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Busking in Asia or Europe or Africa, oh my?

Posted By: TheCack

Busking in Asia or Europe or Africa, oh my? - 11/13/12 09:07 PM

Has anyone here tried busking abroad?

If so, what was the money like?
Passport issues?

One of our friends was talking about playing for expatriate communities. Anyone have an experience playing these?
Posted By: Sue Rarick

Re: Busking in Asia or Europe or Africa, oh my? - 11/14/12 05:08 PM

It would be considered working and without a working permit it could lead to being banned from that country for up to 10 years.

Posted By: Brian Austin Whitney

Re: Busking in Asia or Europe or Africa, oh my? - 11/15/12 01:04 PM

There's a lot of risk for little reward. Europe and the UK in particular are ultra sensitive about outsiders taking artistic money from locals. I'd be careful. At best you'd risk deportation, at worst... well it depends just how off the grid you are.

Brian
Posted By: DonnaMarilyn

Re: Busking in Asia or Europe or Africa, oh my? - 11/15/12 01:32 PM

You might want to look at doing House Concerts instead. A lot more comfortable, and you have a rapt audience of at least 10-15 people for a couple of hours. Good chance to sell CDs too. wink If you're going to be couchsurfing, maybe you could arrange something with your hosts.

http://www.concertsinyourhome.com

I saw Susan Enan at a friend's place in Rotterdam in 2011. Great experience. Relaxed, friendly atmosphere, plenty of conversation and goodies to eat, and some very fine music, all for a more than reasonable 'admittance' fee (I think it was 10), which went to the artist. I've invited her to stay at my place next time she comes to Delft.

http://www.susanenan.com

Good luck in your venture. wink

Donna
Posted By: Brian Austin Whitney

Re: Busking in Asia or Europe or Africa, oh my? - 11/15/12 03:05 PM

Ah.. Delft! We should have met up with you Donna while in your country. We only made it to the Hague and Amsterdam and Arnheim.

Brian
Posted By: niteshift

Re: Busking in Asia or Europe or Africa, oh my? - 11/15/12 03:12 PM

Hey Cack,

In general, busking is not something to do in Asia. It's almost seen as begging, and I couldn't even tell you the number of permits you would need, if they exist at all.

Take that , together with ( in general ) a poor population, and I don't think the hat would be recieving many coins.

On the other hand, if you got real gigs in hotels and played Western lounge music circa 1985, you'd be onto a winner.

cheers, niteshift
Posted By: DonnaMarilyn

Re: Busking in Asia or Europe or Africa, oh my? - 11/15/12 03:23 PM

Originally Posted by Brian Austin Whitney
Ah.. Delft! We should have met up with you Donna while in your country. We only made it to the Hague and Amsterdam and Arnheim.
Brian


Brian, had I know you guys were going to be as close as the Hague, I'd have invited you over. wink

Donna
Posted By: Brian Austin Whitney

Re: Busking in Asia or Europe or Africa, oh my? - 11/15/12 11:04 PM

We went to a big music venue there and a recording studio run by members of the multiple JPF Award nominees Bagga Bownz. It was a great day!

The Netherlands are the size of an typical US State so I wish we'd had more time there to meet up with everyone or even do a JPF Showcase. Hopefully next time!

Brian
Posted By: TheCack

Re: Busking in Asia or Europe or Africa, oh my? - 11/16/12 12:20 AM

Originally Posted by DonnaMarilyn
You might want to look at doing House Concerts instead. A lot more comfortable, and you have a rapt audience of at least 10-15 people for a couple of hours. Good chance to sell CDs too. wink If you're going to be couchsurfing, maybe you could arrange something with your hosts.

http://www.concertsinyourhome.com

I saw Susan Enan at a friend's place in Rotterdam in 2011. Great experience. Relaxed, friendly atmosphere, plenty of conversation and goodies to eat, and some very fine music, all for a more than reasonable 'admittance' fee (I think it was 10), which went to the artist. I've invited her to stay at my place next time she comes to Delft.

http://www.susanenan.com

Good luck in your venture. wink

Donna


Donna, the concerts in your home link is excellent. We'll definitely be using it abroad!!!

As for the busking in Asia, our plan is to make contacts to play shows, but I can imagine how prohibitive it may be in public. Don't wanna get caned in Singapore!!!

