybody's really planning on working Boston during a New England winter! (We've just had three days of 50-60 degree weather... now with the weekend coming, it's supposed to drop to lower 40s and less! I hate New England in the winter!)
Message: Posted by: marty.sasaki (Nov 16, 2007 09:58AM)
Anyone have information about busking during First Night, or how to get to be a performer for First Night? It's probably too late, but it might be an option. I know there have been magicians, jugglers, story-tellers, etc., performing in Hynes Convention Center as well as lobbies to buildings along Boylston Street.
Message: Posted by: DevynS (Nov 16, 2007 12:34PM)
Mandrake I definetly agree with you on that. I hate New England Winters.haha

Marty I have a question. What is First Night? sorry I don't know.
Message: Posted by: johnnymystic (Nov 16, 2007 01:40PM)
First Night Festivals are non-alcholoic city wide celebrations on New Years Eve. many cities across the U.S participate, Boston is one of them.

I used to perform for the city of Pittsfield Ma. every year until they stopped having the first Night Festival.

Message: Posted by: ed rhodes (Nov 16, 2007 11:19PM)
They tried to have one in Newport until they discovered that "First Night" is a copyrighted term and they'd have to pay money. Then they changed it to "Opening Night." Providence also changed the name because they got tired of paying more than they were taking in in revenue.
Message: Posted by: Jim Wilder (Nov 16, 2007 11:29PM)
"i was kidnapped. my abductors took me to a cabin in the woods which was quickly surrounded by police and ATF agents. they wanted to use teargas, but didn't have any, so several officers acted out the the death scene from Camille. it worked."
Message: Posted by: DevynS (Nov 17, 2007 07:11AM)
Wow sounds cool. Thanks Johhny and Mandrake.

Wtf is that Jim?

Message: Posted by: ed rhodes (Nov 17, 2007 09:42AM)
Here we go! Providence calls their celebration; "Bright Night"


They are always looking for performers. I'm assuming they don't pay a lot and I don't know the specifics on working for tips. But you're free to look it up.

I would avoid Newport's festival as I was told by the City Clerk in Newport that Newport does NOT allow performing for tips at any function. You HAVE to have a contract with whoever is running the function and get your money from them!

I'm pretty certain that's unconstitutional, but unless you're willing to spend the time and money to fight it, that's the law!
Message: Posted by: Jim Wilder (Nov 17, 2007 10:46AM)
Who wrote "Time of the Season?"
Message: Posted by: Danny Hustle (Nov 17, 2007 02:29PM)
"The Zombies"

I like Turtles!
Message: Posted by: ShawnB (Nov 17, 2007 08:18PM)
On 2007-11-17 15:29, Danny Hustle wrote:
"The Zombies"

I like Turtles!

Danny.. Is that a little O&A??? I hope so cause I just got a laugh out of it...

if not... I am happy that you like turtels...
Message: Posted by: Danny Hustle (Nov 17, 2007 09:03PM)
I also like Jimmy Dean's sausage but in the SIXTEEN oz pack not the TWELVE oz pack! I got six-hundred pounds of men and a plump Danish girl to feed over here! And I don't want no maple sage sausage! That's for folks from the north! I'M A TEXAS MAN!

I like Turtles.
Message: Posted by: ed rhodes (Nov 17, 2007 09:26PM)
I got an interview with him on my "Diamonds Are Forever" DVD. He talks about having qualms about playing "Williard White," the kidnapped billionaire industralist since he was performing in one of Howard Hughes casinos at the time and if Howard hadn't liked the performance, he could have been out of a job.

Then he digressed a little; "Thank God for the sausage business. Yep, every day's 'Ground Hog Day' at the Dean household!"
Message: Posted by: Jim Wilder (Nov 17, 2007 09:28PM)
Did you get interviewed live at Waterfront Village?
Message: Posted by: phaddad2 (Nov 17, 2007 10:38PM)
Mandrake thanks for the infor on Bright nite I did not know thaey had changed the name.
Pete H.
Message: Posted by: DevynS (Nov 18, 2007 08:49AM)
Yes thanks everyone.
Message: Posted by: ed rhodes (Nov 18, 2007 07:53PM)
You're welcome. Good luck to anyone that contacts them, I don't think I'm there yet. 10 years ago maybe, next year, maybe. But not right now.
Message: Posted by: Zack (Nov 19, 2007 11:57AM)
Havard square is no good anymore? that's awful. The Square was always busker central. I grew up watching buskers there...it used to be shoulder to shoulder on hot summer nights!
Message: Posted by: The Mighty Fool (Nov 19, 2007 01:30PM)
What exactly is 'first night'??

"storytellers"?? There are actually buskers in Boston who do storytelling on the pitch? This I gotta see!

All this talk of of 'wide-open' performing territory, understanding cops, & uncharted pitches has me truly intruiged.....come spring, I just might take a jaunt up to beantown!
Message: Posted by: Dave V (Nov 19, 2007 01:39PM)
There is also something called "First Friday" that's being done in Las Vegas and a few other cities. It's basically an "Art in the Park" street festival where vendors can rent booths and sell their wares. They have local bands performing, and by registering with the promoter, busking is permitted. They even tell you that they can't afford to pay you, so feel free to accept tips or sell something to cover your costs.
Message: Posted by: marty.sasaki (Nov 19, 2007 02:30PM)
There is still busking being done, but construction has broken up the space so that larger crowds are difficult to gather. I think that once the construction clears up it should be pretty good again.

