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Busking pays in Melbourne

/ 30 Nov 2018
If busking has not previously garnered the same respect as other live performance art forms, recent success stories have proven that the sheer work ethic and practices involved in performing to passers by on the streets of Melbourne can lead to huge pay offs.

City of Melbourne’s pro-active busking program allows amateur musicians to apply for 'circle act' permits for the privilege of entertaining visitors and residents of Melbourne.

The application includes the quality vetting of musical acts. Buskers are then permitted to pick a spot and provide two hours of entertainment at any one time.  Many artists take the opportunity to sell their music in the form of CDs to the appreciative public.

One of the biggest recent success stories is that of Melburnian, Tash Sultana, who spent many an hour busking on the streets of Melbourne at the same time as honing her looping guitar pedal skills for which she has become well-know. Tash recently won an ARIA for best blue and roots album and has been touring internationally for 18 months consistently to huge crowds in the USA and Europe.

Other Melbourne acts that promote the benefits of street performing are indie band Bonjah, and Melbourne's own The Pierce Brothers, who are now playing to sold out shows at The Forum.


Bourke Street Mall
Possibly the most coveted busking location due to pure foot traffic. Music acts here are often seen playing to huge crowds who simply can’t resist taking a break from their Christmas shopping to take in some quality music. There are several permitted sites throughout the thoroughfare. 

Swanston Street
Buskers can be found on the wide boulevard generally between Flinders Street and Bourke Street around tram stops. Mostly solo artists, beatboxing, hip-hop and rap.

Flinders Street Subway
A series of tunnels connecting commuters to Flinders Street Station from Elizabeth Street. A g​​​​reat choice for buskers without amplification as the tunnels provide great acccoustics. Perfect to capture the early morning or early evening commuter traffic.

State Library
With its expansive lawn, wide steps and a captive audience in the form of university students  taking a break from their studies, the State Library is a popular spot for bigger bands and groups. 

Many locations along Southbank provide buskers with ample opportunity to entertain visitors and diners, especially on weekends and holidays. The pedestrian bridge intersection with Southbank Promenade is a popular spot. 

Federation Square
Melbourne's public meeting spot and the home of the Ian Potter Museum of Art, Koorie Heritage Trust and ACMI will always have plenty of people milling around and appreciative of some entertainment. 

This content can be shared and edited for the purpose of promoting Victoria as a visitor destination. Not for use in paid advertising. Please credit Visit Victoria.


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