The dark side of busking

“I know it’s not most popular and most people, especially people in university, look down upon it,” said Toronto Batman.

After a weekend of cheering crowds across Waterloo’s Uptown in part of the 22nd annual Busker Carnival, Batman revealed the challenges and benefits of working as a street performer.

Batman, who chose not to disclose his real name, is fairly new at the game of busking, only starting in 2006.

He didn’t officially assume his role as Toronto’s Caped Crusader until May 2009.
“I never planned on being a busker… It kind of fell in to my lap,” he explained.

Finding it difficult to work in a typical nine-to-five regimen and preferring to be his own boss in control of his pay cheques, Batman enjoys the freedoms associated with busking.

“I’m not going to lie, I like the easy money,” he said. “I get to do a lot of fun things, I get to see different cities.”

The job itself however is not as simple as it appears, with the many repercussions associated with it.

Regarding negative attitudes he has confronted towards the job, Batman described what he faces, saying, “I see on the internet that people think buskers are stupid and homeless.”

“I think if people thought of me more as just, yeah I realize I’m dressed up as Batman but I’m still a human being, that would go a long way,” he said, adding that more people need to acknowledge that buskers do work for tips and are thrown off track during a performance with any unexpected altercations.

Endorsing his choice of work, Batman noted that street performances are a tradition that has endured the ages.

“Busking is one of the oldest jobs in the world, right up there with drug dealing and prostitution and tax collectors and yet people think that [only] tax collectors are very traditional,” he commented.

Re-defining ideas of what a traditional job is, according to Batman, would allow for busking to be better received.

While typical street performances can result in negative backlash, festivals like the Busker Carnival provide a more welcoming atmosphere.

“I think that it’s a good way to bring in buskers with a decent amount of talent,” said Batman.

“We don’t have to worry about getting kicked out and we’re treated like actual performers as opposed to scum.”

Despite the many predicaments involved with busking, Batman remarked that it was simply the type of job those inclined to do so felt the need to do.

“Most people would agree they wouldn’t want to spend their energy doing anything else,” he said.

Yeah I realize I’m dressed up as
Batman but I’m still a human being.
– Toronto Batman

Check out the photo gallery for this event.