Director of The Busking Project CIC, Advocate, Activist and Fan
The Busking Project is a not-for-profit company based in the UK. We have created a holistic package of services for street performers that helps them in their day to day lives.
Our main website, busk.co, enables street performers to get tipped with cashless payments, sell their music and get hired for events.
Street performers use signs to send their audiences to their profile on our website, busk.co, where they can be tipped or sell mp3s via Apple Pay, Google Pay and PayPal. We give them the ability to download free, auto-generated sign designs, which they can then print and laminate from their dashboards. Or, they can buy a series of lightweight, durable, waterproof, recyclable and inexpensive signs, which are intended to increase confidence in a passing street audience. Buskers using our signs report significant, impactful increases in earnings.
We also help buskers get hired in several ways. They have profile pages, where people can see all the info they need before making a decision on who to hire for a gig, like a bio, photos, videos, social media links and so on. We run a ‘jobs board’, listing events that buskers can apply to. For our ‘premium’ account holders, we distribute a monthly list of festivals, every month, with current open calls. And finally, we do ‘social media audits’, where we copy-edit performers’ online content, from their social media channels, website, emails to bookers, CVs, promo videos etc, to give them the best chance of impressing event bookers.
We do a variety of activism work, most often when councils, business improvement districts or other authorities are trying to pass anti-busking legislation. We have helped local activists and advocates to increase public support, doing original research, garnering press and informing street performers about their rights, in London, Dublin, New York, Asheville, Vancouver, Rome, Berlin, Galway and many other cities around the world. To help, we recently launched a sister website, buskers.guide, which is a user-generated archive of information designed to help out busker advocates.
This summer, we are launching a new feature, ‘Festival maps’, which are templated interactive maps and schedules where people can see the time and location of street performances at outdoor street festivals. Clicking on the names of the performers on the schedule will send audiences to a place where the performers can be tipped.
There are local advocates, there are cashless payments services that work in one or two countries, there are arts services that help performers of all kinds to get hired. But ours is the only system that specifically caters to the needs of street performers, while also providing a sense of community. This has proven especially important post- covid, evidenced by the fact that our services are hugely more popular than before.