Musicians' Diary

Busking in European cities – Part 1

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Let me start a new topic let’s say busking-oriented. What you have to know before busking in any european countries… When touring, I always want to give a try, it’s always a good way to feel the ambiance and meet people, in other conditions than in a concert place.

A nice busking session by 0°C last winter, I even got a pastry !

Each country has its own rules or regulations regarding street performances such as busking. If for instance, UK is a quite “busker-friendly” country (see this older post  ), it may be another story in other countries…

Let’s start today with Greece ! Greece is actually a good example to convince you (and myself) that it’s always usefull to know the local regulations.

The local police station main door !

I must say I’ve been busking so many times in the centre of the same city, which is really a pleasure as people are extremely friendly with buskers. They smile at you, even old retired people give you coins, although most of them got their pension reduced by a half because of Troïka.

But last time, after 15 minutes busking, police asked me whether I had an authorisation !! I’m almost sure I saw the police ten times at least in this street ! As well as many buskers, and without any problem ! And none of my greek friends ever told me about these rules…

It used to be one of my favourite places for busking.

They asked me to follow them to the police office. A bit rough in the beginning, just treated as a beggar, and I don’t mean a beggar deserves being treated this way even though they got much more friendly at the end, when they realised I was not busking in order to bother people, but mostly for my own pleasure. “But you’re selling CD’s, that’s illegal !” “Don’t worry, I haven’t sold any !” I said… I wonder if the right reply would have been “Do you get a receipt when you leave a banknote on the icon of the Virgin in a church ?” but I might have gone into deeper troubles 😉 !

After one hour and a half filling forms, they kept… 1€60 as a proof, and told me I’d receive news from the court (Yes !) within… two years ! OK, nothing dramatic, but if you’d like to try busking in Greece, please ask for your agreement from local authorities before !