It’s a daunting prospect performing in public for the first time. You’ve got no idea what the reception is going to be like, if an audience is guaranteed or even what the weather is going to be like (and that’s one thing that will never change!)
With London being primed for the world stage this summer, there’s going to be a rush of people wanting to get involved and show the thousands of people flocking to the capital the talent that lies in the city.
Like the Scouts, it’s better to ‘be prepared’ and well clued up on your surroundings. This will be key to successfully showing the world (or at least a pocket of zone one) what you’re all about.
-AMPLIFY: Planning to perform at a busy London Underground station and want to wow commuters from the perfect? Or is a Sunday afternoon busking at a tourist hotspot more your thing?
Remember, the busier your surroundings then the less distance your sound will travel and you’ll be drowned out by the crowds.
Small busking amps cost around £50 and it’s best to buy one that’s portable and can be operated by a mains plug and rechargeable batteries.
-PROMOTE: Flyers and business cards are a great way to increase your audience interactivity. If you’ve got a Sound Cloud, YouTube, Facebook page or MySpace profile, link to them because it’s a great way for the audience and passers-by to interact and learn more about you.
-THE ELEMENTS: I’ve alluded to it but we all know how unpredictable and –sometimes infuriating – the weather can be, so it’s always best to be one step ahead. In the summer, sun cream will save you from being burnt if you’re performing for long stints in the sun. The underground tends to become hot during peak hours, but it’s wise to bring a jacket with you if you’re busking in the evening because tube stations tend be become a little chilly.
If you’re performing outside during the winter, wearing thermals will prevent your muscles from seizing up in the cold. And if you’re playing an instrument, wearing fingerless gloves will allow you to play for longer.
-PERMIT?: If you’re planning to entertain the crowds in Covent Garden, you’ll need to obtain a permit. Auditions are held for performance spots in the area every other month, so log on to the Covent Garden London website to find out more.