Oct 25, 2012

Busking in Gent

It was quite easy to hitchhike from Utrecht to Gent. :) Though the first lift took us to a different direction in the end everything turned out to be great!
You need a permission for playing. You can get it from Monday to Friday in the city hall for 10 euros per day. You can play in every spot for two hours which is great but still 10 euros per day is a bit too much...
The best place we found
Bridge to the city center
Our experiance:
first we tried to play on Friday night/late afternoon so we didn't have the chance to get the permit so we decided to do it without it. First we tried in a shopping area in front of the "fnac", but it wasn't good (5 euro per half an hour). We were a bit dissapointed but fortunately we din't give up and we played under a huge construction(Probably it's gonna be a market place, but I'm not quite sure about that) and our luck changed for better. We made around 25-30 euros per hour. This is a really great place.
The only thing is that on weekdays it's under construction and you can't play there. Just Friday to Sunday.
Just once we got stopped by the police, but after 15 minutes we went back and it was alright :).
Beautiful sunset

Best places:
  • Poeljemarkt (we played here)
  • Veldstraat (where the Fnac is, but it wasn't that good)
  • Korenmarkt (we saw people playing there)
  • Mageleinstraat(a gypsy played there so we couln't try it)

We stayed in Gent almost two weeks thanks to our friend and we had a really great time. We recorded some songs in the meantime and we had time to really relax again. Thank you Johan!
Busking in Utrecht

Utrecht is a really quiet, small city in Netherlands. It has nice channels and typical Flamish architecture. One or two days is enough to see and enjoy the city. :)
Pathetic... You are allowed to play 15 minutes and than you have to move. The good news is that nobody cares :)

Our experiance:
Wasn't that good. The turist season just ended and the school didn't start yet so the city was quite empty this time of year. The average was 5 euros per half an hour wich is really really bad. We tried different spots on the walking streets but nothing seemed to work out. But I have to say it was still better than Antwerpen :P
Little Channel
close up :)
So we spent most of our time thinking about where we'll go next. Back to Germany or back to Belgium. Fortunately our friend, Johan wrote us, so in the end we decided to go to Gent, and it was a really good choise :)

Oct 17, 2012

Busking in Amsterdam

We were thinking a lot about whether we should go to Amsterdam or not, cause we heard a lot of storries about police giving big fines or taking instruments away first time without warning, but it's a must see city and we just went there :D
It's quite illegal. You can get a permission and probably the rules are strickt but if you really want to play in the center you're probably gonna need it otherwise the police will fine you. But again we didn't meet any of them so we can't say it for sure.
beautiful channels
we bought some flag stickers and we decorated the guitar :)

Our experiance:
It's a beautiful city. It was so refreshing to see something so different than before. :) We could really apprechiate the channels and the brick houses.:)
We tried out only two places(we were here for 3 days) which were really good. One of them is in a park under a bridge which has good acoustic and we sang there a few times. There was another place close by, where you could play with big chess pieces on the street. So all and all in Amsterdam you can make good money but be careful with the police.

We met a chellist guy, who has played in Amsterdam for years and he told us that he had to go to jail for a few days cause he couldn't pay the fines that he got for playing music on the street. But he lives in Amsterdam, so if you stay just for a few days I don't think so you can get in big trouble.
Me on the bridge :P
Best places:
Busking places for Amsterdam

  • Rembrant square (that's the official busking place)
  • Vondel Park (we played here)
  • Max Euweplein (where the big chessboard is)

So we really enjoyed paying here and being here :)
Busking in Antwerpen

Antwerpen is a beautiful city in Belgium with the biggest train station in Europe. But for us the athmosephere wasn't the best and we couldn't enjoy it that much
The same as in Leuven. You have to get a paper for free from the city hall witch contains the rules for street music/street performances. But again the police didn't really care that much, and if you are polite nothing bad can happen.
tiny valentin and the big gate :)
The biggest train station in Europe

Our experiance.
First we tried the big shopping streets which starst from the Central Station and goes towards to the center. It's really crowded and people seem not to care too much about street music. It's a really noisy street also.(I have to mention a pianist who plays in Antwerp on the streets with a real! piano and he is quite good :)). So we couldn't find the right spot on that street. In the center there are too many terrases and we didn't want to play in front of them. We saw some musicians playing in front of a church gate and we gave it a try too, and it was quite good at the first time, second time it was quite bad... People just seemed a bit posh.
We stayed just for 3 days so we didn't find the right spot for us. We had bad luck.

