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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The side walk shuffle » » Greatest Threats to the Future of Busking! (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Stperformer
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The last few years I've noticed some changes happening with regards to one's freedom/opportunities to busk. The changes are NOT good. I believe they could very well end the Art of Street Performing as we know and take for granted.

Insurance - While many of us here have liability insurance, it has never really been a demand for street performer. During the last 3 or 4 years I've noticed more and more venues insisting that I have specific Liability insurance. The cities of Liverpool UK, Toronto(YD2) Can, Gosford & Sydney (CirQuay) Aus, plus many more require the busker to have public liability insurance. I can see juggling flamin' chainsaws above a crowd.....but card and coin tricks?
http://www.facebook.com/gosfordcouncilpu......petition

Licensing Royalities - I sometimes like to perform some manipulation to music. Well this has started to become a problem as absurb as it may sound in places such as Canada. You see, there is an organisation now, called SOCAN, that oversees any PUBLIC music. For example the Toronto transit system, TTC, has licensed buskers/musicians at subway stops. However the TTC must pay SOCAN around $20,000. Similar situation in Vancouver with Translink:
http://m.theglobeandmail.com/news/britis......e=mobile
When these fees get passed on to us.....

Less & Less pitches free from Control - With the advent of more and more (public/city owned) places requiring a busker license, we are also starting to loss control/freedom of what we do. For example I do a unlit cigarette routine. Done it for years. Don't smoke personally but love the magic. Never a problem til last couple years of which people have complained to the city. Apparrently I'm setting a bad example as the kids look up to me, and thus have been requested to take it out of my act. Good grief!

Internet - The internet has really had a huge affect on busking as there is so much info available. A lot of this has been good , alot, not so.
A few years back I mentioned to a lady acquaitance the location of a really great pitch that I travelled to every year. Well, what did she do.....she posted it on Performers.net. Needless to say by the end of the year the pitch was ruined...over run with amped buskers.

We have a pretty diverse group here. I was wondering if any of you lot have been experiencing/noticing changes that could/are affecting freedom to perform and pass the hat.

Nelson
The Great Zoobini
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People just grab their credit/debit cards these days...no cash to give.
I know about the square card reader but then you'd need a cellphone.
(99% of people don't even need a cellphone)
I already knew about insurance, SOCAN, ASCAP, and BMI.
These organizations are also extremely hard on the Indy filmmaker...
Meet you in Busker Alley Smile
Magician Shaun
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Zoobini,

I would like say that in my opinion 99% of people need a cell phone, in the USA anyway. When was the last time you looked for a payphone to make an emergency call? If it has been recently I would guess you couldn't find one. I can't think of a single working payphone in Atlanta. I don't have a home phone. Instead I have a cell phone. Almost everyone I know is the same. NO home phone, Cell only.

Most cell phones today also take the place of music players, media players, and in some cases even computers. There are programs today that help the poor get a free cell phone with a certain number of minutes and even text messages. These are government funded because a lot of people feel that the Cell phone has gone from being a luxury to a necessity.

And if you have a cell phone, get a square. I have gotten a tip on mine every day since I started using it while busking. I simply added this line to my final hat line, "I also accept Visa, Mastercard, American Express, and Discover through square for those of you not carrying cash, so you can't use that as an excuse here." I do this while pointing to the sticker that square sends with the free reader you get. It's pretty big and they send 2. Another point is that they transfer the money to your account every single day so you don't have to wait, and they only take 2.75% which is a pittance.

Now on to the original thoughts of this thread. I hate to say it Stperformer but those countries that you listed are Socialist countries. They tend to take more freedoms than the politico's in the U.S. Just take the differences in gun laws between those countries and the US. Now, there are problems with busking here in the US too, don't get me wrong. However, we have the ACLU that consistently fights for our rights and it has been upheld many times by US courts that street performing is protected under the First Amendment. Just check out wwww.buskeradvocates.org it will give you a good idea of what is going on.
Stperformer
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On 2013-04-03 16:25, Gr8gorilla wrote:

Now on to the original thoughts of this thread. I hate to say it Stperformer but those countries that you listed are Socialist countries. They tend to take more freedoms than the politico's in the U.S. Just take the differences in gun laws between those countries and the US.


Heya Gr8gorilla, not sure if you're pulling my leg...but luv the post, even if you're serious I'm sure you mean well.
Gun control, public funded medicare, etc would definitely make a more lively discussion over a beer than spring flowers and coins across LOL.

