Busking

Playing on the streets is one of the most wonderful experience I've ever had in my life.
I am not saying that I've never had a bad experience but the freedom that it gives me makes me feel more alive than ever in my life. I've never thought that it will change the way I see the world around me.

Budapest- 2011 summer
Sometimes I don't have enough time to update the busking page. I recommend you to click on the labels if you want informations about busking in a certain city!


Sorry about that :P

Busking in Budapest

In the last year and a half there have been a lot of changes in Budapest. Before 2010 to play music on the street even the underground stations you didn't need a permit, exept if you wanted to use an amplifier though the police sometimes kicked you out with no reason.
In the begining of 2011 the City Hall changed the law and it's still not clear how it works.

But all in all you can make some nice money here if you know where and when to play.


Playing in the street in 2011-2012:

  • Street
So in the official version, you need to apply for a permit before you wanna perform in the street. You have to pay in advence 160/230 HUF/day/square meter (personally I applied for it at least 3 times but I never got it). The process is a month long and it's not sure if you get the permit or not. And if you play without a permission the police and the street police(közterület felügyelő) can fine you 5 thousend up to 30 thousend HUF.

In the REAL life if you play in the center where there are no cameras they don't bother you. And if they catch you, if you talk nice to them, they will tell you that you're not allowed to play and send you away. The policeman don't speak good English so you can't really get more information from them. You can meet with nice and rude policeman like in every other country.
On Váci street(the main walking street/shopping street) it's totally banned, but you can give it a try(good money). There are very rare cases when the police fined somebody. It's mostly because stupid people talked back  or they were drinking alcohol on the street or smoking in the subway or being caught busking more than three, four times(only if they take your id info).
  •  Underground
It's banned but they might change the law in this spring(2012). But the police is kinda tolerant. After eight, nine in the evening there are less chances to meet with the police. We 've been playing in the underground for almost two years and we've never had any big problems with the police (they sent us away a few times, but that's it).
  • Best places
In the center you can find many places where you can play. I prefer the underground stations because of the good acoustics. If you  play with a band I think the big squares are the best.

-Váci utca (and underground passage)
-Weörösmarthy tér
-Deák Ferenc Square (underground station)
-Astória(underground)
-Ferenciek tere(underground) 
-Danube side
-The Castle


If you want specific detailes on how much money you can make, well... here they are- there are many variables of course, such as: how good you are, what your act is, if you sing-what kind of music you sing and so on and on, but in general the averege amount i usually make is 2000huf/hour(about 6-7 euros), or you can have a bad day and make just 1000huf/hour. In the good or really good days(mostley in the summer when its full of tourists) i made up to 10.000huf/2-3hours(about 33-34 euros). So these are the amounts you can make.

 Of course if you are really good or play with a band and sell CDs and so on, you can make a lot more. Some friends of mine, a band from holland who play gipsy and jewish music and are really good at it, they are called TheBalconyPlayers and you can find them on FB and maybe we will give you a link to their band in the future and you can also find more information about busking around europe and not only from them, anyway the point is that they made up to maybe 50.000huf(about 170 euros :o :p) in one or two hours of playing and selling their CDs. In my opinion, for an economicly challenged country in which the averege income is about 300-400euros/month thats pretty good money:p. 

It shows that people really enjoy a good act or good music here but the politicians dont and on the pretext that buskers just occupie spaces and are just in the way of people, they banned busking without a permit. Which when i think about it, its ridiculous :| im baffeld - singing in public without a special permit is now a crime here:| and unfortunatley its the same storry in a lot of other countries. I've talked enough about politics for one post, let's get back on track here:). 

The best time for busking in Budapest, seasson wise is of cource summer. Get as close to the centre as posible! Vaci street which we referenced earlier as one of the best places but also one of the completley baned places(but dont get scared:p, they'll just send you away at most:D-i hope:p) is really good mostley in the afternoon(12:00- up till 17:00 or so). Next are the metro stations, mainly Deak Ferenc which is right in the centre and Astoria which is a 5 min walk away from Deak Ferenc. Best time to play in these metro stations/underground passages is in the evening and earlly night(17:00-up till 23:00 or even 24:00 in the weekends). Of course you can make good money in the afternoon also when people come from work. But mostley the evenings are the best because thats when the young people go out to meet and get a beer, and in budapest they do that every night:).

