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Topic: Family Life and performing?
Message: Posted by: Mario Morris (Feb 1, 2005 07:25PM)
This might seem a bit of the wall!

Do any of you travel with your family to gigs? How do you get a healthy balance between home life, busking all bookings?

I am the sole bread winner at the moment, so not going is not an option. I am going to busk and graft it hard this year, yet I want to spend every day with my Wife Mandy and our two-year old boy Caleb.

I am pen to any wise advice.

Message: Posted by: Danny Hustle (Feb 1, 2005 10:26PM)

If it were not for the wife and family, I would be working a cruise ship at the moment and be as far away from all of this snow as possible! :)

I am a family guy. Lots of travel is not an option. I have had to find ways to get booked and find work close to home. I also know what you mean about being the sole bread winner. My wife was laid off just before Christmas.

If travel is hard find a way not to travel. Being a bartender is a very lucrative job in most areas. Being a talented, honest, hardworking, bartender, who is also a magician, could be a real sweet job for a fellow of your qualities and disposition.

If you have no bar-tending skills try and get a job as a bar back using your magic as an in. A bar back is the guy who lugs cases, and clears and washes, when the bartender is busy. You will also have the opportunity to learn to serve drinks. I do not drink myself but have made very good money as a magic bartender. It is VERY similar to busking.

That is just one way to stay closer to home and supplement your busking income. It is also a fantastic way to book private parties, as is restaurant work.

I think small business guys like us need to do some of the same things that big companies do. One of those things is diversification. Having a lot of different ways to generate income allows you more possibilities to stay close to home.

This is just some of the stuff I am doing and your situation may be different. At the very least I do know how you feel buddy and I can empathize.


Message: Posted by: Kondini (Feb 2, 2005 10:17AM)
I have always taken the wife and kids with me. It beats kissing them goodbye.
Since in the pram days I found that the little darlings learn about life a lot quicker than a flatties kid. They get to handle money, travel, meet like-minded people and people with no minds at all. In the school holidays, it's a continuous holiday away from home and at other times when school is`on the teachers will set work for them (just take time out to go to the school and explain what you do for a living; this should result in getting the school Xmas party as well).

My kids have been brought up with it and gained higher pass results from it, My daughter is head of the Social Gov Dept for Wiltshire and often remarks that her upbringing gave her a good grounding in human psychology. She has just received her Doctorate for this as well.

Neither of my kids have joined me in the business. I guess being with Dad 24/7 put them off. I think a lot of this will depend on your wife and her make up. She will either love it or hate it. I was lucky and got a lot of support from mine.

It's a very hard question to answer. Everyone is different, but I am glad I took the plunge because right now I would be wondering what I could have missed. I didn't`t and NO regrets.
Message: Posted by: Arkadia (Feb 2, 2005 10:57AM)
This is a great thread. I just got married this summer, and I suppose a kid will come of it sooner or later. =) As a teacher I have a pretty long vacation during summer (8 weeks), and during this time I try to hit as many streets as possible.

I have been thinking about the problems that could show up. Not that I am the only breadwinner in our marriage, and not that there is a problem at the moment. I just want to do the street performance bit as much as possible. I guess the summer vacation can be a bit like a Holiday for the son or daughter - going away with the wacky dad on a trip. Perhaps they could hold the hat... or not. =)

The problem starts if I would want to go to other countries doing my busking stuff. I would very much like to travel through Europe and trying it out on the street. Living of the money earned by street performance. Perhaps family and busking can be combined. I don't know. Time will tell - I guess - as always.

/Ark - Just rambling on...
Message: Posted by: Michael Baker (Feb 2, 2005 10:58AM)

I am in a similar position as you, and have been asked MANY times why I'm not working cruise ships or on the road constantly. My wife and my son are the reason, plain and simple. So I have chosen to be the big fish in a smaller pond. I do travel, but only for time-specified engagements, which are typically a week or less. Most the time I am centered here, and it's still a living.

The bartending suggestion you gave to Mario is really, really good! I cut my eye teeth, and made the transition to being a full-timer working behind a bar. It makes the busking in bars a piece of cake, which transfers to the sidewalk, too, because in that type of work environment, you learn a sense of awareness hard to explain. As a bartender, despite the ambient confusion, you become able to know everything that is happening within your surroundings to the point it is almost a weapon, a weapon very useful to a busker (and the money is good!)

