One of the best ways to get to know a city and its culture is to check out the local music and entertainment scene. We’re not talking about buying a ticket for the theater or a concert; we’re talking about the performers and entertainers who take their craft to the streets, performing for passersby (also known as busking).
You’ve seen them before, and probably paused during a busy day to enjoy a particularly engaging performance: a banjo picker in Nashville on the corner of Broadway and Second Avenue, a Cajun-Zydeco band blaring brass and local art hung on iron fences in New Orleans, and even Americana music and balloon artists on the streets of Portland.
These street performers add to a community’s artistic and cultural identity while providing entertainment for locals and visitors alike. Buskers rely on tips to make a living, which can certainly be lucrative on a good day, but doesn’t translate to a steady income.
More and more cities are starting to realize the cultural value of buskers, and one musical hotspot has found a novel way to make it easier for these artists to make a decent wage and protect their profession — creating laws and compensation to support their talents.