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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The side walk shuffle » » Busking Chicago (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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John Sturk
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Chicago, IL
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I'm moving to Chicago for a new job, and I've heard that Chicago is a good location for busking. Any tips on good locations? I'm all ears...
BAH1313
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Ohio
445 Posts

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Yep, get your liscense (sp?) and work where they tell ya you can.

MIchigan ave. is good but certain parts are off limits.


Another point of advice - watch your back, be safe.
I am truly blessed to have a job where people are laughing all the time and everyone believes in magic....Come to think of it, I'm blessed to even have a job.
John Sturk
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Chicago, IL
120 Posts

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Yup, got my license, and I'm legal to go. The law says I can't be on Michigan Ave in front of Millennium Park, and along the Magnificent Mile.

I know it's getting a little cold to be busking in Chicago, but how places to VIEW other street magicians? There's gotta be some out there...
BAH1313
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Ohio
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Michigan ave will have Magi out all winter long...
I am truly blessed to have a job where people are laughing all the time and everyone believes in magic....Come to think of it, I'm blessed to even have a job.
dmm
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Chicago can be tough for Busking in the fall/winter, and there are permits required.

Summer is best, as there are lots of events and festivals.

Consider a restaurant as there are 1,000's
John Sturk
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Chicago, IL
120 Posts

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I'm considering a restaurant, and private gigs.

Fortunately, I'm moving to Chicago because I have a day job. Performing has always been a side gig...but it's always way fun and rewarding. Busking presents unique challenges which, for me, makes it the most fun.
Brent Allan
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Chicago
415 Posts

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Chicago does not appreciate buskers. They treat us like garbage, change rules at will, and the police hassle you.

Good luck to you. It is worth it, and I enjoy busking here in Chicago, but the money is pretty weak.
Turn your business card into a relentless salesperson that brings you business!

http://www.TransformYourBusinesscard.com
ed rhodes
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Rhode Island
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I can't hear people talking about Chicago without thinking of the comedian who said; "I don't get Chicago. It's like a lot of New Yorkers got together and said; 'OK, the dirt and the crime are all right, but it's not cold enough. Let's move west!' "
"There's no time to lose," I heard her say.
"Catch your dreams before they slip away."
"Dying all the time, lose your dreams and you could lose your mind.
Ain't life unkind?"
BAH1313
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Ohio
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Hey Brent, one question...

How is it worth it if the money is weak?
I am truly blessed to have a job where people are laughing all the time and everyone believes in magic....Come to think of it, I'm blessed to even have a job.
ed rhodes
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Rhode Island
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Maybe he felt the experience was good even if he didn't make a lot of money.

I felt that way the first time I worked up enough nerve to try Thayer St. Just being out there was a good feeling even though I made a grand total of $4.00!

I've done better since, not $$$ like some people here, but enough to feel happy about. Might do better next spring when I time it better and can stay out longer!
"There's no time to lose," I heard her say.
"Catch your dreams before they slip away."
"Dying all the time, lose your dreams and you could lose your mind.
Ain't life unkind?"
Danny Hustle
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Boston, MA USA
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I like turtles.
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ed rhodes
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Rhode Island
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"Behold the lowly turtle, who never makes any progress unless he sticks his neck out!"
"There's no time to lose," I heard her say.
"Catch your dreams before they slip away."
"Dying all the time, lose your dreams and you could lose your mind.
Ain't life unkind?"
Brent Allan
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Elite user
Chicago
415 Posts

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It is worth it because A) it is fun to busk, and B) It is a way to pick up some extra cash if you don't have another gig.

However, a private performance gig (party, restaurant, whatever) will pay better. I go and busk if I have nothing more lucrative to do, but I try to keep myself in private bookings so I don't have to rely on busking.

Plus, they constantly change the rules on us. The licensing regulations are very clear about where we cannot busk. However, there are still other places where the police will run you off, even though it is not expressly forbidden in the law.

Plus, I hate to say it, many of the other buskers around here are rather unsavory characters, and I would really rather not associate with them.
Turn your business card into a relentless salesperson that brings you business!

http://www.TransformYourBusinesscard.com
Kozmo
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V.I.P.
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I loved working chicago...and made GREAT money on michagan ave..dont liten to anyone teling you that it cant be done...its up to you and your talent and that's all there is to it

koz
BAH1313
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Ohio
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Unsavory?!
why didn't ya say so...


I'm in.

And I'll be there to make money.


Who's coming with me????!!!!!!!
I am truly blessed to have a job where people are laughing all the time and everyone believes in magic....Come to think of it, I'm blessed to even have a job.
johnnymystic
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North Adams Ma.
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I will Bobby.
I drink cheap tequila and vomit
<BR>I cannot eat hot wings...acid reflux
<BR>I never inhale Smile
<BR>I can put a field dress on a deer
BAH1313
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Ohio
445 Posts

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Pack the Tequila and the Robitussin, weze goin to da windy citay!
I am truly blessed to have a job where people are laughing all the time and everyone believes in magic....Come to think of it, I'm blessed to even have a job.
Amon
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Chicago, IL
134 Posts

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I'm a' comin too!!!!!!!
here and now
Brent Allan
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Chicago
415 Posts

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Absolutely! Come on out, all of you! It would be awesome to see more of a quality busker presence here in Chicago.

Just to echo what BAH1313 said earlier, watch your back. This summer, a buddy of mine (also a busker) was robbed at gunpoint.

As for there being magi out on Michigan Ave all winter long, that really depends on the kind of weather we have this winter. If it is mild, it may be worth it to take advantage of the hordes of Christmas shoppers. However, if we have a brutal winter with bitter cold, then good luck drawing any type of crowd, and good luck with staying warm. Those downtown streets can act like a wind tunnel when the wind gets blasting, and if it's cold, you'll think you were in a freezer.

John, if you got your permit already, then give it a whirl. You have heard two different opinions in this thread, but really it all depends on what works for you. Different people have their own ideas of what "good money" is, and what conditions they wish to work in and how long they wish to work to make that money. Personally, I have lived here most of my life, so I am sick of the winters. I deal with the cold when I have to, and choose to work indoors if at all possible.
Turn your business card into a relentless salesperson that brings you business!

http://www.TransformYourBusinesscard.com
ed rhodes
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Inner circle
Rhode Island
2720 Posts

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Not that I'm going to get the Chicago anytime soon, but out of curiousity, what does it take to get a license?
"There's no time to lose," I heard her say.
"Catch your dreams before they slip away."
"Dying all the time, lose your dreams and you could lose your mind.
Ain't life unkind?"
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