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Please don't label buskers as aggressive beggars, at least we are trying to bring a smile to your day

letter of the day: street life

Published 17/08/2016

As a Belfast busker, I feel the need to respond to the article published in the Belfast Telegraph (News, August 3).

My name is Philip. I have been a musician in Belfast for the past 20 years. I am a guitarist/singer-songwriter and will occasionally walk into Belfast and strum a few chords to try and supplement my income.

In the age of digital music and downloads, it has become quite difficult to maintain a regular income in today's music industry and busking has, for generations, been a way for struggling musicians and artists to take their skills and talents directly to the audience who, if they enjoy what the performers are doing, can offer a small contribution. This is worlds apart from the "aggressive begging" that you describe in your article and I feel that the art form of busking should not have been lumped in with aggressive begging in this manner.

At a time when Belfast is littered with dilapidated buildings, draped with pictures and slogans depicting a vibrant, up-and-coming city, which is yet to be seen, I personally feel that buskers and street performers add something to the city that cannot be underestimated.

Being a nation that prides itself on the level of artistry and musical talent emanating from this small isle, why print an article that discourages giving to artists and street performers? They might put a smile on your face, reminding you of your favourite song, or a special time in your life.

Bands such as U2 would have found it much more difficult to hone their skills as musicians and performers had an exclusion zone been set up in Dublin's Grafton Street.

The most I have ever made from one day's busking is £39 and the following day I made £1.40 and a gift of a cup of coffee.

Giving to buskers is completely voluntary. If they brighten up your day, feel free to brighten up theirs.



Belfast Telegraph

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