The Ultimate Guide to Busking


Busking is the art of performing to entertain people in exchange for money.

I have been busking since I was 18 years old and I have made my entire living from busking for the last 3 years. In that time, I have developed a routine that brings in up to $500 per day, which is more than enough to live on and travel the world!

Since I began teaching people how to busk in 2013, I have heard so many questions about busking. Most of them come from people who are very excited about busking but don’t know where to start. As a result, I decided to put together this guide about “How To Start Busking Today.”

I am going to walk you through the process of getting started with busking including all the things you need before you can start, how to prepare and how to perform your first show and then keep it going as a real business!

So let’s get started!

If you love music, and you want to make a living playing music, you might want to consider busking. Busking is the act of performing music for money in public spaces. While some people do it for fun, others do it to pay their bills.

But how do you get started? How do you determine what to do and how to do it? I’ve been busking professionally since 2008, so I’m going to show you everything that I know.

What Do I Need To Start Busking?

If you’re a singer or an instrumentalist who already has an instrument and can sing or play well enough to give people an enjoyable experience, then you’re basically ready to start busking right now.

It’s that easy. You don’t need any special equipment, prior education, or anything else. If you have some cash in your pocket, grab your instrument and go find a place where people are walking by, sit down and start singing or playing. It’s really that simple!

You may have heard of Rod Stewart. He was a busker in London, England before he was a famous singer. He was also homeless, sleeping in parks and on rooftops. You see, he didn’t want to go home because his father wouldn’t let him play the guitar.

Rod had a goal though: to make enough money from busking to buy himself a flat. And that’s exactly what he did!

When Rod wasn’t busking he would perform at local pubs and bars with his band The Hoochie Coochie Men. Word spread about this incredible singer who could play the blues like no other. That’s when ex-Yardbirds guitarist Eric Clapton took him under his wing and helped him get signed to a record label.

The rest is history. Rod went on to sell over 100 million records worldwide and became one of the best-selling artists of all time!

This story should give you some hope if you’re struggling right now or feeling like things aren’t going your way. If you stick with it, put in those hours practising and performing, then you too can become successful!

If you want to make money busking, you need to put yourself in places where people want to spend money. The key is being visible.

What is a Busker?

Buskers are street performers, who perform for voluntary donations in public places. Their acts may include anything that can be performed in a public place without being arrested for indecency or causing danger to the public.

Busking is considered a form of art and many regard it as a form of entertainment. For some people it is an art form, but for others it is simply a way to make money.

Why do people busk?

For most buskers, the answer would be because they love doing it! They enjoy entertaining people and earning money from the people who enjoy their show and want to reward them with a donation.

I was sitting at a table in the back of a bar called The Wheatsheaf in Tooting, South London. The pub is still there, but they don’t have guitarists playing in it anymore.

It was 1962 and I was 19 years old and I had an English Guild acoustic guitar with me which I’d bought for 15 pounds and I’d written what I considered to be a very good love song. They were playing records on the jukebox and in between each record they would announce the name of the singer and the title of the song, which is how I found out the name of my favorite song: “Tell Laura I Love Her” by Ray Peterson.

I was sitting at this table with my guitar in its case on the floor next to me waiting for someone to ask me to sing because that’s what we used to do back then. You’d sit in these derelict pubs looking for a chance to sing because people would throw money at you if they liked what you did.

Money was very hard to come by back then, so even though no one really wanted to listen to our music, we had an advantage over today’s buskers because railroad stations were filled with people waiting for their trains, which can take hours. And if

It’s a cold and rainy day. Your hands are shaking, your heart is racing and you just can’t get the hang of it!

You’ve run through your set a thousand times, to no avail. The tune just isn’t coming together and the rain is getting heavier by the minute.

You’re frustrated! You’re cold! You’re wet!

It’s time to pack up, go home and try again another day… right?

Not if you’re Rod Stewart!

“I went straight into my act and started singing. I was so cold that I didn’t have a choice.” – Rod Stewart

A chance encounter with legendary blues guitarist Long John Baldry led Rod Stewart down the path of becoming one of the most successful recording artists of all time.

In his autobiography ‘Rod: The Autobiography’, Stewart tells a story about busking in London on a cold rainy day. After spending most of his money on a bottle of wine, he had no other choice but to busk to buy some food… or cigarettes as he describes it.

Here’s how he described what happened next:


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