Busking in Lisbon – The ultimate guide for artists 2020

Busking in most of European countries is a tradition, musicians, graphic artists, painters, performers and many other artists are able to make their living or just earn extra money by performing. Busking is trending in Lisbon, attracting audience and artists from all over the globe.

Here goes the main things you need to know about busking in Lisbon 2020:

10. Respect other buskers.

First and most important tip for buskers – no matter where – is to respect the others. Always ask how long are they gonna take to finish and show them you would like to play after them. Be nice and talk about playing 1 hour a set.

9. Don’t play extremely loud.

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?: @anneknav Mil gracias bonica ?

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You can play with some volume, but not too much. First of all, it’s not fair to bother neighbours and other buskers in the area. Many artists in Lisbon make their living earning money from the streets, if you are just looking for fun or something temporary, mind that when you leave the city, someone will be blamed for your faults. For a resident, it may take a long time to get neighbour’s empathy. Don’t mess with it.

8. Bands don’t have more rights than individual artists.

Raphael Racor Busking in Lisbon 2020 - Do IN lisbon
Sadik Afonso, Raphael Racor e Mariana Barros busking in Lisbon 2020 – Do in Lisbon.

If you have a band or a dance group with 5 people, it doesn’t give you the right to occupy the spot more than an individual artists. The regular conduct for busking in Lisbon is to perform in 1 hour each artist, so if you are 5, don’t try to be smart and stay for 5 hours.

7. Speak English while busking in Lisbon.

Raphael Racor busking in Lisbon 2020 – “Deixar Viver” – Restaurante Conqvistador – Do in Lisbon.

Most of the audience in Lisbon streets are tourists, even if you speak fluent Portuguese most of the audience are not gonna understand. Tell them about your project, what is your next step in your career and goals with their money.

6. Have a purpose.

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Cabral. Sketchers

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Performing in not enough, let people know about you, remember, you are slightly asking for their money, don’t pretend you’re not, everyone know you are and they want to give you their money, convince them!

Tell about your career, what brought you to perform on the street, when your next release will be published, etc. Let them know information about your tracks, songwriters, etc.

5. Let people know who you are.

Don’t perform without a banner or blackboard with your social networks. You are in 2020! People want to know more about you and you can raise a huge audience on the web busking in Lisbon. People from all over the planet will follow you in this city.

4. Try to negotiate with local business.

Playing in a restaurant terrace can be very profitable, but you should always politely ask people if you can play at their terrace. It’s a good thing for you and for them, you’ll get their nice ambience and they will get clients from you (if you are good enough and have repertoire for a whole dinner). If you did a good, they usually offer you a beer at the end of your performance.

3. Don’t be misplaced.

If you play heavy metal with a band, you shouldn’t look for cozy terraces in a neighbourhood. That’s quite obvious but still there are many “artists” busking in Lisbon doing it very wrong. If you need a lot of noise, don’t play in residence quarters. If you busk doing magic tricks, don’t perform in a restaurant, you’ll probably bother people.

2. Busking in Lisbon is not so easy.

Lisbon is very seasonable, “Summer time, the living is easy”, but also crowded, many people all over Europe come to Lisbon to profit with art, a nice spot to perform is hotly disputed. There are also other street musicians who thinks they own the city. Lots of patience required here.

During the winter the number of tourists decreases expressively and local people barely spend money with street art, busking in Lisbon is not a tradition. Anyways it’s still possible to make some money, much less but you might have enough.

1. Busking in Lisbon is illegal.

Busking in Lisbon 2020 is Ilegal - DO in Lisbon - Arts in Lisbon
Seizure act – Busking in Lisbon – Do in Lisbon

Yes, you read that right. Busking in Lisbon is a crime! Sounds impossible but it is. To busk in the capital of Portugal it’s mandatory to have a special permit issued by the local council. If you get caught, the police seize your equipment and apply you a fine of minimum 150 Euros.

For further details of how to get a license and other issues, read the following article:

Overall, busking is funny but takes courage!

Enjoy and respect Lisbon!

Raphael Racor

Raphael Racor is Musician | Lisbon based | Songwriter | Busker | Human person. Socials: @raphaelracor

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