 As a "musician", i myself have noticed that people here really like Coldplay and Radiohead songs a lot. And every other famous enough song like the anoyingly common requests such as: Oasis-Woderwall:| Pink Floyd-Wish you were here and amaizingly a lot of other Pink Floyd songs:). I think this is it:). I really hope somone will find this information usefull! And also feel free to leave a comment or ask questions if you have any! Cheers and good busking!:)


Vienna once again

In the end of May we left Hungary again for a new busking tour!!! :) And it started very smoothly with a lot of sunshine, a bit of rain and a lot of fun.
View of Vienna

Change in the law:
The busking law in Vienna didn't change since last year as far as we know. We heard from a busker that actually now it's easier to get the permit . You have to go to an outside district (unfortunately I don't remember which one) and ask there. The bad thing is that the city will give you a list of when and where you can play in a day for 2 hours only. As we heard there are still free spots in the city(they also changed)but we don't know them either...
For more information you you can call this number(I got this number when I went to one of the district offices to ask if I can play without a permit in Karlzpaltz like we did last year. But of course they didn't know the answer and they gave me this number. Hope it helps):
Stadtinformationszentrum: +43 1 525 50
Rathaus, Eingang Friedrich-Schmidt-Platz 1 Fahrplanauskunft
at Karlzplatz again
Our Experiance:
We were really really excited when we arrived at Vienna. Whenever we played in this city we always had a great time and the money was also really good. We didn't go to ask for the permit because we just stayed for a week. The busking spots we used are still as good as they were the first time. And amazingly we didn't have any problem with the police.

But a lot of things have changed in a year also because of the new law. The center which was full of buskers, is now quite empty compared to how it used to be. The musicians, streetpainters and performers have dissapeared from Stefansplatz. 
Also we didn't have a lot of competition in our spots (click here, and you can read where we played before). From time to time there was some buskers here and there but really just a few(or we really lucky that nobody played our spots). For us it was more relaxing to play in Vienna because we didn't have to look for a spot for two hours and we didn't really have to wait for others to finish. And the money was really good also.:)
Relaxing in Stadtpark
So the first week of our trip was wonderful. We've played a lot, met with friends and enjoyed the sun when it was out :)


Busking laws in Munich

These days I 've been trying to find informations about busking in Munich, but what I found it was outdated(like 2007), and it seemed that the law is really strict.

Today while we were searching couch in Munich, we recieve an answer and a nice girl sent us a link about busking laws in Munich. It seems kinda hard how it works and how they give the permission(day by day? or they giving you a date when you can sing a month later?).

But what is sure:
They give five permit per day for the morning(11.00-14.00) and five in the afternoon(15.00-22.00)
You have to go to the City Hall (Marienplatz, 80331 Munich), Monday-Friday 10 am -
8 pm and Saturday 10 am - 4 pm.
For holidays it's different and it doesn't mention any free places...
But here is the link where you can see clearer: busking law in Munich (first pdf)

Anyway, when we will arrive Munich we go to the City Hall and see ourself what is going on.

Graz

From the last trip we really fell in love with this city though our busking experiance wasn't very good. This time we had more luck with busking and we had time to relax on rainy days.
Graz
Change in the law:
Till now the city didn't have any restriction on playing on the streets. Because of that the last years the number of buskers grew really fast and the shops and the people living in the center started complaning more and more so the city had to make some change in the rules.
The rules in German
  • Musicians can play alone or in groups up to 5 members in the band
  • You can play between 11.00-14.00pm and between15.00-21.00pm
  • you have to be 5 m away from shop and house entraces and also you have to be 50 m away from other street musicians, churches and from schools
  • in one place you can play for 30 minutes and than you have to move at least 100 meter from the first spot. The spot cannot be used by other buskers for 30 minutes.
  • you're not allowed to use amplifier or drums
  • You cannot ask directly money from the people
  • You can get a Platzkarte by showing your id or passport in the City hall, and every member of the group has to have this card. You can get 3 of these cards per week (it means you can play 3 days in a week)
All in all it's not that bad. The police gave us a paper with the informations while we were playing.
On the paper you can find the rules and a small map of the city.
If you play in the read part of the map you have to go to the City hall and get a permit. It doesn't say anything about paying for it.
On the other hand outside of the red area you can play without a special paper by the same rules.

  • More information here:

Rathaus, Landhausgasse 2
8010 Graz
Opening hours: Monday to Friday 7.00-14.00

Our experiance:
We were really looking forward to visiting this city again. We made some good friends here and it was nice to meet them again after a year. :)
Markus joined us a little bit :P
Say hi to the camera :)
Even the busking was a bit better than last year or at least it wasn't worse. We played in the same spots (most of them are outside of the red area). We couldn't play for some days because of the heavy rain and storms, so we could take our first brake. 
The last day was wonderful again! Everything happened so spontaneously and it was so natural. We played in front of the University for free food and a bit of money than we went gerilla gardening had nice talks with people, and at night we went to an open air concert where we had some beers and a lot of fun! :)
It feels so good to be on the road again and just let things happen around you. 

