Street Musicians Definitely Contribute to the Beautiful Life

DSCN0038, originally uploaded by Prince of Petworth.

This guy was fantastic. I know it is not a very lucrative gig but I wonder why we don’t see more street musicians around town? I think I’ve only maybe seen 5 or 6 in over ten years living in DC. Are there ordinances that forbid street musicians or is it another reason or am I blind and just haven’t spotted many?

15 Comment

  • You’re blind as an f’ing bat!

  • Try Union Station; the tenor sax guy does a great Ornette Coleman routine. I’ve seen him elsewhere, & I haven’t worked down by Union Station in over a year, so I hope he’s still around… Although I do miss the dude that would camp out by the 1st street exit of the station, dancing to AM radio static on his boombox. Man, he was the awesomenessest.

  • If you can find a good street musician in DC you’re in luck. I remember the electric guitarist in Woodley Park who would play only the introduction to Jim Croche’s “Time in a Bottle” ad nauseum. We’d sit outside at the Indian restaurant and hear the same sickly 4 bars repeated for 45 minutes.

  • Well…it isn’t exactly DC, ok it isn’t at all, but the Rosslyn Metro stop has (or at least used to have) some of the best musicians during rush hour. I used to metro there every day last year and there was this awesome group that played at the top of the escalator outside the metro. You could hear them all the way down the escalators and its a long one! They played what I always called in my head “Rainforest Music” ..the group had wood pipes and was very lively. There was also a guy who played the saw to some background music on a CD player he had and one time there was a young guy with the most beautiful voice ever singing opera like songs at the bottom of the escalators. Other than those guys I haven’t really seen street performers out and about in DC so I must be blind as well 🙁

  • I had a sax player blowing outside my office window for the first few hours of my work day this morning, and it was wonderful. There is also a banjo player who hits the morning rush at Farragut North, Conn & K St exit, who always gets a buck or two from me – very talented.

    Metro recently began a process for allowing musicians to audition and get approved to play in stations. Hopefully this will drive support and opportunity for more musicians to get into the street gig – you are right, they do contribute to the beautiful life.

  • a little off subject (maybe), but does anyone in petworth play an instrument and have any want to get together for a…dare i say it..jam session? we have a tromboner and a violist at my place, both horribly out of practice, but i heard there was a saxist around the corner, and who knows what else is lurking…we could get a petworth band together!!!

  • …and i seriously miss the paint-bucket go-go drummers, who used to be everywhere in the ’80s. Saw one guy bangin’ a fierce beat outside the south escalators at the Dupont Circle station, a while back. It was essence o’ sweetness.

  • The large brass band that has frequented Dupont, though I haven’t seen them in a while, rocked.

    You can still catch the paint-bucket percussionists around Verizon Center, on occasion.

  • I definitely feel like street musicians have been on the rise in the last year or two. Generally a good thing, though a saxaphonist (I think – I remember the tune rather than the instrument) got the Sesame Street theme stuck in my head one day at Woodley Park. That was a very long day.

  • I think you’re a bit blind. I’ve been living here half the time you have and have probably seen 10 times more street performers. There are definitely less in DC than in other cities, but there are plenty in Dupont, Georgetown, on the Mall (plenty of those paint bucket drum guys!), outside of random metro stops, sometimes I see them on U Street too.

    I wish metro would allow them inside of stations, there’s something so lovely about cities where you unexpectedly run into a fabulous street performer, playing one of your favorite songs, while you’re getting where you need to go.

  • Used to be on Friday morns a be-kilted bagpipe player (“piper” or “baggist”) would perform outside McPherson Square metro on Vermont Ave. His music was so disliked by the resident homeless in the entrance that they would clear completely out.

    Another time a policeman was walking around playing bagpipes in McPherson Square park – once again, the homeless fled. Even the ducks that live there left. I asked him if he noticed his effect on the group and he tried to conceal his grin.

  • On that note, does anyone know where I can get a set of used bagpipes???? I have no idea how to play, but I bet the guys that hangout on my street corner would love to listen to me learn….

  • There’s a trumpet player in the Bethesda metro every morning, who plays along with a tape of sorts. I chuckle every time I’m going down the escalator and he plays “The Girl from Impanema”. There’s also a percussionist that has taken up residence at the Barnes & Noble in Bethesda. He’s really good, but when I’m trying to relax in the backyard at night and the drumming comes floating over the treetops…I’m not such a fan.

  • I was in Georgetown on Saturday 9.5.2009 at lunchtime. There were two street musicians right in from of barney’s of new york. they played violin and guitar. they told me to go to to track down an upcoming release of a dvd. I can’t find anything in the internet. Can anyone one help me track these guys down? They are great musicians and i would like to buy a dvd when available plus to support their careers.

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