Be sure to read last week's article to get the background on my trip to Buskerfest, Adventures in Busking.
I learned quite a few things at the Buskerfest this year. Some from personal experience, and some from the Windy City Wizard himself, who was also performing there.
I was surprised to see how many magicians were at the fest. On first thought, I suspected it would hurt tips and interest. But we were all doing different things, so each act was still unique and well received.
The Wizard did Cups & Balls and some Ring & Rope. I did some balloon magic and a change bag routine that left my bag "empty" and ready to be filled with bills.
Most of my time though was filled with balloon twisting. I was the only balloon artist there and every child wanted one. Thinking to bring the balloons was the smartest thing I did. The crowds seemed to ebb and flow, getting busy and slow at times, but with the balloons, I always had at least a few folks standing around, throwing bills in my buckets.
When the crowds got bigger, I would do my magic routine, entertaining them all.
I would suggest, if you decide to do street performing, not only have your big act for the crowds, but have something more intimate you can do when there are fewer folks. My biggest tips came from the balloons, too.
Another plus from the balloons, is my creations were everywhere in the fair site. People had to ask, "Where did you get the balloon?" which kept me in supply with new faces.
One thing I noticed from all the performers was that performed continuously through the day, for big crowds and little. If you wait to draw a crowd, you could wait all day, but when you start doing anything, folks stop to watch.
At times, I was standing alone, not a kid in sight, only adults passing by. I'd make the effort to walk over to them, do something magical, and as I did, others would stop and watch and my group would grow and my bucket will fill with dollars. If I had waited for folks to come to me, I would not have done anywhere near as well.
I hope these tips help, and I encourage you to share your thoughts and ideas at the magic forum.