Now, all praise to the city council for putting [url=http://www.belfastcity.gov.uk/moretime/busk.asp]this event[/url] on, but I came home from my pitch today in a blue mood for the following reason; despite receiving a considerable amount of coinage, not [i:4367d00fb3]one[/i:4367d00fb3] person would stop a minute to vote for me. This I found perplexing at first; you like me enough to give me your money, but not your vote, which is free?
I can only conclude that NI suffers from some kind of embarrasment complex - drive-by drop-ins are OK, but stop for a minute and risk becoming the centre of attention yourself, nooooo thank you. It was even more discouraging when parents of kids who were tugging at their coat-tails to get them to stop and listen for a bit were whisked away like I was some kind of dirty vagrant, when there was clearly a poster behind me and forms in front of me explaining what was going on. I even resorted to stopping playing midsong to ask people kindly for their vote, if they were giving me cash, and I couldn't have driven them away faster if I had said I was recruiting for Scientology.
I can only surmise that this is some kind of British/continental Europe juxtaposition, as a fellow busker told me that a Slovakian guy stopped and talked to him for 20 mins.
Now I'm not a regular busker, in fact it's only my second time, but if that's the general reception you get I can't really see myself doing it again.
a couple of friends of mine were having the same problems with this as well today. People threw money in but didn't catch on to the whole voting thing. When they mentioned voting the money-putter-inners simply ran away. I tried explaining to a few and they looked at me like i was some sort of scheming busker-pimp. Although in fairness once they understood they did fill in the form.
the form had to be filled in with your name a phone number and a comment about the busker - it was hard enough to get passers-by to actually stop where they were going and fill in a form, but when it asked for a phone number too it put a few people off. I'm not sure how an alternative could be done that wouldn't allow for cheating though.
Years ago, and hidden in a traumatic yet forgotten memory, I entered the Busker Festival in Derry (around 1996). The day started well, as the people in the office (of the busking festival) were very nice and reassured me that buskers were very popular in Derry and that they would put me in a prime location in order to calm my nervousness about being mugged and so forth. Anyway, off we went to the front door of the Richmond centre (ironically there was a real life busker there who looked homeless and after some shouting between him and the organiser person, he promptly left). Thus began my highly irregular yet perplexing versions of classics such as 'We can work it out', 'Sweet Caroline' and other assorted hits from yester-year played along to a salsa beat (or some other awful 1996 keyboard backing track). Things seemed fine, old ladies were giving me cash and I amassed around £5.00 in half an hour. Then, on the dark-clouded horizon two toothless spides (I didn't know that term back then and just referred to them as council kids),with mannered walks that would put Liam Gallagher to shame came into view. I prayed to heaven to let them pass me by, but to no avail. There upon, these vulgar idiots began to taunt me. I took five minutes of abuse and then fled, almost in tears, back to the busking festival head quarters; told them I wanted a refund (the entrance fee was something like a £5), and as quickly as was possible located my mum and headed for the hills of Donegal adamant that one day I would return and show those council kids who was boss [this day has yet to come]...
Meanwhile, the set up for that festival was that the judges would go around every contestant at random and judge them on how the public interacted with them, musical quality etc...
i think a schoolboy brought along his classmates to vote for him, and therefore got loads of votes and scooped the prize! public votes were the exceptation to the rule. ah well hate the game, not the playa!
I read your comments about last year's festival and as the organiser I would like to respond.
First of all, this was the first time a busking festival was ever organised and was done on quite short notice. taking on board the comments from last year, the festival now has SMS voting and it begins next Wednesday. We also broke the festival down into categories to give everyone a fair go and judges will also be out for the Most Creative Performer Category.
Regardless of whether the contestants win or not, we also got a lot of coverage and this year BBC NI will be filming the festival as part of a documentary on busking so there is a good chance you will get some exposure if nothing else.
If you want to take part in the festival this year, please visit www.buskni.com or email me on email@example.com