Your comments on diversification are most welcome! Having made the mistake of putting too many eggs in the same basket, experience has taught me to operate with those kinds of safety valves in place. Nice to feel validated! Thanks!

... Another guy trying to keep the mortgage paid.
Message: Posted by: Kondini (Feb 2, 2005 12:31PM)
I don`t think that bar work over here as a magi/bartender would catch on. Regarding the washing up-fetch-and-carry type work, well it's very low paid in the UK.

I work the showgrounds from March to December---Sat/Sun. Sometimes this includes the Friday as well. On bank holidays, you get Fri-Mon inclusive.

I try to arrange a round tour, so that I am away for three weekend shows at a stint returning home to pick up the mail one week in four. Mid week, I work the streets (if I feel like it) in the location of the previous or next weekends gig.

I travel up to Scotland, Wales and most of the Midlands which gives me a lot of shows to choose from. I never take on one off gigs over two hundred miles away unless I can pick up work on the way or return journey (planning is the key here, and knowing how the show runs work). Planning the shows and route takes a couple of months each winter, but doing repeat gigs lightens the load more and more each year. I now have twenty regulars, so it`s pretty easy for me.

Extra cash can be made on the shows. I have a lucky dip for kids which on average gives me 100 profit on a two day show, this year I shall also be running a single profit unknown as yet, I pitch Sven cards and sell Jokes,Tricks and Novelties from a small six foot table stall. This can average out at well over a thousand profit on a two day show, but you have to try them all and then return the following year to the best turnover gigs only.

If you are on a fee, then offer to reduce the fee in return for free rental space for your extra concessions (this always works). And you end up quids up on your original quote anyway.

For the really top-paid venues, you just do the performances only. You can`t take the mickey too much.

So with all these strings plus a bit of street work midweek you are bound to make a very good living OK.

No I'm not going to tell you what I grossed last year! But I did pay a lot of tax.
Oh yes, I have also paid up most of the mortgage.
Message: Posted by: Danny Hustle (Feb 2, 2005 03:37PM)

Great post! I thought the situation might be different in the U.K. for bar workers but I was not sure.

Pitching slum can be a great racket if you have the joint right. I am thinking about doing that myself. There is no such thing as having too many talents and hawking slum takes more than nerve.

Between the kids shows, bar work, slum, and busking, I think it will all add up to a living that is better than digging roads. :)

I really think the key is in doing more than just one thing.

Thanks to Mario for starting this topic off!



Posted: Feb 2, 2005 4:38pm

Kondini what kind of Singlo are you doing?


Message: Posted by: Kondini (Feb 2, 2005 03:56PM)
One of Doug Higleys. It's great. I put it in the bed the day it arrived. Pat went bonkers. I thought my knickers would never dry.

Going to pull them in after each performance (instead of a hat line) charging 50p ($1) a head all classes. Looking for around 500 punters on a two-day gig to make it really worth while.

I agree, do more than one thing is the way. You are at the gig all day anyway, so why not squeeze them dry.
Message: Posted by: Danny Hustle (Feb 2, 2005 04:11PM)

Nothing like a punk in a jug to send them home screaming!


Message: Posted by: Mario Morris (Feb 2, 2005 07:40PM)

I totally agree with you. I have heard of busking at bars after gaining permission from the Landlord. With the fear of looking completely daft, what is a Singlo?

Message: Posted by: Danny Hustle (Feb 2, 2005 08:00PM)

A Singlo is a side show with only one attraction. Most side shows are a 10 in one with a blow off; a singlo is usually just the blow off---something really great like an Electric Lady, Headless woman, bodiless head, Siamese twins, or a pickled punk.