Busking in Munich

We spent some days in Munich and we tried to figure out how the busking law is working. We published it before, somebody sent us a link where you can find informations on how you can get a permit.
The place where you can get the permit
Same thing from a different angel
Laws:
So if you want to play in the pedestrian zone you have to go to the München information (Marienplatz)the day when you want to play(early in the morning). There are five permits per day. We don't recommend to play in the pedastrian area without a permit because the police will fine you  the first time they catch you. BUT there are places where you can play without any problem.

Experiance:
We spent less than a week in Munich, so we didn't have time to play in many places and also the city is huge. We just played at the English Garden entrance (close to Odeonplatz) where we found a passage where the acoustic is really good. We made there around 15-30 euros per hour. :) In the English Garden there were many bands playing on the holiday(1th of May).
Band playing in the English Garden
Another band in the English Garden
English Garten passage
English Garden in Japhonese style:P
We played about an hour in Hofgarten too, but the cops came and stopped us 'cause you need a permit for that place. But it's a really good spot to play.
Hofgarten
We saw bands playing in the Hofgarten's entrance from Odeonplatz. It might also be a good place to play, but it's a bit noisy. Somebody recommend us Münchener Freiheit but when we got there somebody was already playing there.

So that's it for now :)

Busking in Nürnberg

This is the first city where we got our very first permit to play on the street. :) It was 12 euros for 3 days and it was worth it though we just busked for two days.
Our first permit:)
 Laws:
You need to get a permit if you want to play in the center. There are five permits per day. You can get it easily for some days(maybe in the main turist season i's harder) and also it's cheap too (address: Aussere Laufer Gasse 29). You can busk from 10am till 10pm, and every half an hour you have to move at least 200meters from the place you played before, and you can't go back in that day to the same place where you have already played.
you have to keep 30m distance from churches, and you're not allowed to play at Hauptmark and at the Train Station.
Experiance:
Unfortunately we got bad luck with the weather again and the first some days we couldn't play because of the rain and we went to see some Museums. The first time when we played (without a permit) Plobenhofstrasse was really good(20 euros about half an hour), but the second time we didn't make anything at all. And we played also in a wooden bridge too. People were realy opened to our music.
Valentin playing on the bridge
in Nürnberg
And for the last two days we got our permit :) We didn't get checked if we have it or not but It's really ceap and easy to get the permit so it was worth it.
Where we made the most money(20euro in half an hour) was in Karolinenstrasse close to Lorenzkirche. And than we just circled around the shopping streets and played 3-4 hours. 
Lorenzkirche
Nürnberg was a really good city for busking and also it has a beautiful city center that is worth visiting.

And also if you find our blog useful support us and give us a like on facebook (click here) :) And if you have any advice or questions we are we are opened for both of them.:P



Busking in Göteborg

On Haga
It was a really pleasent experiance playing in this city. Sometimes we made more sometimes we made less, but we always got positive reactions. :) In the first week... Than when we came back from Norway it was really hard to make enough money for the ferry to Germany. We had to stay two weeks to get out of Sweden. Maybe because we couldn't play with joy anymore, and we are bored with the songs, we're playing, so it's time to change the list very soon.
Sunny day
on the First week
Laws:
We heard that in Haga, you can play without any permit, but in other parts of the city you have to get one, but actually nobody does anything so everybody is playing everywhere. :)

Our experiance:
first we played in the shopping street but after 3 songs a guard came out and told us to leave. I don't like playing in the big shopping streets. They are too crowded and noisey and people are always in a hurry and most of them would not stop to listen unless you are loud or have an unusual act. We are none of these things :P

So we went to play in Haga. It's the old part of Göteborg, usually full of turists. The first week was wonderful. We made in 1-1/2 hours around 200-400 crowns(about 20-50 euros). But in the last two weeks as we played more and more we got less and less money. In the end we didn't really make anything, but we weren't the only ones with empty pocket. People just stopped paying the street musicians on the Haga Nygata street. 

We decided to go to the Shopping mall(Nordstan) and play there. The average money was aroud 100-150 crowns in a bit more than half an hour, so at least there we could make enough for the tickets. 

