Busking is a form of street entertainment that has existed for centuries. From the days of bards plucking the strings of their banjos, to modern performers on metro railways, strumming their guitars and singing into a mic, busking has long been a part of many cultures around the world.
Busking is an outlet for people are perhaps homeless, or otherwise struggling, to find a means to earn money. It is also a form of exposure for talent, though not an especially brilliant one. A busker may be a singer, or they may play some form of instrument, or both. There’s no hard and fast rule as to what busking can entail. There are rules as to where and when you can busk, and in the UK, you require a licence from a local authority. Other than that, you can more or less go for it.
It’s impossible to speak for everywhere, but on the London Underground, there are designated busking zones at many stations. Buskers themselves have taken advantage of evolution of technology, and alongside the cash donations people chuck into upturned hats, they also accept contactless card payments!
What do I make of it all? Well, aside from my views on how authorities could do a lot more to tackle homelessness, I am appreciative of the time and effort buskers put in, as well as how their efforts can lift an otherwise lifeless or stressful dash through the Tube to get from A to B. I confess to not always donating, as not every busker is rigged to take a contactless payment, and these days, I rarely have cash on me. I don’t tend to see them in my local area, although they do occasionally pop up.
As society changes and technology advances, it makes you wonder how street performers will change. I guess we can but wait and see.