10 Tips for Performing on the Street Over the Holidays


Here are ten quick tips for performing on the street over the holidays:

1. Don’t do it if you don’t have to.

2. Make your hat (or guitar case) a bigger target by putting a big red bow on it.

3. Play familiar songs that people can sing along with.

4. Try to be in tune and play in time.

5. Smile when you sing happy songs, even if you’re feeling sad inside.

6. Get out of the cold every half hour or so and go play somewhere warm, like a mall or cafe.

7. Bring extra gloves and dry socks and a change of clothes in case you get soaked in the rain or snow.

8. Watch out for drunks, who will be abundant on New Year’s Eve, especially the ones carrying open containers of liquor, which is illegal here but still common during First Night downtown celebrations

9. Be careful about where you park your car, especially overnight; ticketing and towing are strict around here from December 15th through January 2nd because everyone’s looking for extra money over the holidays, including city employees and tow truck drivers (my car was towed once from its usual spot because some construction worker had moved all the No Parking signs

The holidays are an exciting time for street performers. With all the shopping, merriment and general craziness your tips can go through the roof. But let’s face it, it can also be a difficult time to perform on the street.

So I have compiled a top ten list of tips that every performer should keep in mind if they want to take their show to the streets this holiday season. It’s not comprehensive but it should give you a good start.

1. Think about your audience

believe it or not not everyone is in the holiday mood during this time of year. You might think that everyone has a smile on their face and money in their pockets but as always you need to remember that there are all types of people out there and not every one of them will want to stop and watch your show.

2. Don’t be afraid to change some things up

you may have been performing the same act for years but don’t be afraid to add a little holiday cheer into it if you think it will add more value to your performance. If you regularly perform in the same spot then your audience could get bored so try and spice things up a bit with some new tricks or new jokes (even Santa gets a laugh out of farts jokes).

Throughout the holiday season, street performers will be battling for their share of the business. Here are some tips to help increase your chances of attracting a crowd, keeping them entertained and making more money.

1. Be Clever:

With everyone trying to play the same music, you’ll need to find an “angle” that will make you stand out from the rest. Play something festive or humorous. If you play well enough, people will stop just to hear what you’re doing.

2. Dress Festively:

This is a holiday season – dress festive! Don’t wear work clothes like jeans and a sweatshirt when it’s 10 degrees outside with 8 inches of snow on the ground. Wear warm clothes and put a Santa hat on your head if it’s snowy out. It’s all about looking festive and having fun!

Over the past few years I’ve had several opportunities to perform on the street in the downtown core of Toronto, Canada. It’s been a wonderful experience to share my music and bring some holiday cheer to people walking by. In this post I want to share what I’ve learned about performing on the street and give you some tips for how you can make good money with your music during this time of year.

It’s important to know that there are different types of performances that you can do, and depending on your style of music, budget, and comfort level, one type will be better suited to you than another. There are three main kinds of performances that I have done over the years:

1. Street Performer Certificate – This is a permit that allows one person (or group) to perform in an assigned location on a given day or days of their choosing. These are limited during the holiday season so if you want one it’s best to apply right away. They cost $60+HST for an entire month (the last time i checked). You fill out an application online, get approved, visit city hall and pay for your permit, then hang it around your neck and show it off when asked!

2. Stationary Busking – This is when

I am not a street performer. I have performed on the street, but I don’t consider myself one of them. A real street performer is someone who goes out to the same spot every day, rain or shine, and puts on a show for passersby. The performers that do this are doing it because they love it. They are sharing their art with the public, and hoping for some recognition in return.

I’ve noticed that there are many other artists who treat street performing as a one-time gig (particularly during the holiday season). They set up at an intersection, play some songs, collect some money from listeners, then go home to count their earnings and bask in their success. I don’t believe these performers have the same level of passion for street performing as those who do it every day; however, there is nothing wrong with wanting to make a little money by performing on the street.

As far as I can tell, street performing is divided into two groups: those who do it because they love it and want to share their art with the world; and those who do it because they want to make a little extra money over the holidays. Neither group is better than the other; they’re just different.

This post will attempt to give you some

1. Prepare in advance. What do you want to play? How much time do you have? Will you need to take breaks? Is your instrument set up?

2. Put together a few sets of music that you can perform on demand.

3. Have a friend join you. They can keep an eye on your stuff while you’re taking a break, and they can collect money when you’re performing.

4. Bring something that will protect your instrument from the weather – a plastic bag, preferably with handles, will do the job perfectly, or if it’s really cold, a blanket might be better. Keep it away from rain, snow or anything else that might damage it!

5. If possible, wear some sort of hat that won’t blow off in the wind! Also, have some gloves at the ready for when it gets cold.

6. Bring some extra strings and other repair materials just in case something goes wrong (but hopefully it won’t).

7. Pack some snacks and water so that you don’t need to leave your spot too frequently – most people prefer to give money to street performers who are actively performing rather than snacking or taking a break!

8. Be prepared with small change to make change for people – they

Here are some tips on how to get started with street performing.

Pick your street music and your pitch-don’t be daunted, it’s really fun!

A lot of buskers and street musicians spend months, even years, working on the perfect pitch (location) and repertoire, but you don’t have to be that serious about it. Just pick a spot that is busy, relatively safe and has some decent acoustics. If you’re playing solo guitar during the holidays, you might want to consider a mall or shopping center where people are in a festive mood. If you’re playing in a group, stick with public plazas or city parks or busy street corners. You can do some research online to find out which spots are allowed for street performing and which are not-but honestly there is no substitute for going out there and doing it yourself. A lot of buskers I know only play at city-approved spots, but others play wherever they like so long as they move along when asked to. It all depends on how comfortable you feel breaking the rules every once in awhile.

The same goes for your repertoire. Pick songs that are easy enough that you can learn them in just a few days of practice. Don’t worry about having the


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