Best places to play:
-Haga
-Shopping streets in the center
-Shoping mall Nordstan



Busking in Oslo

After one week in Göteborg we decided to move on and continue our trip in Norway.:) The hitchhicking went really well and after 3 rides we were in Oslo. We spent two days in the small capital, so we didn't play much, but it was one of the best cities we've played till now.
Oslo after rain

We got a little map from a Swedish busker (Jonah Lake) about the best places to play in Oslo, and it's very accurate. So here it is!:
Busking palces in Oslo

We also got tips through couchsurfing on where and when we should play:

" There's a few buskers in Oslo. I personally find the best time to busk is late at night on a Friday or Saturday after midnight on Karl Johan Gate. There seems to be only one good spot though where there are heaps of people walking by and that's next to the Stortinget T-Bane exit and MAX Hamburger place, you can't miss it. There's often another English dude who plays there then with an amp and microphone. There's another english guy, older who plays in day time. I've busked in Oslo once but did pretty well. I think if you play at night on the weekend when there are plenty of drunk people you will be amazed at how much money you can make. Not sure about busking rules in Oslo, but it seems pretty relaxed. There are quite a lot of gypsy style bands and acordions everywhere! "

Our experiance:
It was Great!:) Minimum 200crowns/hour (we made it in 15 minutes)


Busking in Bremen

After Lübeck we wanted to go to Cologne but we found the distance quite big so we decided to stop in some cities before. After hitchhiking a lot in Skandinavia we use carpooling once again cause it's cheap and confortable.
Bremen
Bremen , Am Markt

Laws:
We didn't have the chance to ask somebody, but it seems pretty relaxed. We saw a lot of buskers playing on the streets, probably you have to move every half an hour but it seems nobody really cares. People like music so buskers are welcome :)
Passage
Our experiance:
After a long time we found a nice tunnel where we could play :D The acoustic is really nice. We made our average amount of money(10-15euros per half an hour) so we were satesfied with it. :) Lately we dont really struggle to make more than what we need, and it's really relaxing like this.
We didnt try to sing in any other places, but I made a map where I think busking would work(we saw others playing there).
Map for busking in Bremen
The green dot is where we played and the rest are where other musician played. I hope it's helpful for everyone. :) But I still write down the names of the places.

Places to busk in Bremen:
  • Am Markt (for bigger bands)
  • Schüttingenstrasse (both ends of the street)
  • The passage
  • next to the river (there are a lot of Caffé's)
  • Sögesstrasse
Bremen is a nice city for busking maybe not as good as Hamburg or bigger cities in Germany but its very relaxing to play here.:)


Busking in Münster

We spent 4 days in this beautiful small German city, we played a little and enjoyed the sun.:)
Münster 

Laws:
You can play every hour sharp till half. A guy told us that you need a permit too, but nobody really cares. If you follow this rule and you don't disturbe anybody, you can't get in trouble.

Our experiance:
The first day we arrived we played 1 song and made 8 euros so we were really happy about it, but when we tried on Saturday in the same place we made nothing.
The street was too crowded and really close to us there were beggars in both sides. In every Saturday there's a very busy market here and everybody goes shopping. Compared to the city size we saw quite a lot of musicians with trumpets, violin, chello,double bass etc. Because of this it's quite hard to find a nice place but we found a nice bridge that leads to a church so we played there and made some money :)
On the bridge
Old busker man
The best day for us was Sunday, when the streets were quite empty and just a few people were walking. We chose the big shopping street to play around 6 and in a bit more than half an hour we made 17 euros. :)
Map of buksing paces in Münster
Best places:

  • Ludgeristrasse(the green dots were the best spots on the street)
  • Salzstrasse (for us it wasn't that good but it's worth to give it a try)
  • Spiegeltum bridge
In my opinion Münster is a really nice small city where you can enjoy the beautiful architecture and playing music at the same time. :)


Busking in Cologne

The last stop in Germany and for a long time the first bigger city we visited. We had really bad luck in the first day, but than everything turned out better than expected.:)
Köln
Laws:
You can start playing every sharp hour till half as in many German cities like Dresden, Münster. Most of the people keep this rule but  If you're there for the first time the police will politely let you know what the rules are and that's it.
Best spot in Cologne
The old town was deserted

Our experiance:
1st day:
It was horrible. I think we walked at least 3 hours in the sun till we found a nice looking spot but nobody really payed more than some cents. The shopping streets were over crowded, and for the big squares we are too quiet. We even tried an underground passage where the acoustic was brilliant, but again maybe 2 people payed and the rest just looked at us like we are alians.:P We just found one place in the end where it was quite good to play. So in almost 4 hours we made just 15-17euros and we were really disappointed.
2nd day:
Much better! in an hour and a half 25 euros. We went back in the same place where we played last in the previous day (between the Dome and the Roman museum) and we played there an hour. We didn't care about the rules because we were desperate after the horrible first day and what we went through. It was a relief because we thought that we'll get stuck there for a bit longer.
Map of busking places in Cologne
Best places:
  • Hohe strasse (for bigger bands cause it's really loud)
  • Am Leystapel
  • Heinrich-Böll-Platz (The only good spots for us were the red dots on the map)
So if you have an unusual act and you are quite loud it's a good place for you. We still prefer to paly in smaller cities after all but for a couple of days I think you would enjoy Cologne.