And remember, those socialist Canadians & Brits whooped you lot in 1812 and burned down yer white house. Smile

On a more serious note, I've seen those phone readers/squares at various places recently. My one worry about this is that it leaves an obvious paper trail....not that any of us here wouldn't claim all their busking income. ;-)
Magician Shaun
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Stperformer,

US lack of gun control is by design. It is meant to give citizens the power to overthrow or fight against a corrupt regime. Personally I think quick draw, marksmanship, and gun safety should be taught from Kindergarten. Arming everyone is better than taking everyone's guns. The NRA is correct when they say guns don't kill people, people kill people. It's also important to note that most gun crimes aren't committed with legally obtained guns. Just saying, criminals don't care about laws.

Health care is a different issue and I think it is a right and not a privilege. Everyone should have access to the best medical care free of charge.

I meant was that in America we have legal ground to stand on that protects our street performing rights. It would be nice if our respective countries could learn from each other. Take the best parts if you will.

Do the countries you mentioned have laws that protect an individual's freedom to express themselves? I honestly don't know. I have been a computer science major, and social studies isn't my thing.

The thing about the flowers is that I have no idea what the effect is, what it's purpose is. Honestly if someone wants to make spring flowers appear from their derrière and they smell like roses (right?).

About coins across vs. 3 Fly, I just saw this trick called Final Destination that is awesome.
Zombie Magic
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No matter what, there will ALWAYS be someone that will do well busking. Tourists in the U.S. still carry cash.

20 years from know, someone will refer back to this time as glory days. lol.
imgic
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Quote:
On 2013-04-04 03:04, Zombie Magic wrote:
20 years from know, someone will refer back to this time as glory days. lol.


20 years from now, we'll all have micro-ships in our heads and folks will just have to think to transfer funds...

But aside from that, the right to perform has long been discussed and debated here...and is probably (IMHO) the biggest issue with street performer (In US anyway)
Private companies who run open areas, such as in San Francisco, who then dictate who can do what...
Public areas that have become so full of beggars that cities impose "aggressive panhandling" laws...so broad that you cannot ask for money in any way. Madison, Wisconsin has a great farmers market on Saturdays near their pedestrian mall on State Street. Perfect environment for busking, but you can't specifically ask for money. You can have a bucket out, but not even a sign that says "Tips" on it, or police will ask you to move one. A real shame as the area would greatly benefit from some street performers.

There are those who decry this as a breech our first admendment rights...look back on old posts when Chance was on this forum...you'll see some real **** and vinegar discussion about that.

The US doesn't have a strong culture of street performing to begin with...and it's only made worse by the increasing regulation...
"Imagination is more important than knowledge."
MagiCol
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Thanks to the original poster, Nelson, for starting the thread of a most important topic for buskers/street magicians.
When I started off reading internet magic posts etc. about six years back I thought USA was a wonderful place for busking [I don't live there!]. But the more I find out about USA the worse the busking scene turns out.

I live in New Zealand, where there are some busking restrictions but there is still enough room to get around them or to go busk elsewhere in a city. Private malls usually won't allow busking. What I term 'car cities' are impractical. These are places where the shops/supermarkets etc. are in groups and people use cars to get from one area to another, and once there they park in the car parks that are part of the private property malls, so the public footpaths themselves are hardly used, and certainly there's not enough people on them to make a half-circle show.
It's this lack of pedestrian traffic in public places that is a major problem in New Zealand. We have just a few large cities to generate much foot traffic. Most towns have their supermarkets etc. with their private property parking. These are the inaccessible [to us buskers] busy places in small towns.
A few cities/towns have it written down that they require busking permits. What they say and what they do are two things, so you can work around this. Besides, usually any vigorous policing happens only the central areas of cities.
The cops in New Zealand don't bother buskers, to my knowledge. Security guards do it a bit.

Have any of us mentioned the problem of buskers getting in each other's way, sh_tting in their own nests? Last Saturday one busker in a nearby city [been busking there 14 years] told me that recently some teenagers wanted to have her spot. She told me the teenagers went to the City Council to complain, and now they are limited to 20 minutes outside one shop. So, neither buskers really won out of that disturbance. Why didn't both parties just accept if they get there first, they have the spot until they finish? The regular busker, anyway, moves around to different spots each outing. Well, last Saturday I performed several metres out from the shops [not directly outside them] for 3 hours lately and none of the security guards or cop said anything about the matter to me.

