Skip to Content

Returning to my Roots: A Fiddler Busking

small__5740803624I have an admission to make…  I love busking!  When I was in university I spent a lot of time on stage performing, but also started busking.  I have busked in Ireland, British Columbia, and New Brunswick.  I have busked at farmers’ markets, on city streets, at gas stations…  It actually all started when my parents were living in Vitoria, British Columbia, and I went to visit them.  I applied for a permit, paid my dues, read the regulations, and ventured out onto the streets.

I must say the first time was terrifying!  It was something that I wanted to do, but it was very hard to convince myself to set up.  I had been on stage many times, so it was not a fear of playing my violin in front of other people, but it was the odd feeling of setting up as people walked by.  I scoped out several places before settling on one and starting up.  After I got playing, it was fine.

So what is it that I love about busking? I love the lack of barriers between you and the people who are listening.  When you perform from a stage there is a feeling of distance between you and your audience.  On great nights when the energy is flowing, there is certainly a connection, but it different from busking.  When you are playing on the streets, people will stop by to make requests, ask questions, or tell you their own stories.  When you are performing from the stage, these are conversations that only happen during a break or after the show.

I used to busk quite regularly, at least once as week, if not two or three times and at one point I considered it to be my job.  Several years ago I quit busking for many reasons.  Much of my busking was early in the morning, and I was booking more evening gigs, so it was too hard to burn the candle at both ends.  Some of my students were also improving, and I wanted to move out of that space so they could have a chance to busk.

Last year I was contacted by one of the markets where I used to play and asked to come back a couple of times.  It has been a lot of fun to return to busking, although I must say that I am happy to only be doing it occasionally, and not early in the morning on a regular basis!

photo credit: byronv2 via photopin cc

Back to top