Performing arts is on the rise, Invest Invest Invest.

2020 was arguably the worst year on record to be a live performer. We did what we could, practised our skills and threw together low budget online events. But we couldn’t do the one thing that makes up so much of who we are. 2021 got off to a slow start, but now there are options available again, even if they are a little limited. The street, however, is bustling, and I feel like the next year will be the most incredible year ever to be a live performer. We have everything we need to make the most of this opportunity (except practice, maybe).
A few weeks back now, I have noticed a considerable shift in how the public responds to the old street show. Usually, I have to go out there and ask people to stop and watch, to build a crowd from nothing and work hard to lower people’s guards to the point that they can truly enjoy themselves during this bizarre experience. That’s been my job for years now. Almost every show I’ve ever done hasn’t begun until those first few minutes have passed, and the ice I’ve broken the ice. In this crazy world, though, when everyone has been starved of life and love and entertainment for so long, my life has got a whole lot easier. My job now is to put on some music… That’s it. I’m not standing on my case, asking people to stop and watch. I’m not being clever or charming in an attempt to get people to give me half an hour of their day. I play my show music and do a little soundcheck, and almost the whole street has stopped to watch. If I ask them to make a little noise, they roar; if I tell a little joke, they split at the seams with laughter. The whole show is smooth and enjoyable for everyone. At the end of a street show, it’s pretty standard for most people to come forward and say “good job” and throw a bit of cash in the hat or touch their card.
Have you ever met somebody for the first time, and everything you said and did just felt right? There was no resistance, nothing getting in the way of you having a good time. These moments, this little bit of peace in a world that offers so much adversity, offer us the opportunity to let ourselves say, be and do whatever we want. It very often allows us to be the best version of ourselves. When we don’t feel like we’re being judged or prone to criticism, we can express ourselves properly and clearly, and everything feels so much simpler than it was before. We usually feel this way when we meet a new life-long friend or lover for the first time. With drugs and alcohol, we can simulate this feeling. Still, we wake up in the morning, paying for our lies with cracking hangovers and regret. It’s when we open our eyes the next day and feel good about ourselves and our choices that we know it was the real deal. That is how I can best describe performing at the moment. I’m facing no resistance what-so-ever at the moment. People want to watch a show. I don’t have to convince anyone of my worth. At the end of the show, people aren’t just coming up and saying “good job”. They’re saying “thank you”, showing genuine appreciation.
Sometimes it’s tough out there. Sometimes it takes a lot of energy to get a small group together to watch a show. For whatever reason, street performing is of little interest to the world. After an extended period like this, I get worn down, lose confidence, struggle with motivation and doubt my value. It’s hard to get through these times, but they are always temporary, and I’ve been through so many that I’ve lost count. I know that this glorious time is going to be finite as well. Soon the streets will be overwhelmingly busy, and the world will grow tired of the abundance of entertainment once again. Until then, though, I will be pushing myself to delve into this artistic utopia as often and deeply as I can. I encourage all performers – even those that have never worked on the street before – to do the same. There’s never been a better time to be a performer, not in all the years I’ve been one. We deserve it after the last year of our lives.

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