Culture and heritage

Stars on our streets: meet Melbourne’s remarkable buskers

A person playing the keyboard in front of a crowd.

Melbourne’s reputation as a creative city is epitomised by its vibrant community of musicians, jugglers, puppeteers, visual artists and more, who make the streets their stage.

Welsh pianist Gareth Wiecko studied music at Cardiff University before travelling the world, recording his first album in Byron Bay and finally settling in Melbourne where he busks for a living.

‘Busking in Melbourne has been a completely affirming experience. You never know who you’ll meet and every day is completely different to the next,’ Gareth said.

‘I’ve had visual artists sketch me as I play, flash mobs of people dancing and impromptu duets with incredible musicians.

‘I’ve also had grieving members of the public who say that my music has helped them in some way.

‘All of these connections I would never have dreamed of having if it wasn’t for my music.’

For some musicians, busking is a stepping stone to stardom, with popular acts like the Pierce Brothers and Tash Sultana achieving international success. Gareth hopes to follow in their footsteps.

‘I’ve just completed a Bachelor of Production and Composition,’ Gareth said.

‘My dream is to compose for film makers, game designers, contemporary dancers and other creators.

‘Melbourne is the perfect place to work because it’s full of artists. However, I don’t think I’m quite ready to step away from busking completely just yet.’

The buskers of Melbourne recently united for a special fundraiser to support the victims of the Bourke Street tragedy.

Gareth encourages anyone looking to share their art with the world to apply for a busking permit and join the close-knit community of artists.

‘Do it for the love, share your art and your experience with the world. Allow people to connect with you and what you do,’ Gareth said.

‘Busking in Melbourne has been a completely affirming experience. You never know who you’ll meet and every day is completely different to the next.’

‘Some days may be hard, the weather may be rough, and you may question your art.

‘But always remember that you’re making somebody else’s day better through what you do.’

The City of Melbourne’s Busking Guidelines aim to encourage diverse artists to showcase their craft while considering the needs of buskers, workers, locals and visitors alike.

For more information, visit busking.

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