A punk is a deformed fetus in a jar of alcohol. Doug Higley is a manufacturer of really grotesque aberrations that look so real they make you want to vomit. The kids LOVE 'em. It usually costs a buck to get a peek and it is inside of a tent. ALIVE ON THE INSIDE!:) Gosh, I can almost smell the sawdust and funnel cakes! :)


Message: Posted by: Mark Rough (Feb 2, 2005 08:27PM)
Oh, man, I love funnel cakes.
Message: Posted by: Kondini (Feb 3, 2005 04:43AM)
Danny, right on the nose. Mine is a Feegee.
Message: Posted by: Mario Morris (Feb 3, 2005 06:46AM)
Got you: I know want you mean now. I like Doug Higley dark Museum piece. I have thought in the past about sideshow piece like that. Kondini, I can see how putting something like that into your bed is tacking "Family Life and Performing" a little to far. LOL.



I got myself booked into an event 40,000+. I can take my RV on site and pitch in front of it. I can do my show and hat all I can sell. What do you think?


P.S. Perfect to take the family, too.
Message: Posted by: okito25 (Feb 4, 2005 11:13AM)
I say run with it, Mario. From the start I have for the most part taken my better half and kids on the road in the summer, or at least had them come with for part of it---gairs, festivals, and Community events, and busking Unique touristy venues in the mountains. It makes for a great real-life education. We camp, beautiful scenery. Now my kids are old enough to run a while. They don't need attending to. It is more awesome.


P.S. If you can't make your gig, I am sure anyone of us would be all over that as fast as a fat kid on a funnel Cake. ;)

Good luck with that
Message: Posted by: Kondini (Feb 4, 2005 11:16AM)
Good, getting the booking is the hardest thing, right? Are you getting a fee ? If not and you are relying on the hat in your own cash interest, the more you do the more you should make. As there are probably a lot of other people with concessions, I would get a sign made up, so that I could put show times up and place this out front early in the day. Foot traffic should be heavy, and you will find some people will note the times.

What to sell?

If you are on the bottle after your performances, that should suffice or you could extend the crowd by pitching as you bottle that you will be selling simple tricks that anyone can do in a few minutes. You require a table with a few lines you can pitch and the swag. Cost for a couple of days around 2oo on swag should give you a return of around 600.

Balloon animals should fly out if you keep the cost low and make one up during your performance. I used to put them out at 50p a head, so a return of %100 will give you around another 150 profit for the two days. If you make up a Lucky Dip the return should not be less than 500, providing you don`t have too much competition.

If the sun shines on you, you should clear well over a 1000, depending on how much the gate money charge is and if there is free parking.

PM the show details to me, and I might be able to suggest other things as well. Also if you have no swag supplier, there is a good one on your doorstep.

Don't forget to use the family. They are the ones walking around the showground with balloon hats on. Also push from the back through the crowd to toss 5 notes into your hat. Be careful where you get positioned---away from the Fairground and loud noise. A good place is near the beer tent (you can stay open late then). Or near food or toilets (everyone on the ground will eat and s***)

Position is the main thing. It can make or break you.
Message: Posted by: Doug Higley (Feb 9, 2005 06:32PM)
Clearing the record: I don't do Pickled Punks or more accurately when fakes, 'Bouncers' :)

Yeah, the kids do love them, but the Women and most adult Men don't, and that's an awful lot of folks walking on by with their change intact in their pockets. That's why I came up with the Atomic Fish and re-worked the old Mermaid idea (16th century showmanship!).

Adults get a kick out of those without the regurgitation reflex kicking in, and more importantly, if framed correctly they will flock in.

Pickled babies just don't cut it...nor should they, IMO.

Kondini, sure glad you like your Mer! It traveled a long way to find a home with a real pro. That's fantastic.

Message: Posted by: Danny Hustle (Feb 9, 2005 07:47PM)

Thanks for the correction. I've been to your site and they are, in a word, gorgeous! :)


Message: Posted by: bropaul (Feb 10, 2005 08:41AM)

Went to the site. Very, very good looking stuff. I'll be in touch.
Message: Posted by: Kozmo (Feb 10, 2005 09:36AM)
Theres a conversation on the art of 3 with cellini about life on the road and being away from family

did anyone buy these art of dvd's

are they any good?

Message: Posted by: Kondini (Feb 10, 2005 11:51AM)
All the dvd`s are excellant,,,,,as you know!!
Message: Posted by: Danny Hustle (Feb 10, 2005 03:04PM)
Kozmo! Where the heck you been buddy?