Spare a thought (and a pound coin) for London’s buskers. Since lockdown they’ve had their venues and their audience taken away from them: empty streets, deserted stations and squares, no tourists, no commuters, no banter, no dancing police officers, no entertainment. Life over the last weeks has been hard enough for professional musicians and artists: for those who rely on the endless generosity of London’s passers-by, it’s been next to impossible.
Now there are two festivals happening over this coming weekend (Saturday May 30 to Sunday May 31) to help give a showcase to buskers and raise some money for them too.
World Buskers United is a 24-hour global street-performing festival featuring more than a hundred artists live-streaming their acts, stunts and more from their kitchens, garages and gardens. When the organisers last did one of their virtual fests, in April, more than 30,000 people streamed it, and they promise that this one will be bigger and better.
Also running over the weekend is the Lockdown Festival from Keep Streets Live. KSL has been campaigning in London and the rest of the UK over the last few years to protect and champion street musicians and entertainers and stop councils from trying to ban them from performing (a bleak reminder that life was hardly rosy for our buskers even before lockdown). It has been running a series of live-streamed events where performers each get a scheduled hour-long slot to do their thing, and now it’s curating a whole festival, including acts from the USA and South Africa.
Street performers have been part of London life for hundreds of years. They’ve probably never had it quite so hard as right now. So spend a bit of time with some great ones, and spend a bit of cash to help them out.
Find more great ways to help your fellow Londoners at the moment.
Find some great music documentaries to stream for free.