Back in January we introduced you to the Fabulous Whelk Brothers and we are very pleased to let you know that last week they were selected to perform on the streets of Greenwich in the Olympics. Here we speak to them about the auditioning process….
1) What was the audition like to play in the Olympics?
It was a bit strange for us to play in front of four people judging us. We often have people judge us but not in such an overt way. They had asked for all the participants to prepare two five minute sets, one to play and one for back up in case they needed to hear more. The organisers also asked for the acts to be “suitable for families and audiences of all cultural backgrounds”. We had decided to play the old music hall song ‘Any Old Iron’ because it is very English and it features yours truly on spoons. We thought that the performance would make us different from other performers. At this point I should point out that we didn’t really see any other performers, except for a woman sitting with a harp (classical, not blues) so we had no idea what the competition was like. The judges seemed to enjoy the performance and we weren’t asked to do our back up set. All in all it took about five minutes.
2) When did you audition?
Here is a time-line for the whole process:
27th January – applied via their website
8th March – Invitation to audition
10th April – Audition
1st May – email to tell us we had been successful and to wait for scheduling information
4) Why did you decide to play in the Olympics?
We have been extremely disappointed in the lack of opportunities for street musicians at the Olympics. We talked to our councillor about this and the reply we got back from Tower Hamlets council was that ‘they had no plans’ for street entertainment. When we heard about Greenwich actually wanting to put street entertainment on we felt we had to go for it. We think it is important that visitors from overseas get to see some indigenous acts as well as the corporate super-stars who are being flown in at great expense to the tax payer.
5) Are you preparing any special songs for the Olympics?
We don’t need to, as our act contains lots of east-end London songs anyway. The tourists that we play to on a weekly basis seem to love seeing us and taking photos with us. Although my brother Ron has suggested we learn ‘Horse With No Name’ due to the equestrian events being in Greenwich.
At this point I should add that we still have no idea what the organisers have in mind, how this will work, or, in fact, any details. Having said that, we are more than pleased to be involved and look forward to entertaining visitors, however and whenever, we are asked.
Are you busking in the Olympics? Auditioned but didn’t get through? We’d love to hear about your experience! Tweet us!
Photo provided by The Fabulous Whelk Brothers
- Emma Spedding