As we move towards a cashless society, street entertainers that breathe life into our cities are losing out. London-based app BuSK is helping them fight back.
Ever walked down the street, watched a performer, and wanted to give them money, but didn’t have the cash? A new app from The Busking Project is making that a thing of the past, effortlessly connecting street entertainers with their fans.
Negative public opinion. Increasing restrictions. A cashless society. For buskers around the world, it’s becoming difficult to survive. For Nick Broad, this is a big problem. After traveling around 30 countries over five continents in 2011 – filming and interviewing street performers – Broad and his two friends started The Busking Project. Their aim? To showcase the raw talent they’d discovered and promote the many benefits of busking.
“Buskers connect us to the world we live in”
“Street performers are one of the main ways our cities are kept human,” says Broad. “We all exist in bubbles. Shopping bubble, home bubble, work bubble, commuting bubble. Buskers burst those bubbles and connect us to the world we live in. The look on a kid’s face when they’re seeing something they don’t believe? That’s what buskers bring to a city.”
In December 2015, the project launched BuSK. A social app that helps you find live buskers in your area, you can also use it to make quick, cashless donations to the performer. If you really like the show, you can follow the busker and keep tabs on their updates. But perhaps more importantly, the app collects hard data on busking, spotlighting the positive effects of street performance on urban areas.
Buskers improve spectators’ psychological well-being
By proving that buskers improve spectators’ psychological well-being, breathing life into our increasingly sterile metropolises, Broad hopes to convince local authorities that they aren’t problematic “beggars with gimmicks”. Rather, they’re professional artists that also financially benefit their cities. “It’s not romantic, but once you show that buskers are a tool for tourism and local business, local authorities will quickly get behind them,” explains Broad.
Available in London, BuSK is also benefitting street entertainers and audiences in the United States, Canada, Australia, and across Europe. This year will see the app expanding to more countries, but plans for the app beyond that are secretive. “Android is on its way,” reveals Broad, before adding: “Along with some major hush hush additions!”