First night is a New Year's Eve citywide event. There are concerts and performances throughout the city, with storytellers, jugglers, magicians, etc. around the city as well as the convention center. There is a parade to kick things off, and fireworks in the harbor at midnight. Check out the website http://firstnight.org/
Message: Posted by: ed rhodes (Nov 27, 2007 12:57PM)
When should the construction clear up?

Mind you, if the "Big Dig" is any indication, when the constuction is _supposed_ to clear up is no indication of when the Area will be actually available!
Message: Posted by: Danny Hustle (Nov 27, 2007 02:24PM)
Did I mention that I like Turtles?
Message: Posted by: marty.sasaki (Nov 27, 2007 04:41PM)
Late notice, but I think that Danny Hustle will be at the Mystery Lounge in Harvard Square this evening.

I won't be there (boo, sorry), due to the IBM ring meeting, but I hope to catch him there sometime soon.

Check it out, it's a night worth attending.
Message: Posted by: ed rhodes (Nov 27, 2007 10:49PM)
Will he bring Turtles?
Message: Posted by: Danny Hustle (Nov 28, 2007 01:21AM)
If you come I shall bring TWO!
Message: Posted by: ed rhodes (Nov 28, 2007 04:55AM)
Sorry, not getting to Boston any time soon. Just bring one.
Message: Posted by: Danny Hustle (Nov 28, 2007 10:08AM)
Fair enough
Message: Posted by: marty.sasaki (Feb 9, 2008 08:45PM)
I was really disappointed. I went to the Mystery Lounge and Danny was there. He did a fun routine, but no turtles. Boohoo....
Message: Posted by: ed rhodes (Feb 9, 2008 10:42PM)
Danny, you failed!
Message: Posted by: Danny Hustle (Feb 11, 2008 08:21PM)
Message: Posted by: ed rhodes (Feb 12, 2008 04:21AM)
Somebody has to develop a "Matrix" like trick with little plastic turtles, just for Danny!
Message: Posted by: AntonDreaming (Feb 12, 2008 12:47PM)
He could always get the black fox turtle shells.
Message: Posted by: marty.sasaki (Feb 12, 2008 05:33PM)
It would be cool to do a matrix with live turtles, although the PETA folks would be protesting. Imagine lifting the card covering the turtles and having then walk away from each other...
Message: Posted by: ed rhodes (Feb 16, 2008 10:43AM)
Taking this back to Boston. Any idea when the construction will be finished?
Message: Posted by: marty.sasaki (Feb 24, 2008 09:50PM)
What construction? Like most cities, there is construction going on almost all of the time.
Message: Posted by: ed rhodes (Feb 25, 2008 10:44AM)
The construction mentioned elsewhere in this thread that's breaking up Harvard Square and making it difficult to busk there!
Message: Posted by: marty.sasaki (Feb 25, 2008 12:23PM)
I'll check it out and report back.

Some of the construction that has divided the space up has made certain types of shows un-doable. There was a large traffic island with space for a performer and quite a few spectators now has some planters which take up quite a bit of space, and I think there's a sculpture in the middle as well.
Message: Posted by: ed rhodes (Mar 1, 2008 09:28AM)
Ah, so it's not just the concept of the construction. The aftermath of the construction as altered the site and made some types of shows unworkable. :(
Message: Posted by: marty.sasaki (Mar 1, 2008 04:49PM)
You got it. Apparently the powers that be in Cambridge didn't consult with the buskers in the area before deciding on the construction.
Message: Posted by: ed rhodes (Mar 2, 2008 11:51AM)
Well, that was rude of them! I remember they put a piece of modern art into a large plaza in NYC. Ticked off the people who worked in the building the plaza fronted because it cut off their direct route to the building, they had to go around this BIG piece of really ugly sculpture, out into the plaza. In winter, usually into a full NYC blast of cold air!
Message: Posted by: marty.sasaki (Mar 2, 2008 09:26PM)
At MIT they did a similar thing. They put up a huge sculpture right in the middle of this great open space. However, it was put there to break up the air flow would rush down one of the buildings and out between other buildings to the Charles River. It actually made things better, but it was MIT after all.
Message: Posted by: ed rhodes (Mar 3, 2008 11:44AM)
MIT story, (I think this is accurate).

MIT has a football team. It doesn't really do very well. Whenever they lose a cruicle (sp) play, the cheerleader chant; "That's all right. That's OK. You'll all work for us someday!"
Message: Posted by: FunTimeAl (Mar 3, 2008 03:15PM)
"crucial" is spelled t-u-r-t-l-e
Message: Posted by: marty.sasaki (Mar 3, 2008 11:06PM)
On 2008-03-03 12:44, mandrake01 wrote:
MIT story, (I think this is accurate).

MIT has a football team. It doesn't really do very well. Whenever they lose a cruicle (sp) play, the cheerleader chant; "That's all right. That's OK. You'll all work for us someday!"
I don't know if this is true or not, it sounds plausible. When I went to school there, there wasn't a football team. There aren't that many women either, maybe the cheerleaders are imported from other local schools.
Message: Posted by: ed rhodes (Mar 4, 2008 04:51AM)
I could have it wrong. When did you go?

Day 4 (I'm gonna go vote!)