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 :)

Laws:
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.


Busking in Innsbruck

After the bad experiance in Salzburg we were a bit sceptical about playing in Innsbruck. And we also heard that you might have to pay a lot for the permit... In the end there was no reason to worry about. It was one of the best cities in Austria, we have ever played! :)
Innsbruck
Laws:
You have to get a permission to play in the city and you have to pay some money for it. We got different kind of information about the amount they ask(the police said that it's not much but another guy said it can be over 15 euros... which is a lot). Also you can play in a place for half an hour than you have to change your spot to another. It is not allowed to play in front of "the golden roof" (the main attraction in Innsbruck).
Little passage
Our experiance:
We were a bit afraid of hitchhiking, because we've never done it before in Austria and we heard very mixed stories also. But we tried it anyway and it was really easy. We had to wait for 20-30 minutes and a car stopped which took us all the way to Innsbruck. We might have been just lucky.

Since the last week we didn't make too much  money we decided to play without a permit and let the police inform us first. We didn't see anybody playing on the street, so we didn't have competition at all. But we know that there are some buskers in town that usually play in Innsbruck.
Town square
Innsbruck was a great place for us! In the city there are many passages with a really great acoustic. And there are many other possible spots to play. We played in two of the passages and both of them were great! Although from one of them the police sent us away when they passed by car because we didn't have the permit. They were nice and they gave us the address where we could get the permit.  But we couldn't really get it because it was already weekend and the office was closed so we played anyway.

places for busking:
  • Town square (for bands or loud instruments)
  • Burggraben (as we heard a lot of people play in front of the terrace but we played in the passage)
  • Museumstrasse (we are quite sceptical about this place because it's very noisy, but the police told us this place as an example)
  • maybe the smaller streets can be good also but the shops are really close to each other and the people working there can get easily annoyed. Also if you play without a permit it might not be the best place. The police checks it more frequently
  • railway passage (it's not attractive at all(i mean how it looks), but the acoustic is great! Locals use it but they apprechiate good music)
  • and probably there are more spots that can be good but we don't know about
So for us Innsbruck was great in any kind of weather condition and we left the city with full pockets :)

5 comments:

  1. just saw the video of vali playing.....well done:)

    ReplyDelete
  2. HI FROM ITALY!
    Have a look what's going on in Italy, Milan: the italian federation for street arts (www.fnas.org), in cooperation with the Milan city administration, has created and implemented a brand new web platform for online booking of pitches in Milan: 200 locations available for free, hundreds of artists registered... up to now over 5000 bookings in three months!! No tax to pay, no queues, no offices to apply or docs to submit...and, what's more, the citienzs can see online the daily programme of who is perfoming and where...shortly, once the test period will be closed, the same system will be extended to other IT cities like Verona, venezia, Firenze, and in future main EU cities as well, considering that web platform can be extended all over the world......it seems that also ENG version will be available soon..just have a look and, if u think to perfom in Milan during summer, register online on www.stradaperta.it - further info on booking webplatform staff@fnas.org

    ReplyDelete
  3. I just finished busking in Maribor, Slovenia for a few weeks. I made over 100 euros one sunny friday playing solo. Besides that I ussually made 10-20 euros per hour. My country and swing songs worked best as older people tip better. I'm not sure about the laws but I was playing with an amp on the main street and the police just went by me -I'm Canadian so I was kind of worried not being an EU dude. There's an old man who busks with puppets every day at the best spot. If he shows up you have to move. There's no sense in fighting it, this is his spot and has been for 20 years. He leaves for lunch 12-2 and I would make 25 euros before moving to another good spot just up the street across from a store called i-spot. It's a small city and quite poor (25% unemployed) so maybe that's why people are so generous.

    There's also a sunday market not so close to downtown that I had good luck at but my friend arranged a spot for me next to a table so that was a great help.

    If you're in Graz it's worth the quick trip to check out Maribor even if you don't end up busking.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thank you so much for this awesome content! This is very valuable information for me and i would think all buskers. Next time you come to norway you should come to Kristiansand :)

    ReplyDelete
  5. have a look at the FB: Street Musicians In Brussels... Let us know when you play.

    ReplyDelete