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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The side walk shuffle » » Key West Florida (1 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Inner circle
1499 Posts

Profile of Kyoki_Sanitys_Eclipse
Wow. So I was looking into the different places people are busking one place I stumbled upon is Key West. It looks absolutely beautiful and seems to have a great place to busk at the sunset celebration at Mallory Square Dock, not sure if there are any other good pitches there. Then I started looking into the laws, thinking a permit system would be in place. Instead I found out it cost 20 dollars a day to set up if you have any size show at all, 5 if you are a solo musician or the like. That seems crazy

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Regular user
Las Vegas, NV
155 Posts

Profile of TheRealMagicMike
I've been thinking of taking a month and trying it out myself... nice weather all year around. I've heard mixed information regarding the Sunset Celebration. I had a few people who lived in Key West a couple of months ago telling me it is great and I should go there, etc... than I spoke to a magician who said his experience wasn't so good as far as making money...

It's definitely tempting. I think in order to perform at the Sunset Celebration you have to go in front of a "jury" first and perform; I'm assuming to make sure your act is family friendly, etc.

One thing is for sure... the cost of living is extremely high there and living expenses can be quite high.

Anyway, would love to hear from anyone else who has direct knowledge regarding Key West and Mallory Square busking (either as a visitor or performer).
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Veteran user
350 Posts

Profile of cbguy
Mallory Square is a big money pitch. You have to have a circle show to work there and it is a draw.

You can, however go elsewhere in Key West and make a killing...

If you're gonna give it a shot, try setting up near the Flying Monkey, it's steady busy all day and night, tourist galore and BIG hats from a doorway.
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Special user
Dargaville, New Zealand
929 Posts

Profile of MagiCol
This looks like a particular venue. e.g. 1. Show up on site at the Manager's kiosk on the north-east end of Mallory Square Dock.

I presume there are other venues there that don't have such restrictions.

I so, what's to stop a person setting up some other location at Key West?
Keep in mind that you don't have to be IN an event/exact location to busk at the location in general. You can stand a few yards outside the venue boundary, such as a few yards or so away from the entrance and still busk to people walking to the event.

Different areas e.g. privately owned land, public land, etc. have different rules.

When you get to an area where someone is busking and talk to the individuals, that's when you are best to find out just how things work in actuality.
Things in writing tend to be more onerous than in practice.

I think that busking comes in various styles. Some [most?] shop-owners, and some nearby buskers, don't like noisy musicians playing the same music [often penetrating] over and over again close to them. A busking magician has a different 'feel' about him.

In general, when in Rome do as the Romans do. The busking ones, that is.

Coming to the cost of $20 for a bigger show, or $5 for a smaller one, how many hours a day total do you get to perform in practice?

While I prefer not to pay to perform at an event, often it's a case of 'You've got to spend money to make money." An example is the purchase of a deck or cards to perform with cards. Or buy a set of Cups and Balls to have those to perform with. Paying for a pitch is another example.
Any busker worth his salt should easily be able to make that site fee of $20 or $5.
If not, then quite likely, for an experienced Street Magician, the fault lies in the place not being a good place for your pitch. Move on to somewhere better.
The presentation makes the magic.
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Veteran user
350 Posts

Profile of cbguy
That's what I'm telling you guys....

Don't bother with Mallory Square, pull a doorway on the streets by the stores, the cigar shops and the bars.

You will make good money, I've done it plenty of times, it is one of my favorite places to perform.

Stay off of private property in the big plazas and if you're smart get out there when the ships are de-boarding, it's like printing money. Nothing but tourists.
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Inner circle
1499 Posts

Profile of Kyoki_Sanitys_Eclipse
It seems like a cool place to visit but you would have to do really good here to make it. My wife and I are looking at getting an rv to be our busking home and the cheapest I found a site for in season was 1800 a monto if you sTay 3. I couldn't imagine how much other accommodations would be. That said if the pitches are good it could easily be worth it. Probably not for the inexperienced, I'm guessing
ed rhodes
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Inner circle
Rhode Island
2770 Posts

Profile of ed rhodes
I remember reading "Callahan's Key," one of a series of novels and short stories by Spider Robinson about a group of drinkers who meet at a place called Callahan's, drink, tell bad jokes, make music and occasionally save the world. (Technically, the actual bar "Callahan's" gets destroyed in the third book, but the titles continue to say "Callahan's"

In "Key," the new bartender is fed up with Long Island (where Callahan's and the second bar; "Mary's Place" were located) and one of his customers "Doc," who has moved to Key West tries to convince him that it's the place to move to. One of the characters, who is the resident cynic, says; "What's the catch?" To which Doc replies; "OK, roaches the size of dogs, mosquitoes the size of birds and tourists."
"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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