Innovative campaign to support city buskers

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City buskers Australia-wide have been hit hard by the lack of public audiences. Restrictions and a fear of crowds have sent audiences running and buskers’ livelihoods are suffering.

A new ‘Tip My Hat’ campaign created by City of Melbourne hopes to put some coins into the virtual hats and buckets of buskers, and Melburnians are being urged to throw their support behind the innovative online competition.

Hundreds of Melbourne’s buskers are set to take part in the ‘Tip My Hat’ busking competition being run by the City of Melbourne via Instagram.

Lord mayor Sally Capp said Melbourne’s buskers were among the hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, with the city’s streets falling silent for the first time in decades.

“Melbourne’s buskers are a major part of what makes our city so unique and vibrant,” the lord mayor said.

“More than 1600 buskers and performers take to Melbourne’s streets every year but the lockdown restrictions have prevented people from busking in the city.

“Many of our buskers have continued to showcase their work online during this time and we want to help them reach a wider audience. This online busking competition is an opportunity for everyone to listen and watch their incredible work, and a practical way we can offer support to our buskers to help them get through the pandemic.”

The ‘Tip My Hat’ busking competition will be open to all City of Melbourne buskers with a current permit.

Performances will be uploaded to the City of Melbourne Instagram page, along with their individual funding links to receive donations.

A weekly prize will be awarded to performers with the most votes $300 in cash and entry to the annual Melbourne Music Week busking program.

“Melbourne’s busking scene is one of the best in the world, fostering major acts like Tash Sultana and the Pierce Brothers,” said chair of the arts, culture and heritage portfolio, Councillor Rohan Leppert.

“While performers are unable to take to our streets during COVID-19, it’s important we continue to support our buskers and help encourage new and emerging talent,” he said.

“The ‘Tip My Hat’ busking competition is an opportunity for our buskers to showcase their talents – from pavement artists to musicians and singers. I would encourage all of our buskers and performers to take part and for the wider Melbourne community to show their support and tip buskers’ virtual hats.”

The ‘Tip My Hat’ busking competition will run from Thursday 17 September until Wednesday 18 November 2020.

Learn more about Melbourne’s buskers at

Have you spared a thought for street performers who do not currently qualify for any stimulus payments?

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Written by Leon Della Bosca


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