It used to be the best city we have ever played in. But Since the middle of 2019 the city council has been negotiating new busking rules, so make sure to check up on that before going. If you get to play there, Puerta del Sol, Calle Preciados and Plaza del Callao are literally busking heaven. You can play two hours each spot but be sure to be there in good time, as there can be quite a lot of competition.
Rules and police: ?
Lisbon is an amazing city and have wonderful people living there, but it is also a bit gritty. We never found out if there were any busking rules but the police didn’t seem to care about music in the street. Chiado was the place we found most success in and that was also truly amazing.
Rules and police: 7/10
New York City
The Big Apple is one of our favourite cities. It is such an iconic city with so much going on there. We found out we could play uninterrupted in the only peaceful place on Manhattan, Central Park. We didn’t get a license to play in the park back then, but it seemed as though nearly no one cared that we played there. People often enjoyed their afternoon walk in the park and appreciated the street art combined with our music. Even though we did not have any bigger problems with getting stopped, we have heard that New York can be quite strict with their busking rules.
Rules and police: 5/10
New Orleans is such a cute and cozy city where you really breathe in the history as you are walking around. It is one of the best places to play in the United States because there is a real pedestrian street like there is all over Europe. This means you do not have to compete with huge gas-guzzlers revving their engines in your favourite busking spot. Rules are unclear but the place to be is Jackson Square. We did not have any issues using the amplifiers and we met some other buskers who made their living by just being a busker in New Orleans. You might have to deal with a few territorial buskers and crime is unfortunately high there so you REALLY have to watch out for your stuff.
Rules and police: 7/10
We lived in this city for a year while being buskers and have therefore played there a lot. We never give it enough credit, but we really do think it is a good place to busk. The Danish people seem a bit busy, and do not always give themselves as much time to enjoy a performance, as other countries do, but when they show love they do it for real. You may be surprised to see how much you earned after you have done your set. The places to play are Lille Torv, Skt. Clemens Bro and Søndergade. We have never been stopped or had any kind of problems with rules or police in Aarhus.
Rules and police: 8/10
London is one of the coolest places we know. It is 100 procent legal to busk there and that is why it made the list. Unfortunately it was a bit more disappointing than expected. London is such a popular city to busk in, so you will meet a lot of competition. All the good spots have a queuing system monitored by the buskers themselves. Here you have one hour to play, before it is the next busker’s turn. This rule makes it a lot fairer, but you might have to wait in line for two to four hours. The money was not really as good as you would expect, and when you take into consideration how expensive accommodation is there it can get a bit tough. Our favourite places, where you do not need a license, were in the more quiet but less competitive Chinatown and also Leicester Square. We also tried at Covent Garden and in front of London Eye, but there you need a license to play.
Rules and police: 9/10
This is our own country’s capital city. We have not played a lot there yet, but the few times we have it has been really good. The money is quite good (as it in general is in Denmark) and there are more people to play for compared to Aarhus. The place to busk is Storkespringvandet or Strøget. All the good places have a Busker controlled queuing system where you can only play 30 minutes per act and then wait until it is your turn again. This is the hardest part about Copenhagen.
Rules and police: 8/10
We have even tried small cities or towns and have been surprised. When you compare them to bigger cities, you can sometimes earn more, get more fans and deal with less competition from other buskers, city laws, police and so on. People just really appreciate when something new is happening in their hometown, so as a busker you will feel more welcomed than you would expect. The downside is you can quickly get a feeling you “played out” a small city. Here are some suggestions that worked awesome for us: Aarau (Switzerland), Baden (Switzerland) Odense (Denmark), Vejle (Denmark), Fredericia (Denmark), Las Palmas (Gran Canaria, Spain), Puerta de Mogan (Gran Canaria), Salamanca (Spain).