23 Dec 2015

Buskers earn Christmas dollars & a living in the Capital

From Checkpoint, 5:26 pm on 23 December 2015

Christmas buskers are out in force in the capital - some are doing it for fun, some because of hardship and others to finance a never-ending world tour.

Busker Lewis Carroll

Busker Lewis Carroll Photo: RNZ/ Nick Butcher

Whether its scratchy violins, wobbly recorders or singer-songwriter guitar and vocals, there's an audience at every nook.

On the Golden Mile - Lambton Quay, Anna Martin, 12, and Hannah Haywood, 13, were duelling Christmas classics with recorders.

It was their first time out today, and they said their financial plan was simple.

"Making a few dollars - our parents told us to be a bit more independent and get some more of our own money.

"We'll buy clothes and maybe go to the 2-dollar shops."

Further down the road and around the corner, Bob the busker - an older man - was playing to survive.

"I'm not on the dole, so I do this for a living. I used to live at the shelter but now I live in Brooklyn sharing a house with people so I've got to make $100 to pay for my rent."

13-year old MIllie Isac was playing Christmas tunes on the violin and she had made $150 in just two hours.

"The Christmas season is a really good time and I donate 10 percent of my earnings to child cancer charities. With the rest of it I buy Christmas presents for family and friends," she said.

Wandering Minstrel, Irishman Lewis Carroll was in full swing outside Farmers department store, playing Elton John's Your Song.

He grew up in Donegal, started busking in Galway over a decade ago, and has been travelling the world for several years.

The most he has made in a day is 500 euros, but some days he can struggle to make $10, he said.

"This has been my job for years. I spent most of the last two years in Berlin. I would come and go around Europe, play a lot in Denmark, the Czech republic, France and Belgium.

"I'll be in Wellington for at least a month or so, looking for gigs."


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