Walking around the area where the cruise ships dock in Sydney, Australia, there are a good amount of street performers. Lots of ambient, music acts and a couple of them were cultural acts. I’ll talk a bit more about the acts in a bit, however the thing I noticed was all the acts with amplified sound used the Roland Street Cube EX. That’s the same one I use for my street show PA, so I guess I’m part of the “cool kids”.
One of the first acts we came across was this kid who was playing guitar. The sign he has in his case says that he’s deaf and he’s actually playing.
I’m not a guitar player, but to my untrained eye, his hands didn’t really match up with the sound. I could totally be wrong, but if I’m right, it’s a solid hustle!
Then there was this guy with the drum.
For the little while we watched him, he didn’t really do anything remarkable. I’m sure that he’s great, and that’s simply based on his sign boating about how many social media followers he has.
That’s the take away, signage is a lot more important now to busking than it was when I was a teenager and did it for money.
Then there were two cultural acts. The first one was just guy singing and making music.
It was really an ambient act with no engagement with people (that I saw).
However the second one was a group and the guy had some showman ship flair!
Of all the acts I saw, he was the only one that built a crowd. He did little talks and call and response things, like “we call this a ____…everyone say ____” and talked to the audience.
With a big cruise ship in town and it unloading and loading passengers, doing something cultural is smart. Ship passengers want to feel like they’re learning about where they’re visiting, and I think this was the act that connect with the audience the most because of that.
Also, while I’m not knocking the other cultural act that was using a percussion instrument, I’d bet 90% of the tourists want to see the digeridoo. Sure there’s a lot more to aboriginal culture, but honestly are you busking to teach people or make money? Yes, you can still teach people and if that’s in your heart, you absolutely should do what’s authentic to yourself and goals. However if you’re going to try to convince people to give you money, you need to figure out how to deliver that message in a way that will reach them (and their wallets).