Finding Territory: This can get pretty competitive, depending on how considerate the other buskers in the area are. For musicians, this is especially important. When setting up, make sure you are out of earshot from all other buskers – and then walk even a little further. This way as people walk between you two, they will hear less of what is likely a gross mix of both of your music. Also, by taking those extra steps, you decrease the chance of the original busker being disturbed by you, in the event that you are louder than him.
Holding Territory: Once you are set up, TURN UP. Don’t be obnoxious, but make your presence known. The problem with not turning up loud enough is that others may knowingly or unknowingly bully you. Consider the following: You are playing your guitar softly. I walk by, wait till I am out of earshot, and then set up and begin playing my saxophone or drums. I will have unknowingly compromised your territory because you will be able to hear me VERY well, and I will think I am out of your earshot. Therefore, turning up is a way of claiming the area around you.
Be Strong: Many times buskers may come up to you and ask when you’re planning on being done. This is fine. However, some will try to pressure you to end sooner. Do not give in to this bullying. Everyone has equal rights to the street. It does not matter if someone has played in a spot every day for the last decade, if you get there first on a Saturday morning, it’s yours until you decide to leave.
When answering the question of “How long will you be here?” unless you have a planned departure, I recommend leaning on the safe side and overestimating rather than underestimating how long you will play. This way, if you start having a really good day/night, you will not have another busker waiting for you to pack up. Once this situation happens, you are being disrespectful to the person you told you would pack up, and should do so.
How Much Do You Make?: This is a common question buskers may ask you. I usually answer vaguely, because (1) it is none of their business, (2) if you make a lot, you may be advertising that you have a lot of cash on you, and (3) there is very little chance that the two of you make the same amount. If the other busker makes a lot less than you, that may be an uncomfortable situation, and if the other busker makes more than you, he or she may be condescending.