Street Entertaining/busking competition - Any tips?

Well I entered a ‘‘Busking Competition Day’’ (Including ‘‘original acts for the street’’), which will be held on 15th December, and decided I’d try and take my three wheel giraffe along (how am I going to get on :astonished: :frowning: ) to woo the judges :stuck_out_tongue: .

Due to the fact that I’m undecided whether or not I’m going to take it, I was wondering if there was anything else people know of that crowds would enjoy watching somebody do on a 20" (or 29") unicycle? (get them involved, let them try it?!)

As it stands, if I don’t take my giraffe I’ll just be taking my KH20 and trying to pull off whatever I can to impress people! Prize money is £250 (500$)!

Cheers for any help.

Bring the Giraffe definitely!

Bring a tall stool or ladder to mount from. Even though I could free mount my giraffe, I would always use a stool to mount from for street shows. Makes it look harder, and you can clown around for a bit looking all “out-of-control.”

have fun.

But I probably actually would be on that 7ft BEAST!

Thanks for the advice; and I’d better get some practice in…

If you haven’t done street performance, you’re pretty unlikely to be competitive with people who do street performance. The main thing to remember is that it’s not at all about what your skills are or what is difficult to do; it’s about interacting with and building up the crowd. The best street performers aren’t the most talented ones, they’re the ones who can be funny and engaging while building up their tricks.

Do things which look impressive, not things which are difficult. Jumping rope will get you more points than jumping off a drop. If you come off, the kick-up mount is a good crowd-pleaser. In parades I get good mileage with my juggling club pick-up trick (dink the fat end of the club with the fat end of another club in your hand, and grab the handle of the club as it comes up). But really, it’s all about working the crowd.

Good luck!

Street Performing is tough stuff… In the real world you have to get a crowd interested in you, and I think that can be the hardest part. Most performers do equal amount of talking to performing, lots do more talking. Unless you’ve got a mime act of sorts you gotta gab with the crowd, and humor usually wins them over.

A friend of mine did a sort uni routine which I thought was pretty good. He hyped himself up beforehand by talking about how he was one of the greatest unicycle daredevils and later he’d be jumping a ramp over a flaming dumptruck. He warmed up with a skipping rope and did a few tricks. Hyped himself up more and talked about only a couple people in the world have jumped a flaming dump truck on a unicycle… then he brings out his ramp and the truck…

The ramp is a little wedge of wood and the truck is one of those little matchbox cars with a candle ontop of it. He does the easy trick and celebrates like a rockstar.

I work just around the corner to Covent Garden, so most days of the week I see the entertainers there ‘impressing’ the crowds. The thing that impresses me though is how much palava they go through to mount a 6 foot giraffe. Seriously though, it takes them nearly 20 minutes, and all they do is idle a bit when they get on there.

The thing is though, it’s not about how difficult the trick itself is, it’s about your ability to string it out, to convince the crowd how hard it is, and to bring them all on side so they go wild when you do something that’s pretty much fool proof for you.

The way that most of the guys in Covent Garden mount a giraffe is to pretend to mount it (and fail) (several times), then to get a member of the audience to hold it for them whilst they run at it (and fail) (a couple of times). Then to get a 2nd member of the audience to assist the 1st one in holding it, whilst they link hands that will act as your ‘step’ up to the saddle. Even though they could just step up to this, it’s still worth a good run up to ensure the crowd really appreciates how hard it is.

Sorry that I can’t help with advice on mounting a three-wheeler though. The guys in Covent Garden don’t ride such things, and the only times I’ve mounted them was whilst hanging off the gym equipment in a sports hall :smiley:

But get some mates to help you practice mounting via a human step ladder, and talk it up a lot, and I’m sure you’ll do well.


Like what Tom Holub said. From your posts you sound like a beginner (to busking). The best thing you can do at that competition is watch other performers doing skills similar to yours. Afterward, you can even try asking members of the audience what their favorite parts were. There’s a pair of performers in San Francisco (Grin & Barrett) who do unicycles, among other things, but my favorite part of their act is when they use a dust-buster with a long, clear plastic tube on the end to collect dollars from the crowd.

Take notes. Notice it’s not about the skills but about the entertainment. You can also try your hand as well, as it’s a great way to get some idea of what’s involved in getting/holding a crowd. Use volunteers to mount your three-wheeler, but make sure you don’t put them or your audience in danger. If you’re not really comfortable riding it, save it for a future performance. Concentrate on the audience interaction, and the tricks will fit themselves in nicely. If you concentrate on the tricks, you’ll never hold an audience (empty hat).