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.
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. :)
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