Becca Johnson of Philadelphia hitting the streets!
In part one of "The Down Low on Street Performing" we discussed what street performing was and the very basics of it. If you were inspired and encouraged to give it a shot, keep reading. Today you'll learn how to make the best of the experience by picking the perfect location, bringing the right equipment, and knowing what to expect when street performing, also known as, busking.
When and where:
As stated in Part I, you’ll want to busk in an area with lots of foot traffic. If you can, scope out each potential busking spot you can think of before you go out. Check out busy areas of your city both day and night. Business centers will usually be busiest around lunch while other areas of town will be busiest at night. While checking out the potential locations, spot a few places you could set-up as well. The last factor in picking a space is to consider the laws. In Atlanta, I decided to set-up on a business property and was asked to leave (which meant moving myself 7 feet away to the edge of the sidewalk). Potentially save yourself some time and don't be shy asking enforcement about the laws. Scoping an area out prior to busking will allow you to feel more confident in when and where you go versus not having a plan.
What to Bring:
When it comes to what you need, the lighter, the better. Here are the necessities: a hoop, tip jar, and water. Additionally, bring something for music, a sign with your purpose, business cards and extra hoops. Having extra hoops doesn’t only change up your act but is great for putting around your display.
In order to protect your things (say you carry everything in a bag), busk facing away from a wall and place your things behind you against the wall. If this isn't your situation, put everything in front of you and use extra hoops to surround your things, this way you can still have a nice display and see all of your belongings in front of you.
Having a secure set-up keeps your things and your earnings safe!
What to expect:
It’s hard to describe what to expect because busking only guarantees a few bucks, a better hooper, and an insane workout. Knowing that people are unpredictable, we can still generalize the types of people we'll meet busking. Depending on when and where you go you'll meet business folk, families, other hoopers, creepy men (keep reading), tourists, and drunk people, to name a few. Although you will learn to expect certain behaviors, I always go in busking with an positive attitude to expect the unexpected.
An exhausted Kayla after busking in Las Vegas.
Dealing with unwanted attention:
The majority of attention you attract while busking will be positive but be prepared to run into uncomfortable or awkward situations. Whether you're male or female, hooping attracts all sorts of attention. The first thing to do if you find yourself in an uncomfortable situation is to continue hooping like you're really ‘in the zone’, by doing this, whoever you're trying to ward of will more than likely move along. If they are being persistent and still to close asking them to allow you to have space so you can continue busking would be the next step, this method helps them better get the picture they need to back off. So ladies, say asking a guy to leave you alone works but then he just sits back and starts watching you? This is a creepy situation no matter what. Personally, I tend to ignore it unless they begin to move into my space where I'll need to tell them to back-up. You can find more information on this topic about protecting yourself as a hoop dancer here in an article from Lansing Hoops.
Now that you're prepared and confident, get out there and show em' what you got! Oh, and don't forget to tell us how it goes! For an even more ROCKIN' time out there be sure to check out "The Down Low on Street Performing Part I".