Busking Blunder!

Discussion in 'Off-Topic Chat' started by Bob Thompson, Dec 22, 2003.

  1. Bob Thompson

    Bob Thompson Member

    When some of the youngsters expressed an interest in busking, in Durham Cuty centre, I though, why not, nice expereince for them etc.....play a few carols..... raise a few quid, perhaps!.
    Ever the upright citezen, I contacted the Police, the County Council, The City councils Market manager, an even the Child employment oficer, (wasnt even aware there was one unil now)......anyway........all relevant contacts made, no need for liciences etc...all above board, I passd on the news to th youngsters.
    Great excitment shone all around!
    Yesterday afternoon, in the midst of snow faling we set off the 30 odd miles to Durham, all the way they are asking, "now Bob, we do have permission dont we" to wit the response, "of course we do, stop worrying"
    Wandered out into the city centre, wind blowing a gale, temp so low we would have been warmer with hypothermia, we decided upon a sheltered , but busy spot to set up.

    As the first instrument case was opened, passers by began dropping money in it, to the amazement of the youngsters, given w hadnt began playing!

    Insruments at the ready, a crowd assembling, and off we went, 'Hark the Herald Angels Sing' and hark, a security gaurd it brings!

    "Excuse me, but do you have a permit to play here?"

    Confident in the knowledge, that one had dotted all the I's and crossed the T's, had the last of people I had liaised with, just incase one was challenged,
    "Whilst I dont have a permit, I was assured by the followig people (produces list from back pocket) and I was advised no need" ( me thinks, ha ha)
    "Well I must advise you that this is private property, and you need a permit to play here" replied the security gaurd, (who by the way, looked like he had muscles in his spit)

    Sh** was the thouhts that sprung to mind!!
    longer story short, having played upon his better nature, christmas spirit, and all that, he kindly agreed to let us play.

    What a star he was, and not, that he will ever see this, but thankyou.
    and the youngsters, well they have something to talk about now. Oh and afore I forget, we made over a pound a minute, lots of money to be raised so gt on and try it but make sure you dont set up on the only private ground in the city centre
    anyway, any similar stories out there?
  2. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    Bit less of a positive one this, but I thought I'd retail it as it narked me a little, more by the identity of the 'villains' of the piece than by anything else.

    Two days ago, I got together a group of local trombonists to play carols / various unseasonal but fun items, collecting for the Red Cross, in Oxford city centre. It was raining quite hard, so we set up under outside M&S, where the ground floor is slightly inset, offering a bit of shelter, at a bit before 9 o'clock. We played through a few items, but then, at 9.30, a couple of men in Sally Army uniforms turned up, looking very put out and humourless, and said: "We have to ask you to leave; we play here every year, and have permission from M&S. You do not, and are trespassing on their property". Despite the fact that they hadn't arranged to play until 10, they insisted that we leave immediately. Paraphrasing, "we do not respect you, and believe we have the right to be rude to you; now bog off".

    Now, they had a fair point (almost - it is unofficial, but to allow somebody else to claim your busking spot in Oxford city centre, and then to attempt to turf them out is understood to be very bad form - one must turn up early enough on the day to claim it), but there are ways and ways of expressing oneself, and to come at us with a bailiff's attitude was, I consider, most unworthy of both of these Salvationists, indeed of people professing to be Christians. We were quite willing to move, and indeed did, without fuss, as we were expecting them and had no wish to create a scene - as they had done exactly the same graceless thing two years previously with the same lack of tact.
    I was most disappointed in them to not even be offered a token apology - even a non-committal "Sorry about having to move you" would have been nice.

    These gentlemen said that they were from the Oxford Citadel band.

    I would be interested in people's comments on this - I'm aware that our position was certainly not watertight, but feel that their attitude did a disservice to their uniforms, if nothing else.

  3. leisa

    leisa Active Member

    i went buskin today with a friend, just two of us went for a couple of hours and it was freezing!!!! we made £200 in 2 hrs though and a nice lady from yorkshire building society kept bringing us hot drinks out.....it was a fun day!! :)
  4. £200 in 2hrs!!!!!!! bloomin hell fire
    i went out with a quartet for 2hrs in the Printworks in Manchester on friday night. it'd all been organised with the staff (totally legal). they provided us with a massive stage in the middle and them seatbelt barrier things all the way round (probably to prevent people from putting money in our strategically placed bucket) and therefore made a grand total of £5 each, which didnt even cover the cost of the car park and a hot chocolate (due to the sub-zero temperature, susequently seizing up the valves on me tuba)
    well worth the effort :cry:
  5. Bob Thompson

    Bob Thompson Member

    Yes leasa, we made over a pound a minute, so we are off this morning again...........its a tad warmer today!
  6. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    Sorry to hear of your unpleasant encounter, Dave. I know that the situation varies greatly from place to place regarding what permission is needed to play (and more importantly to collect), but in my experience any clashes can usually be resolved without any unnecessary unpleasantness. We had an instance a couple of years back at Sloane Square, where we collect one Saturday every year, when we found a couple of steel band members playing. After talking to them, they were quite happy to move a little nearer the station, so that the public were able to enjoy both types of music, and it did not seem to adversely affect the money raised.