Lack of cash: One way around this is to busk where cash is still used. Fast food shops, hole-in-the-wall bank sites,....
That said, Last week's hats were just change people had on them. I tell some of them that I'll take [dollar] notes, but none came forth. The thought has gone through my mind, as I heard used by one full circle performer; "Please don't just give me your spare change. If you can't buy anything useful with it, then I can't buy anything useful with it either. Please be generous...:
The presentation makes the magic.
Stperformer
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Excellent point, MagiCol, concerning malls.
In Europe, most cities still have a center aka downtown where people go to shop. In N. America, Canada & US, Super malls are prevalent where people go to shop.
Private property vs public.
However Shopping Centers/Malls are starting to appear more and more in Europe. Last time I was down under (many years ago) there were seeming to pop up there more also.
Sounds like Auckland and Christchurch are going the same way???

Nelson
ed rhodes
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People don't go to parks in New Zealand?

I've got two places I'm comfortable busking in. One is a college area street which reminds me a little of the East Village/Greenwich Village area.
The other is Roger Williams Park. There's an area called the Carousel Village where I can perform. I had a little trouble at first because the manager of the area felt that I was infringing on the peddlers who paid for peddlers licenses for the area. When we (myself and one of the peddlers) explained that I wasn't "selling" anything, he calmed down. He actually asked me to come in and perform IN the Carousel, but that didn't work, anyone coming in only had eyes for the horses and didn't want to watch magic.

Having said that, Roger Williams Park is mostly a "drive through" park and the Carousel Village and the Zoo are the only places I can think of where people would be walking around. I asked the Zoo people about busking, they seemed interested in my coming in and performing IN the Zoo, but as I really don't have a full children's show prepared yet, I declined.
"There's no time to lose," I heard her say.
"Catch your dreams before they slip away."
"Dying all the time, lose your dreams and you could lose your mind.
Ain't life unkind?"
ZoOpDoG
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Where I live you need a permit. Getting the permit involves a SLED background check and around $15. You also need a business license. These are usualy around $15 also. You only need these things if you intend on accepting tips or "Direct or indirect solicitation of money" as they phrase it. Most people seem happy about this who are regulars at it, as it keeps the spots from being overrun. There are noise restrictions but nobody is policing what songs are being played.
Paddy
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Z, the only thing about the business license that bothers me is; (at least here in OH) when you have a business license the state expects you to send in sales tax. As a busker I don't sell anything. My experience when I got a business license, so I could buy a lot of items for my use wholesale. Well I didn't file any sales taxes because there no sales. One day I got a registered letter from the state saying I owed them $6000 in sales tax! I called them instantly and explained that I didn't have any sales. They said just fill out the form that was enclosed with the notice and state no sales were made that we were in the process of looking at setting up but weren't ready yet. That settled everything but I turned in the licence a couple of months later explaining I didn't have the funding to start my retail store that I never intended to start anyway.
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Zack
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<quote>those countries that you listed are Socialist countries.</quote>

(grabbing popcorn)
Stperformer
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.
gallagher
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Hi Nelson, you hit on a lot of good points. I found them all to be pretty right on. We have really to look at the reasons for MOST of these controls, though. And those `reasons´, are by far, MY biggest fears. Abusive Buskers.

Most towns, who demand licences, do so to limit the noise (pollution? YES.) produced from "freedom of speakers". Most don´t listen/care to what they say,.... but how loud. I agree. I´ve been more often stopped,... blown away by another `colleague´, than by a city official.

Licensing Royalties. Again, I agree with Socan,... in Europe, GEMA. I think, however, the performer SHOULD be charged directly. If you use my music to earn money, I think you owe me a cut.

But,.... Inner Cities are on the comeback, in Europe, as well as the U.S. They´re simply more managable. AND in twenty years, they´ll be paying us to come and provide live entertainment,... continue gaining experience,... it´s money in the bank.

givin´ it easy,... without a gun,
gallagher.


p.s.: It´s too bad Americans don´t have enough faith in Democracy, to put down their arms and fight with the vote.

p.s.: People(?) with guns kill more People, than People without guns.

.....if you want to bear arms, wear a short sleave shirt.
Stperformer
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Quote:
. I´ve been more often stopped,... blown away by another `colleague´, than by a city official.



Heya Gallager, I'm totally with you on that.
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