Apr 20, 2012

Busking in Vienna
We spent the last week in Vienna and tried to find nice places to play on the street though the weather was windy, rainy  and cold most of the time. We got bad and good luck too, but all in all it was a nice experiance. And now we'll try to give you the full image about busking in Vienna.
Valentin playing in Stadtpark
In the center of the city you need a permit to play. They have a quite clear system for it. You have to go to a certain place at the last monday of any month and you have to pay some money for it. They give a limited numer of permits so the performers go there earlier and wait in a long line. If you go to a policemen he can give you the exact data where and when to go.

But if you just travel through Vienna you can find legal free places as well. Like Karlsplatz, Stadtpark, Mariahilfer strasse(under the clock, next to the metro stop), Museums Quartier (in one place but we heard it's not the best) and so on. The rule is that you can play an hour in one place than you have to move. But later you can go back.

Finding a good place:
First of all it depends on when you play and what you play. In the center(Stefansplatz) you have to be unique. People want shows. After 13:00 o'clock every 5-10 meters there's a busker or groups of buskers. So I recommend for bands to try it out in the center, or places where people don't expect bands like the free places. they react really good for unusual things.
Buskers close to Stephanplatz
If you want to play without a permit, it's hard to find a place and probably after 30 minutes the police will come and ask for your permit. I don't think so that they will fine you at the first times, but they have the right to do that and also if they're really pissed they can take your instrument away. But they're not violent. We tried it once at around 6-7 pm it wasn't bad but after half an hour we decided to go home cause we tried to avoid any kind of fines.

On Karlsplatz, there's an underground pessage where you can play right before the line(the rest is metro area and you are not allowed play in the metros) you have to be careful with the time, cause the police station is close by and they really check it how long you play. But most of the time they are just bored cause they have nothing else to do so they're "harressing" buskers, but they're still talking nice and polite. The criminality is much lower in Vienna than in Budapest.

The similarity is that you find everywhere Hungarian and Romanian gypsies or just simple Hungarians and Romanians playing their robotic music on accordion, or any other instrument. And usually they don't care about the law. We went to talk with one of them about how long he wants to play and he said till he makes enough money (the same answer as in Budapest). And of course they're changing eachother so they occupie the free places for the best hours. And if you play sometimes they start playing almost right next to you... It's sad!

In Mariahilfer strasse we heard that the best time is around 5 pm, but if you want to play there you must go there an hour earlier(or more) otherwise it's taken. We were actually there around 3 and a accordionist gypsy guy was already sitting there, waiting for 5 o'clock to come. So you need to be there one or more hours earlier and wait till 17:00, and if anyone else comes than tell them you are allready waiting for the place.

Sometimes we got lucky and get the places without any problem but sometimes it happend that we walked more than one hour in the center to find free places to play.

Best places:
In the center is the best free palce is Stadtpark, close to the clock (made out of flowers) about 50 meters away from the Strauss statue, close to the entrance to the park. A lot of turists walk by to see the statue and a lot of parents with their little kids. Even if they don't pay the children's reaction is always adorable. :)
Cute audiance :D
On the bridge
The other mantionable place in Stadtpark is the bridge. Not as good as the other place but still it's worth to play there.
The best place what we found in one week was Florisdorf(metro station U6). We made 25 euros in close to half an hour. The best time to play there is around 7, cause people come from work or going to the center. That place is always busy. The acoustic is really good under the passage and the music is much more impressive. I personally really enjoyed playing there.:)
So the final conclusion about Vienna is that it's a huge city full of possibilities and if you are good and lucky enough you can make a lot of money:P


  1. "Hungarians and Romanians playing their robotic music on accordion"
    It is a bit true that gypsy (and traditional romanian) music is hard to understand and appreciate, it can sound very chaotic and unusual, but when familiar with it appears that it is a very beautiful, rich and elaborated music. Even if, i agree, a lot of musicians (particularly accordionists) playing this music are looking for performance, that's why it sounds "robotic" :)

    1. Dont take this the wrong way Adrien! We have nothing against acordeons or acordeon players, and i(valentin) am romanien so i know how they play and i know they are good but these were not. Go to Karlsplatz in vienna and listen to them! They play for 6-8 hours a day, every day and dont give the place to enyone else. And all they want is money and nothing else. There is no aliveness in their music no soul, no joy, no passion. Go and listen to them and than i would be curious to see what you have to say:p we did see a briliant acordeonist right in the centre of Vienna and he was playing motzard and stuff like that and that we liked:p:)

    2. It is so true about Romenians!!Me am basker also,they take all the places,and play all day!!!Thez put this stupid mask on thez face and just sit there and rape this instrument!!And thez change from time to time,other one come to replace one that raped this instrument,so he make a round.Me did lot of basking in Vienna,talk with people,and so on...

  2. Am I going to get away with playing spacerock?! (in the evening) You did say Stadtplaz wants unique stuff!

    1. You can get away with anything as long as you play good and enjoy yourself :p Sorry for the late reply!

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  4. hey guys thank you for the website i'm developing mine as a world traveller and have many ideas, apart from everything else, now i busk in switzerland in zurich and at the lake the romanian gypsies came to play those accordeons, now i see there are at least tree of them, one of them decided to call the police to take me out of the game and unfortunately the police fined me. although surely it's already more robotic now what they play after they played it for so many times...but i don't want to be angry at them, it motivates me to be better and come first at some places. acoustic guitar sounds quiet, so if they decide to play near by than it's better to try other instrument, i',m trying to learn to play violin and bought small guitalele they all play high and bright and it will disturb those accordeonists and they won't disturb you these are just some ideas in this case. I decided to do some improvisations sometimes rather than playing well known tunes cause even if i learn and play well'known tunes within a few days it becomes robotic to me, improvisations and own music (which i do already a little) are my next step, and it's always something new and unusual. Also i put a big sign beside me and even if i don't play people read the sign and understand that money will go somewhere. 'I just write hi i'm Inga, i hitchhiked all the way from russia to realize my dreams and play music around the world, bringing positiveness and health. your donations will help me to travel the world! and the name of my website www.thisisthesignforyou.com' people accept that really well. see the pictures here:
    all in all you're right as long as you're good and enjoy yourself everything works out and in the situations where someone else is trying to disturb you i would suggest to accept it as a possibility to be more creative and figure something interesting out!
    have a gr8 day everyone!

  5. Hey guys, thanks for sharing your experience. Are there rules in Vienna regarding amplifiers?