Anywho, if anyone is interested in our plan, here's our Kickstarter (53% Funded!):

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/320150710/east-cack-busks-the-world?ref=live
Posted By: Sue Rarick

Re: Busking in Asia or Europe or Africa, oh my? - 11/16/12 05:12 PM

My BF's from the Netherlands and we always try to make at least a short trip to Amsterdam to eat at the pancake bakery. although we mostly go to Breda to visit his family and this last time play at a house thing there.

With a little luck I'll hopefully get to play there more often in 2013.(working on booking tour now)

PS- I'm fixing dutch pancakes with apples tonight ...yummmmmmmmmy
Posted By: Brian Austin Whitney

Re: Busking in Asia or Europe or Africa, oh my? - 11/17/12 02:11 AM

Cack-folks (not sure which of you I am talking with),

I realized my earlier post might have come off discouraging and that wasn't my intent, so if you read it that way, my apologies. I watched your video on Kickstarter and for the record I strongly encourage any and everyone to travel as much and as often to anywhere they can to expand and improve your life. My post was meant to make sure you realize it can be literally dangerous for musicians to busk illegally, almost on par with drug dealing in the USA. I know musicians forced to get back on a plane and return to the USA simply for having a guitar with them and making the mistake of saying you're doing a gig or some time of performance or even songwriting while you're there. An innocent statement like that has ruined tours and gotten people's instruments confiscated, in a few cases permanently depending on the country, so though I strongly encourage you to go out and see the world (there's no greater gift you can give to yourself) do some serious studying on the laws of the places you are visiting and be realistic about where you are going because things can be dangerous for westerners in many Asian countries, especially if you have very small resources. I noticed you didn't explain how $3500 will pay for the tour... do you have a break down? How long will it last? If neither of you have health problems requiring medications, then that makes things much easier, but if you take anything, be very careful to carry papers like notes from doctors with how much you take and why and be sure it's legal in the country you are visiting (I have to be cautious about that myself). I've toured 49 US States and app. 40 other countries and wish I had circumstances to do even more. We've done free music events in the US on our tours, but in Europe, that is very difficult to pull off and the musicians often don't understand the concept at all as it's so foreign to them. I made it up as an excuse to travel and meet folks face to face and I have met over 25,000 of our 50,000 members in their own home towns or areas over the years. Only recent health issues slowed me down from doing 150 dates a year or more.

So definitely do it... just plan, learn the rules, and have an escape hatch in case it all goes horribly wrong. If you have any questions about my experiences just ask.

Brian
Posted By: Sue Rarick

Re: Busking in Asia or Europe or Africa, oh my? - 11/19/12 03:47 PM

Great comment Brian. As someone that has spent over 6 hours in Heathrow detention till the right paperwork was brought to the airport I can tell you it's no fun.
Posted By: TheCack

Re: Busking in Asia or Europe or Africa, oh my? - 11/19/12 10:28 PM

Brian,

I didn't find any of your comments discouraging at all. Actually, just by spreading the news, we've been getting alot of good feedback and anecdoctal cautionary tales.

Does anyone have any guides to the intricacies of border crossing as a musician? (ie The difference between crossing into Denmark versus Lithuania) Does it always have to be a hushed, clandestine approach?

As for the budget, we are a more concrete one this week. We just capped off a Cross-country busking tour and head out for the next one in a few days up to Portland, OREgon!) Woo Voodoo doughnuts!

Greetings from the Bay Area!

-tom
Posted By: Colin Ward

Re: Busking in Asia or Europe or Africa, oh my? - 11/20/12 12:30 AM

You may be interested to know that a friend of mine from Canada was driving into the US with a PA system in her car and was turned back because she was perceived to be sneaking into the US to work illegally.
Posted By: Sue Rarick

Re: Busking in Asia or Europe or Africa, oh my? - 11/20/12 03:28 PM

Here is a quick hint. Carry a Mel Bay book 1 inside your guitar case. Put it on top so it's the first thing a custom agent will see.

It's a new hobby and you wanted to practice while on vacation.
Posted By: TheCack

Re: Busking in Asia or Europe or Africa, oh my? - 11/21/12 03:19 AM

To anyone interested, we posted a revised budget to our kickstarter:

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/320150710/east-cack-busks-the-world/posts

Posted By: Brian Austin Whitney

Re: Busking in Asia or Europe or Africa, oh my? - 11/22/12 07:19 AM

Sue,

Good point. I had to spend over an hour at the Canadian border near Montreal/Maine convincing them that Just Plain Folks really was 100% free to join and that our touring events were also 100% free to participate in. They surfed our website and read the message boards. Finally, with much frustration, they said they didn't believe anyone would do what we do for free, but since they could not prove otherwise, we could go.

