Who was the bright spark in the Tamworth City Council who moved the goal post to allow nearly every busker in the Tamworth Country Music Festival to have a PA system which churns out backing tracks? Since when did Peel Street become Karaoke Avenue?
No seriously… Singing with a black box churning out backing tracks is NOT busking. It’s Karaoke! The whole idea of busking is for entertainers to stand out amidst the din of the street and attract the attention of passers by.
How the bloody hell can one do that when there is a PA system literally every ten feet? You’d think if all one has to do is stand on the street and sing that they’d be something bloody special to be able to stop people and make them part with their money. But nope.
Peel Street sounded like one very bad LSD trip and I couldn’t wait to squeeze into a hot sweaty crowded pub with a real live band for some peace and quiet.
Now I have read comments and had arguments with people over this issue but I’m standing firm.
Some singers say they can’t play an instrument and therefore “they have to use a backing track”. Really? Well maybe if these singers would tear themselves away from their I-Bands and join a real band with musicians, they could actually get some gigs or at the very least may be able to put together a duo to perform live on the street.
Then there are those who do play an instrument and say “My guitar playing isn’t confident enough to busk”. Well then, DON’T BUSK! It’s as simple as that really! Spend some time practising instead of listening to your family saying you can be whatever you want to be and telling you how good you are. You’re shit unless you practice. That’s life! If all else fails find someone who is competent and is able to accompany you.
Singing to backing tracks is bad for a singer. It has its uses but only to a point. At some stage every singer who is serious about performing outside of their bedroom will come in contact with other musicians. Maybe a full band, a church organist, a couple of dudes playing acoustic guitars, they will eventually work with other musicians. They cannot spend their whole life singing to a black box. But the longer they are tied to the I-Band umbilical the more unbearable they are going to be for musicians to work with.
So back to Tamworth. Gone are the days when you could walk down Peel Street and be impressed by raw talent of street entertainers playing warts and all and doing their best to get your attention. Now, Peel Street is a din of MIDI laden backing tracks with singers standing rigid and competing with the next singer 10 feet away who is doing the same thing.
So… If you’re thinking about busking in Tamworth next year, you had better keep it live and un-amplified. Doesn’t matter how old you are. Yes even you, the cute little 9 year old NO BACKING TRACKS or you will be heckled until you cry.