My first proper busking experience

We are traveling around Australia in our RV caravan doing what’s colloquially called ‘The Big Lap’, circumnavigating the continent. It’s a great experience and we’ve been living in our caravan and traveling for over 2 years now and expect to be on the road for about another 2 years.

I pull out my guitar every day to play, sometimes at our campsite, often at the camp kitchen and typically play on my own, yet have had some magic experiences when other musicians have been around or enthusiastic campers who love a good sing along. I’d rate myself as an intermediate player, I have over 50 songs in my repertoire that I can play and sing completely from memory. Mostly I play fingerstyle.

We are currently camping at Katherine in the Northern Territory, real outback Australia.

At the campground yesterday I was playing at the camp kitchen and the campground manager walked by and told me I should go and play at a nearby pop up cafe which is located at a park about 1/2 kilometre away.

So I grabbed my guitar and went down there at about 5:30, it was a great vibe, open parkland and the cafe was a couple of shipping containers with drinks, sandwiches and pizzas, and probably about 100 people either eating or waiting in line, mostly young families.

I sat on my guitar stool and put a cap on the ground and started playing. Fairly quickly I had a number of young kids run up and drop coins in my hat which lifted my spirits as you can imagine. I wasn’t expecting to make a lot but was hoping more for the appreciation. :slight_smile:

I played for about an hour and had a fair bit of interaction with the kids, a group of young girls started dancing and their parents were taking pictures and such.

I walked away with a big smile on my face for the experience and a hat full of just over $13. I did notice my voice was a bit sore and I realize I was singing louder than usual given the spread out park area.

Would definitely do it again.


Fantastic story Tony. Remember reading in your log, years ago struggling through A D E just like the rest of us, and now entertaining people with your guitar and singing. Guess you’re not doing it for the money, doing it because you love doing it.

And the young girls eh, what are you like? :crazy_face:

Enjoy your lap Tony, more reports like this please

:guitar: David

Sounds like a pretty awesome experience, busking. Every time I see a busker I wonder what it would be like to do it. Living the dream Tony!

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Congrats Tony sounds like a wonderful experience. So yeah $oz 13 don’t sound much but every little bit will help keep the RV reserve topped up. as I bet fuel has shot up since you started your voyage. Could be a good fun way of keeping that engine going but a way of gauging reactions as you pass through the states of Aus ?


Sounds great Tony glad to see trip is going well and now you started making money out of it as well! As Toby said will help keeping RV filled up :smile: all the best

Kids are always great fun to play for they really get into it.
4 years on the road in an RV. Sounds like a country song :grinning:
I see a lot more busking in your future.

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Sounds like a really great experience. More or less is what I’m aspiring to. I’d like to be able to go to some bar and jam with other musicians. My home town had a bar like that but it closed some years ago :frowning: besides I’m quite far from there. I’d have to find a new place. Or just play at the street :smile:

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Thanks all for your replies. It was certainly lots of fun. I enjoyed the comments about the proceeds filling up the rv. We’ve paid up to $2.60 a litre for fuel on the road. I like to think it paid for the laundry, at $4 or more a load I’ll be wearing clean clothes for weeks.


Tony your story makes me dance and smile. How wonderful that you are living your dreams, sharing the love and having cash thrown at for it! What a magic experience, made all the more so by Katherine. I reckon there’s a Tony original here.


Thanks @batwoman, the vibe was really good, similar to Taco friday at Mercado Juarez at Buringbar. We should do that with Leonie and Peter when we get back.

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Nice to see that you did this. I have a small battery powered Roland amp that I am starting to use for "busking’ I usually play small local events - but just going out there without an established audience is very different. People walk by, some stay a few moments etc. The are not captive. I play with a duo and other larger acoustic groups - so I want to busk with at least a duo, as I find it hard to grab attention a a solo player. Plus, I totally love playing with others rather than solo in general. Have fun!!


Yeah, you only need to know a tiny number of songs