It's not all about the money in Edinburgh busking paradise

Fri Aug 23, 2013 10:40am EDT
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By Stephen Eisenhammer

EDINBURGH (Reuters) - Buskers from all over the world descend on Edinburgh in Scotland for the Fringe, the largest arts festival in the world. They come for the money, the company and, who knows, maybe even fame.

Just 30 pounds ($46.72) buys you a busking pass and after that it is about meeting at 10 every morning and a bit of luck. Performers put their passes in a hat and organizers draw them to allocate the areas where they can hold performances.

With 854 street performers in town for this year's Fringe each act only gets two 30-minute slots per day. But in that time performers told Reuters you can make between 150 and 200 pounds a day over the 25 days of the Fringe.

A rough calculation puts the amount of money passing through hats of street acts during the Fringe at more than 3 million pounds.

No wonder acts are flocking to the Scottish capital. The number of performers is up 40 percent since 2009.

Geordie Little, who plays a guitar in a distinctive style resting it on his knees and beating out a rhythm on the instrument's frame as he plucks the strings, is at the Fringe for the second year in a row.

Originally from Australia, he has been busking for two years and now lives in Berlin.

"I heard about the Edinburgh Fringe from a friend when I was in Berlin and thought I had to check it out," he told Reuters as he packed up his guitar, CDs and amp, on the flyer-strewn Royal Mile where many street artists perform.   Continued...