Sunday, September 21, 2014


To begin my blog entry for this week:

I abhor buskers who do not adhere to common-sense etiquette, having complete disregard and disrespect for the sisterhood and brotherhood members of the profession.

Searching for the best buskspot, I started my stroll down the REGINA FARMERS' MARKET at exactly nine o’clock a.m.  Surprise, surprise … I picked a place near the same spot I chose last week, and the week before, and the week before that, and … I really am a creature of habit!.  My chosen spot seems always to be near the vendors who smile and welcome me every Saturday: 


Betwixt Dave and Chuck, I was thrumming and humming by 9:30.  It was a bit windy but the air was warm and the sun was shining bright.  Just before 10 o’clock a carrot-top clown with a very shiny and bulbous red nose, a big red grin and perfect picket teeth arrived (suddenly) at my side.  He requested that I play Puff the Magic Dragon while he sang.  Following his strict musical guidelines of strumming only in G, C, and C, I did just that.  And then he wanted me strum  Little Old Lady Who Swallowed the Fly.   

Hmmm …

Detecting my reluctance to play for his imaginary kiddies’ parade, he eventually thanked me and left.  I like clowns, but whilst I am busking in my attempt to represent the quintessential Americana strummer and harp blower, I did not want to be bracketed as a clown.

And then came some real DRAGON'S TEETH.  He was short and slight and twenty-something, with his long hair sticking out from under his gray hoodie, and he was wearing green army pants and knee-high black army boots.  He set up with his acoustic guitar within fifteen feet of my station.  What to do.  I let it ride while deciding on my strategy to rid my audio space this buskerhood imposter brother.  

Hmmm ...

And then she came along.  Of similar dress in army fatigues, she nary gave me a glance as the started to sing along with her hooded companion.  What to do.  I let it ride, ride, ride. 

Hmmm ...

Within ten minutes, Hoodie Boy and his girlfriend abandoned their spot to go for a back massage, right next to where I was set up.  As he drew near, I gave him the thumbs up, thinking he’d decided to ditch his space as a gesture of respect.  This is what I thought.  

Hmmm ...

And then they came.  Two blue-stocking ladies, in the age range of emerging adults, traipsed by, one carrying an accordion, the other carrying a conga.  They set up exactly where the hoodie guitarist and his companion left off, and left the acoustic guitar, case still open.  Strangely, I watched the two girls greet and high five Hoody Boy and his girlfriend.  One of the girls picked up the acoustic and began strumming, while the other one pounded the conga.  And in a blink, the hooded one and his girlfriend returned to their busk spot and resounded together in strong song.   

Hmmm …

I temporarily packed up my guitar, leaving it with Chuck, while I searched for either Dee or Ada, the Market directors.  Explaining my situation to Dee, she walked with me back to my busk spot, to personally inspect my complaint.

Dee did tell them to change locations out of respect for the other acoustic busker – me, and also requested they pay their ten dollar busking fee, which they knew nothing about.  Peace at last, I thought, even when Hoodie Boy, to whom I had given the thumbs up, began to glare at me.  It was not terribly disconcerting and … I pretended not to notice.  

Hmmm ...

They left and so did Dee.  However, shortly after they returned and Dee did not.  They returned with a guitar and the two ladies in duo melody (I hate to admit in great melody) sang Leaving on a Jet Plane.  

Hmmm …

Getting close to noon I decided to take flight rather than fight.  (My consumers were munificent – my take suffice.)  However, I could not help myself; seeking Dee on my exit I explained their dastardly behavior. (I like this word, dastardly; it connotes a kind of evil in 50’s melodramatic fashion.)  Dee, obviously upset, suggested that I ought to approach them. For one shining brilliant, bullying moment, I thought about it.  In might-is-right manner I seriously considered the confrontation.  After all, my bona fides as a busker (strumming on sidewalks in Western Canada and Western Europe) and my busker alterity (tough-guy-cowboy wannabee) for the past decade ought to intimidate.

Hmmm … 

Though fists clenched, reason prevailed, and like a good Buddhist, I decided to follow my ahimsa (I am presenting to be a Zen Buddhist – I remind the reader that I enjoy the academia of Zen, but am not an avid disciple.)

I suggested to Dee that for me to do so would just be regarded as confrontational, and that she should be the one to do it because … it was Market business and she was the Director.   

Hmmm …

Later at home and still annoyed, I checked the REGINA FARMERS’ MARKET website and found the rules for BUSKERS:  

Regina Farmers' Market Busker Policies

At our Market we choose to have quality goods, and expect those that wish to busk at the Market to offer the same quality performance for the enjoyment of the public that attends Market. Buskers can show up at the beginning of Market and start right away, but be aware that we have some new busking policies. The Manager maintains the Street Closure for the Market area, and thus is in control of what is presented at Regina Farmers' Market.

Buskers will only perform their own music.  This is due to Tariff fees charged by SOCAN on copyrighted music from other artists. You are allowed to sell CD's of your music at the Market. No other items will be allowed.

Buskers (whether in a group or an individual) will pay $10.00 for their space each Market. The Manager will come around to collect sometime after mid-day of the Market. 

Buskers must change positions from their positions at the last Market. This way other vendors and customers will get a chance to hear something different each Market.

Buskers must ask all vendors within a 50 foot radius of the spot you have chosen for permission to play in that area. (Please be considerate that some vendors are losing their hearing and have trouble if you play by them.)

There will be no profanity allowed in your performance.

Management reserves the right to suspend your attendance to the Market for any reason. You will be notified of this by a paper notice. Please note that typically the largest complaint the Manager hears is that Buskers only know a few songs, try to improve your repertoire before you receive your notice.

Thank you! Happy busking!

Hmmm … 

Hoodie boy and his comrades asked no one for permission.  Hoodie boy and his comrades sang only covers.  Clearly, these actions were in direct violation of the REGINA FARMERS’ MARKET BUSKER POLICIES.

In VICTORIA, BRITISH COLUMBIA, where I sometimes busk, the rules are few and simple and REGULATED. 

  • Amplification is NOT allowed.   

  • Only one busker per block is allowed. 

  • Buskers are allowed just two hour sets, and then must move. 

  • All buskers require a busking license, of which the accompanying tag must be displayed while busking. 

Not so strangely, these rules are pretty much the same in every tourist destination. 
My proposal for the REGINA FARMERS’ MARKET is a simple one.  Respecting the present Market policies (the board members’ best laid plans to date), I shall formally request the following guidelines be added and adhered.

  • Keep a respectful distance, especially between musical acts. (A musical act and a non-musical one can be closer together, but should be careful not to interfere with one another’s visibility/traffic flow.)

  • Respect a captive audience. If your location is such that everyone who hears you is just passing by, then you can be as repetitious as you want.  If you are close to market vendors, change your tunes.

  • If you amplify your music, keep it at a decent volume. 

  • Be sure to keep the pedestrian traffic flow readily accessible to your nearby vendors.

  • All musical performers must audition for a license to busk at the market.  Upon success, the license tag must be worn at all times whilst busking.

I abhor buskers who do not adhere to common-sense etiquette, having complete disregard and disrespect for the sisterhood and brotherhood members of the profession.

There ... I have pulled the Dragon's Teeth ... having vented my anger in my wordswords! 



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