Buskers at Covent Garden
Busking is a part of British culture and has been since the days of the travelling minstrel, a medieval entertainer who travelled from place to place, especially to sing and recite poetry. For every famous pop singer or band you may have heard of, there are thousands of street performers and buskers who ply their art on the streets, and in the pubs, markets and squares of Britain. Covent Garden is just one of these places. This article written by Rex Boyd, charts the history of street performers in Covent Garden. (Reproduced with permission).
The written history of street performers at Covent Garden goes back to the 1600s, but the scene in its current state dates from the late 1970s, when the covered fruit and vegetable market underwent its transformation into a tourist site. As a regularly worked busking pitch, its only rival world-wide would have to be the Pompidou Center in Paris. As an influence on the English speaking world of street performers, I would say that it is in a class of its own. Sure, there are nicer places to work. Sure, there are legendary festivals that we all dream of playing, but Covent Garden is worked by street performers nearly every day of the year. Many of these performers make the majority of their money working nowhere else. And likewise, many of them have been performing at Covent Garden regularly for 10 years or more.