17 March 2024

No cash to support Braddon's buskers? You can scan here

| James Coleman
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Ava Martina performs on Lonsdale Street. Photo: Creswick Collective.

The days of laying your cap or guitar box on the ground are over for Braddon’s buskers.

The City Renewal Authority (CRA) and MusicACT have together devised a way for passers-by to electronically pay street musicians in an effort to enliven the city streets.

Called the ‘Braddon Busking Hub‘, here’s how it works:

Aspiring buskers apply to join in via the Braddon Busking Hub website, and submit a short video of their musical performance. Once approved, they can create a free account on Busk.co, which will send through a unique QR code linked to a payment portal like PayPal.

The team will use this code to create an official sign they’ll then send you free of charge for display while busking.

ACT Minister for the Arts Tara Cheyne hopes it will provide a stronger avenue for up-and-coming musicians and create a “cultural experience in Braddon”.

“Given a lot of people are not carrying as much cash as they used to, or no cash at all, this is really about a way to support our buskers,” she said.

It’s a pilot program for now, and there are no plans to roll it out elsewhere, but Ms Cheyne said the technology would be fine-tuned “to ensure it enriches the community and supports the arts”.

“Our goal is to create an active and lively culture of busking in Braddon, where artists can showcase their talents. By supporting buskers, we aim to activate the streets of Braddon and provide a platform for our wonderful and talented artists.”

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Local musician Ava Martina started out in the northern beaches and Manly areas of Sydney but, since coming to Canberra a couple of years ago, has been seeking out a “good kind of pub for busking”.

“Braddon is the perfect place for a busker to be seen and heard,” she said.

“It’s the perfect place to just chill out in a corner and play some music. There is nothing I love more than watching people walk by and just have a smile on their face because you’re playing some music in an unexpected place.”

Scan with your phone and choose a payment amount. Photo: Creswick Collective.

She said having the QR code had been “super good” for business.

“I found at first it was very easy to just put out a hat or scarf … but especially since COVID, I feel like a lot of people have stopped carrying cash. And I could really notice a decline in support.”

The area has previously hosted the Braddon Buskers Festival, organised by the Braddon Collective. This featured 20 buskers, rotating stations along Lonsdale Street right up to Haig Park.

The community was encouraged to purchase special coins to throw in the performers’ hats – the busker with the most at the end of the day received the people’s choice award of $500 (plus a $500 Bentspoke voucher).

The dates and details for 2024’s festival are yet to be confirmed.

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Gregg Heldon8:49 pm 18 Mar 24

I wonder how much this cost the Government to set this system up. A nurses yearly wage? Repairs on 3 or 4 Govvie houses? Repairing some footpaths or cycle paths?
When we, as a jurisdiction, are in so much debt, I want the Government to spend my money a bit more sensibly.

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