The Big Busk

July 19 2014
Want to be a part?



July 21 2014

A huge thank-you to everyone that came out last weekend! It was excellent.

You can check our Flickr for photos from the event, and look below for a video of The Greencarts covering Ring of Fire.

If you have a great story from this year, or have any great ideas for next, send us a note!

July 14 2014

The schedule is live! But it could still change, so be sure to check back before you head out on Saturday.

Also, Kelly's Olympian kindly designed the flyer for our afterparty there. Hope you can make it!

July 10 2014

We're putting the schedule together now and will post it at the start of next week.

But in the meantime, you should check out Andromeda Sun, Jonah Luke, and Jamie Iwata. We're fans.

June 26 2014

It's starting to come together! And it looks like we'll have an afterparty at Kelly's Olympian. Details to come soon.

Interested in playing? Let us know.

April 2014

This year's Big Busk will be on July 19th. Want to be a part? Get in touch!

All The Apparatus
AnnaPaul and The Bearded Lady
Brian McGinty
Half Way There
The Non
The Greencarts


The Big Busk is a new music festival for downtown Portland.

These are the ingredients:

The idea is, for an entire afternoon, to saturate downtown with music. All kinds of music. Up and down Broadway, the transit mall, the park blocks to the esplanade.

There is no stage, but every corner is a stage. There is no audience, but everyone is the audience. There is no admission fee, but we trust attendees tip generously.

So it's kind of an experiment. It's also kind of an art project and a tongue-in-cheek celebration of creative defiance. Good music for tough times.

If you'd like to be a part, please send us an email.


To busk is to play music or otherwise entertain people in a public place for tips.

Many musicians get their start by busking, and some famous musicians take to the streets just for fun. When he was young, Beck busked his way around Europe and L.A. Chrissie Hynde of The Pretenders asked The Violent Femmes to open for them after seeing them busking in Milwaukee. Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Simon and Garfunkel, Louis Armstrong, B. B. King, Norah Jones, Billie Holiday, Bon Jovi, Sting and Lou Reed have all played their music on downtown streets. In 2007, Joshua Bell played in the subway of Washington, D.C.

Buskers are a big part of what makes urban areas so fun. They invite us out of our iPods. They help make downtown beautiful.

In short, it's a respectable way to live one's art.

No permits are needed to busk in Portland. You should have no trouble from business owners or the police as long as you abide by the Street Musician Partnership Agreement and the sidewalk obstruction laws.


The Oregonian. "Pitch Perfect" on Neighborhood Notes. Portland Mercury's End Hits blog. PDX Pipeline.

Background image from Brian E. Ford on Flickr.