Maybe if you are loud or you are with a band can be good :)

Oct 8, 2012

Busking law changed in Vienna

About two month ago a journalist, Sophia Chung (from The Vienna Review) contacted us and asked some questions about street music in Vienna for her article. She informed us that there have been new laws passed last month further limiting street musicians in Vienna. There are now regulations on noise level, number of musicians, and stricter laws on when/where/how long people can play. The laws were tightened because people living in the first district complained of noise and crowd levels.

You can read the entire article here:
Playing for time- A busker in Vienna

Oct 5, 2012

Busking in Brussels
Sunset in Brussels

It's a huge city compared to the ones we've been lately. We had to get used to the crowd again, and I think Brussel is the most culturaly mixed city we have ever been to. The money was really good and we enjoyed most of our stay :)

You need a permit. I don't know exactly where and how can you get is but it seems pretty relaxed. Probably if you are playing in the very center of Brussels with amplifier the police will ask you about the permit after a while. But in our experiance they didn't really care, there were at least 3 times when they passed us by but they didn't even look at us.
The best place ever in Brussels :P
Crowd at the Belgium Beer Festival

Our experiance:
The first day was horrible. We couldn't really find a place. We walked a lot looking for a place but we didn't find anything. For our music the walking streets in the center were too loud and crowded without an amplifier, and in the metro stations the radio was on. So after this our spirit was quite down but we had to try it on the next days again.
And after that horrible day it was much better! :) We found a place between the central station and the city center where the acoustic is really good and the "traffic" is good also. :P So after that we were really happy. we made about 50 euros in 2-3 hours on Saturday and the rest of the days were nice too :P

Than a month later we went back to this place. The money was the same, though we had problems with the gipsys. They played in front of the central station, like for the hole day and didn't let anybody else play... And you can't even talk with them. So we just waited for our "turn" and finally after 6 we got the place and we sang there an hour. Than drunk homeless people interrupted us... That day was a bit too much for me and I felt like I want to quit the whole busking thing and find a boring job instead. But on Sunday everything was perfect. No hobos, no gipsys, good money :) So it was a perfect last day! Busking is fun, but it can be really tiring like anything else.

Busking palces in Brussels

Best places:
  • City center anywhere (if you are amplified or loud enough)
  • Gare Centraal entrance to the city center
  • The red dots are where we saw musicians
We haven't tried any other places in Brussels, but it's a big city and the distances are quite big so we sticked with the places what we knew already.
Brussels can be stressful, but you can make a lot of money if you find the right spot for the right kind of music.

Oct 3, 2012

First song on Youtube

Finally we finished with the CD and we thought maybe we should put some songs on youtube. As I mentioned before all the songs are cover songs but probably in the future there will be original ones too. It was a really good experiance for us to see how recording works, and that we have a lot to learn :D

Big Big Thanks to Johan De Pue who recorded, mixed and mastered it. :) Without him we couldn't do it! Here is the first song along with the cover of the album:)!

Busking in Leuven

Leuven is a really nice small city close to Brussels and we thought before we go to the capital we should give this smaller city a try. :) We were there right before the school started so the city was quite deserted but still it wasn't bad.
on the way to the center

You need a permit which you can get for free.(The place where you can get its called Stadkontor and is very close to the train station) It's a piece of paper with the laws (only in dutch) and you have to have it with you if you are busking. You can stay in one spot for an hour than you have to change the place (200m). That is the basic law. :)
Grote Markt
Beautiful city hall

Our experiance:
We arrived on Sunday but we couldn't play because there was a festival or something like that going on in the center but the next days (mondays are usually bad) we tried to play in the shopping/walking streets. The average was around 10-15 euros per hour so it wasn't that good. But given that it was the begining of the week it might be better at weekends.

Best places:
Busking Places in Leuven
  •  Grote Markt (for big bands)
  • Diestes straat (Big walking street, that's where we played)
  • Vaarstraat (somebody told us that it can be good)
I know it's not a lot of information but I hope it is still helpful :)