Any evidence of "busking" will set off every alarm and slam the door hard on you, so just be careful and aware at all times and if caught, do not lie and end up in much bigger trouble. Best to be truthful but incomplete, in other words, answer their questions in the most benign and honest way you can without offering further details or explanations that could get you in trouble. You could say "we have no gigs, we're not playing any concerts etc." which is true but incomplete. But better to be turned away than to lie and get caught... that could go very badly. Calling it a vacation is best since in most respects, it really is. You're musical tourists, just leave the word "musical" out.

Good luck! Brian

PS: How do you like Kickstarter in general? Any pros and cons?
Posted By: TheCack

Re: Busking in Asia or Europe or Africa, oh my? - 11/22/12 11:33 AM

Brian,

As far as using Kickstarter, I'd say the biggest PRO is that it lends an air of legitimacy to whatever act tends to start one. In fact, you could even argue that having is a good way to measure how popular your band/act/project is.

Another good PRO is that it obfuscates traditional artist patronage to a more easier-to-understand equation: you, as the fan, put up the money to have object/event/reward/incentive created. I, as the artist, now have the obligation to fulfill what I originally intended to do.

The only CON I can think of is that a Kickstarter has to be fully funded to be successful. This just makes the duration of the Kickstarter to be HECTIC! Heck, we're 58% funded with 20 days to go!

AND ANNOUNCEMENT: We'll be busking San Francisco's BART Tunnels for Black Friday (and Saturday night). Come say hello. Check out our facebook to see EXACTLY where we're playing.

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/320150710/east-cack-busks-the-world?ref=activity
Posted By: Sue Rarick

Re: Busking in Asia or Europe or Africa, oh my? - 11/22/12 04:26 PM

Brian,

Good point about being careful of exactly what you say.

My next trip to England they stopped me again (they do keep records) and one of my friends mentioned that they still had the music I left behind. THAT little sentence put me on the unwanted list (or whatever it's official name is)and curtailed any travel overseas for almost ten years. It also screwed up the session gig and cost me a ton of money because I then had to pay for the tickets. (If I knew that beforehand I would have flown coach- lol)
Posted By: TheCack

Re: Busking in Asia or Europe or Africa, oh my? - 09/16/14 12:01 AM

Hey everyone,

Sorry to resurrect an old thread, but my band just returned from a year-and-a-half tour of busking Europe and the UK. To commemorate the occasion, we're putting out a bunch of Guides to Busking...

The first one can be found at www.leanpub.com/theguidetobusking

There's a few previews and such.

Also, if you're curious, check our day-by-day, play-by-play of our band on tour at www.youllhavetowalk.com We're currently burrowing for a winter hiatus, but can't wait to tour in the spring ;-D

Love,
The East Cackalacky Ascetic Marching Death Band
Posted By: Dave Rice

Re: Busking in Asia or Europe or Africa, oh my? - 09/16/14 08:39 PM

Hi Cack:

Glad to see you have "revived" this thread. First, I need to explain that I don't busk or perform in public. I am only a humble songwriter who sings his own works to allow other artists to get the gist of how my songs sound.

After reading most of the previous threads... it sounded like you were heading into treacherous waters if you dared to busk anywhere in Europe or Asia. From your latest information, it appears there are ways around the terror of being arrested or deported, (or worse... don't busk or set foot in North Korea) fined or otherwise detained as Sue Rarick experienced at Heathrow in the UK.

I'd like to hear her full story about the details of her detainment... and exactly why. It floored me to think our greatest ally Nation might be so oppressive to musicians carrying guitars or musical instruments. (Maybe that was not the actual case?)

Anyway, your Band's Name sounds like something Joe Wrabek would come up with. Have you guys met or conversed?

Please expand your reasons for success and let us know if busking is safe only in certain European countries.

Regards and best wished,

Dave Rice
Posted By: Brian Austin Whitney

Re: Busking in Asia or Europe or Africa, oh my? - 09/25/14 04:16 PM

We have seen no musical buskers outside of Paris in France or Spain this year. The few street musicians have all be locally licensed or permitted to do so. It will be interesting to read about your success in doing what locals claim is nearly impossible and wrought with some dangers.

Brian
Posted By: R&M

Re: Busking in Asia or Europe or Africa, oh my? - 09/28/14 12:57 PM

There is much outside of America that has not gone over here. I have seen that in film and television series even before music.
Even on the net it still seems all anew.
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