Street Performing/Busking


     I wanted to know if anyone here has ever street performed for money and if you have how was it. I'm interested in doing it and i wanted to hear what people had to say. 
     I can unicycle pretty well, intermediate juggle, rola bola and do some acrobatics. How do you think i could put together a routine? How do i draw a crowd and stuff? I dont want to just stand there looking like a idiot. Btw im 13.. Do you think pple wont give me money because im young. Also what would be a good way to end a routine. 
     if you answer can you please give a sample routine and maybe some stuff to say.


Unisykolist did it and it turned out to be an inspirational story

Thanks but i was asking too for a simple routine and help on what to say and how to get a crowd. That was very helpful tho

This thread has some good links posted by Raphael.

Browse around this site and check out the forums:

i did street performing for a few years with a group of friends.

we did paid shows though, as in we would be invited to perform at street fairs and festivals for a certain amount of time.

because of this we never had to worry about drumming up a crowd as we were announced and in the program etc.

we used to juggle, unicycle and rola bola too. it was all done to music and every year the routine got longer.

as for finishing a routine, we used fire. simple to us jugglers but very impressive to the audience.

i cant have been much older than you when i started, and i think the age thing will definatly help.

if u want anymore help just ask!


If anything, you being younger will probably attract more attention leading to more money.

Also be sure to check if there’s any local laws by you on street performing. Here in Chicago we need a permit (which unfortunatley costs money) and some places might all around not allow it/not let minors do it.

Thanks for all the tips and the helpful comments! Especially the links.
Btw I would be performing in New York City. I just want a lot of tips before i actually go out because i dont want to seem like an idiot and have everybody just walk by me.

Being in the right place helps. I remember in Boulder, CO, there was a pedestrian mall where people were always doing street performances singing, whatever). But I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like that here in Dallas. My son said it was pretty common in places in Europe. Needs to be some place where nobody’s gonna grab your hat full of money and take off with it.

I went busking yesterday and made a whoppin’ 3 dollars!!! Though the crowd wasn’t too big

Those were the days

I did a juggling show on Pearl street (Boulder), and also in NYC in Washington Square Park and across from the trade center during lunch hour. Gee, I wish I could walk from the square over to the pizza place on the corner and get another one of those great square slices !

Hmmmm. Performing wise, always remember that talent is just a crutch. The idea isn’t to impress people with what you are doing. Talk to them as if they are your old friend. Once you got them on your side, your jokes will seem funny.

Of course, there are different ways to do shows, not everyone talks. But the comics make the real money. Even mimes are talking to the audience, just without words.

There is no connection between the difficulty of tricks performed, and the money earned. I have seen brilliant but unfunny self absorbed jugglers who hated me because I made 5x as much per show as they did. Don’t make that mistake, the comics rule, and if you get bitter about that, you will radiate suckage. People will watch unicycling and juggling, but they will love and pay someone who makes them laugh. I am not knocking being an artist and developing great skill, just that skill is only a frame work to grab peoples attention. If thats all you have, they will stare a while and walk away.

Likewise, you have to get good at screwing up. The audience will not care about your screw ups unless you do. I tried to make my show hard enough that I usually made at least one mistake a show. This adds so much to the show, that I have been accused of screwing up on purpose, something I never did. But a mistake is a moment of tension, and thus has comic potential. Remember that if you drop, and feel bad, the audience will feel that. And never, ever ever apologize to your audience. Your feelings and mood will control theirs, once they are listening to you.

I think being young is in every way an advantage. Trust me, you shall grow uglier and less cute by the day for the rest of your life.:slight_smile:

There is a big difference between busking for musicians, who play continuously with a hat out, and street juggling.

A street juggler needs to talk to people, build anticipation and tension around the tricks. Build the crowd up to a high note. Then quit and collect your money. Unless you have a good ending, you didn’t have a good show.

I say this because I have seen new performers make the mistake of going on and on with their hat out, expecting people will make a donation before they leave. A few will, but you will make real money only when you pump up a big crowd and quit on a high note and ask for the cash. :slight_smile:

my busking thread as before should of helped quite alot.

a routine, i dont have a routine and i make tunza money.

you seem to have the skills so thats good.

people like to give your money cos your a kid (well maybe an older kid, i look young and im 13). crowd gives you more money, mainly because the some chicks like you so they pile in money, kids go “wow a unicycle” and beg there parents to put money in, old folks think your talented cos your young…

umm what else…

cant think of much more but your wanting a routine… not really sure on that but just ask for help if you need it.

by the way by busking altogether ive made approx- $1000 (AUD) which is amazing! i bought a LAPTOP and a KH. from now on i busk on my uni to buy a uni. (im probably gonna get a doubel or multiwheeled uni next.

I juggled on the Boulder Mall for years and years. $250 a hat was about average for a 20 min show.

The biggest advice I have for street performers is to learn how to write comedy. There are many books on the subject, google around.

People are more entertained with a quick joke or quip than they are by fancy tricks. You can juggle 7 balls behind your back all day, but a funny guy with three balls will still make lots more money.

The best unicyclers were the ones that appeared to not be able to ride, By hamming up the mounting, and riding…it will seem all that more amazing when you do get to the tricks.

Don’t leave your hat on the ground, do a show and pass the hat once at the end, Always ask for bills and not small change.

Get a giraffe so you can be seen, some flaming torches on a giraffe is THE best crowd-gathering tool there is.

Always have fun, smile and dress nice. Good luck

I used to busk on harmonica in Nottingham. I have done fire eating and simple juggling. More than that, I have performed to the public as the front man for a Morris dance team for over 20 years, dancing, bullshitting, unicycling, and generally keeping the crowds entertained.

Keep it simple, do it well.

Don’t show them your most difficult trick; show them the one you can do best.

Never perform half heartedly or apologetically.

Attract their attention, build up the interest, reach the climax, give them chance to applaud.

Tell them what you’re going to do; do it; tell them what you’ve just done.

Watch bad TV: game shows and contests. How much of the broadcast is taken up with people cheering, clapping and going “Wooooh!”? Now, how much is taken up with people saying, “My goodness, that was really impressive!”?

Thanks again for all the tips. Im gonna try to add a few more jokes and comedy into my routine. Now is the hard part. what are some hat lines i can use. I dont want to seem like im just begging for money

Keep the tips coming. Dont let this thread die!!! if anyone has other questions ask them

i think im gunna start doing some street performing also. i would have to make a routine, find a good spot, and be funny and talk louder :smiley:

the main problem would be the being funny to be a real crowd please and…

finding a good spot. any ideas on that? i live in a small town…very small…and it would obviously not work in my town. theres probably a few good spots like 15 mins away, or even better, a spot like 45 mins away which would probably have the most specators. I don’t know, but Im 15 and dont drive yet, and its a lot of working getting to the good spot.

where would be the best spot to do this. I live south of middletown in CT.

thanks for any help…:slight_smile:

For the being funny to crowd part, I would go to
As for the finding spot part, I busk in a Mall, lots of people shopping, lots. I busk in Adelaide (population 1 mill).
You pretty much want a spot where there is people continously walking past, if not, Busk near a child attraction like the park, if there’s KIDS there’s MONEY. “Mummy! Mummy! can I put some money In!”

Hope this helps, just PM me if you fee like it.