    It always disturbs me when I hear of anyone who appears to have the idea that any organisation has, for want of a better phrase, a "divine right" to collect money, and there are some Salvationists who seem to get very resentful if people choose not to give, either when carolling or when we are collecting at other times. Equally, there are some who can be over-critical of the uses to which money raised through carolling is put to, whilst playing down the fact that, usually, a third of the money they raise themselves goes towards the upkeep of the band, music and instruments, rather than directly to any hands-on community service.

    There should be enough opportunities or everyone to find a suitable slot and to get on together - it is after all supposed to be the season for "goodwill to all men" - even trombonists :!: :shock: :wink:
  7. Boneman

    Boneman Member

    Good to see the Christian Spirit alive and well at Christmas!!
  8. Bob Thompson

    Bob Thompson Member

    Well I wouldn't tar all with the same bush, I'm also a trombonist, and have also been subject to similar discrimination in the past, indeed on a daily basis, its obviously 'slider discrimination', ..sliders rule of course.

    By the way, the monies we raised busking, goes towards the youngsters attending brass summer school.
  9. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    I think you've hit the nail bang on the head there Peter; we got a very 'more-virtuous-than-thou' vibe from these two gentlemen. The weirdest quote they gave was after we had agreed to move, when one of them asked me who we all played for; after I had said that most of us did indeed play with various brass bands, one of them turned to me and said 'Well, why aren't you out carolling with your own bands, then?' The concept that we might be doing it for musically satisfying fun seemed quite an alien one! - and when I explained this, they didn't seem to consider the idea worthy of a response...

    To reiterate the dangers of representatives of an organisation acting like this - the SA bands in Oxford (as far as I'm aware) maintain a very low public profile; these are the only two times on which I've ever had contact with them, and on 100% of these occasions, they've been explicitly disrespectful to me. I certainly have no intention of generalising my conclusions on these two people to any more of the SA, but it would be very easy for other people to do so.

    Anyway, I'm mildly ranting - time to stop, I think. Thanks for people's comments!

  10. geordiecolin

    geordiecolin Active Member

    Re: Durham; Durham's a great little city for busking in, has the right atmosphere, must be the Cathedral that does it,. I know 2 lads who play on Elvet Bridge every year and will easily make £500 in a day.

    Re: Clashes; We used to go out as a band around xmas eve in Newcastle City Centre. We'd ring up the council who would give us a choice of locations and a time slot in which to perform in. For those who know Newcastle, prime busking spot is Monument. Several large shopping streets all converge there and there are always loads of people hanging around. We used to have our annual argument with the Peruvian Pan Pipers or whatever they were called, cos they are always busking at Monument every day of the year (seemingly). We always used to lose the argument and had to go and play at the bottom of Northumberland St instead, which is far less lucrative.
  11. Trom41821

    Trom41821 Member

    Not a Christmas blunder but a general busking blunder. This took place about 9 years ago.........we had just taken part in the Flint Carnival and had a scary time on the back of a flat bed truck going over a hump backed bridge!!!

    We had then decided to go onto Llandudno Pier having first checked with the local council and harbour master etc etc. Opened up the tuba case and started playing and in came the pennies. About 10 minutes after playing commenced a member of the public approached our conductor pointing out that it was illegal to collect money using an open container????????? Apparently, according to this gentleman we should have used a bucket or other container where a lid could have been applied and a slit or opening made???????

    Our conductor explained that we had sought the approval of the council and harbour master and no such procedure had been mentioned. He sat down again but came up again at the end of the next piece. This became so off putting we packed away and went home early. We never established whether this fact was correct or not. Any "legal eagles" out there got any ideas?? Peter Bale perhaps? :?
  12. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    As I understand it, he was correct in saying that street collections should be carried out using a sealed container. When we collect at Sloane Squae we usually set up a bucket, as well as having collectors with tins, but the bucket has a lid so that no-one is able to remove anything from it. Another rule often ignored is that collecting tins should not be shaken.

    It does strike me, however, that he was just wanting to be awkward as, presumably, you were not going to submit any returns as to what had been collected, and were not part of a formal street collection, and it is certainly common practice to use instrument cases to receive monies when playing in open spaces, as witnessed on the tube, Covent Garden etc. where licensed busking is now in operation.
  13. kate_the_horn

    kate_the_horn New Member

    A good plan for these type of events is to take a small, cute, child along with you to take the tin!

    i played with 2 different bands, in 2 sundays, at chester bandstand!

    gorge day, in the hight of summer, sun pounding down, not a cloud in sight.

    OK sorry, this was a post about collecting!!

    yeh. we had 2 amazing days, right by the river!
    send a small child or 2 collecting!

  14. Trom41821

    Trom41821 Member

    Thanks for the info. I knew YOU would know. You are right we "were not going to submit any returns as to what had been collected, and were not part of a formal street collection"