“Least Favorite Busker” category is just plain mean

How does setting a street performer up for a slam benefit community happiness? I think your inclusion of the category "Least Favorite Busker" [in “Best of WNC, Round Two,” Oct. 20]  was mean, petty and extremely small-minded.

To do what the buskers do requires courage and nerve. To invite others to slam them requires nothing. However, it shows us all a lot about the entity that put out the invitation.

— Elizabeth Semple
Hot Springs

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28 thoughts on ““Least Favorite Busker” category is just plain mean

  1. shadmarsh

    You obviously haven’t spent much time on the streets of Asheville, as some of them are just plain awful.

  2. cwaster

    Have to agree. Some of them are painful to the ears. Of course, I always have the right to walk away…

  3. brebro

    Plus, technically, if there was no chance of any negative reaction, then you could not very well purport that what they do takes courage and nerve, could you?

  4. Dionysis

    It is a reasonable question to pose: if one has no talent, then it does take “courage and nerve” to ‘perform’ in public. It also takes some maturity to deal with reality when it comes calling.

    And all it says about the “entity that put out the invitation” is that it calls it as it is.

  5. who

    Banjos, violins, folksy guitars, and accordians: why don’t I see any of that? Wouldn’t that be novel?

  6. If you are trapping inside a store and have to listen to 2 hours of harmonica, then you would be voting for this category too.

    That being said, we saw some great street musicians this past weekend.

  7. BigAl

    I vote for a new trapping season on goths and dreadlocks. I could use a new mop-head.

    Maybe he meant to say he was TRIPPING inside a store. Psychodelics might improve the harmonics. (Or harmonicas..)

  8. Everybody that puts something of themselves out into the public purview has to be ready for whatever the public has to say about it.
    Asheville is no exception—for every busker or band that comes along and says, “Stop what you are doing and listen to me, I have something worthwhile to say”, there is going to be at least one person who says, “Uh, not in my opinion you don’t.”
    It’s just part of the job. If your skin isn’t thick enough, maybe you should try something else.
    For the longest time the media in Asheville operated in the mindset that if you didn’t have something nice to say about a performance, you said nothing. It has taken a long time for the maturation process to take hold, and while we still see standing ovations as a matter of course instead of for something truly extraordinary, true criticism does, and should, exist in Asheville.

  9. BigAl

    I frankly think most busking is an irritating distraction from my enjoyment of downtown. Too many young people with a guitar think that they are the next Woody Guthrie (gag) and come to Asheville to join in the beer and marijuana-fueled freakfest that the bumper stickers promise, only to find a high cost of living, no jobs and no housing. They add to the already swollen ranks of entitled, self-important artists, or worse, to the homeless.

  10. Rob Close

    Q: “How does setting a street performer up for a slam benefit community happiness?”

    A: The bad ones will be told this en-masse, and will know to practice more before annoying the general public.

    As a busker, I feel this category is fair. It does annoy me when people with no talents take up good spaces…then the talented people can’t shine.

  11. As a busker, I feel this category is fair. It does annoy me when people with no talents take up good spaces…then the talented people can’t shine.

    Like I said, I have seen some great buskers… more and more lately. Unfortunately for me, the talented ones stay up the hill near Pritchard Park/Grove Arcade/Haywood St., which is where the money is. I’m out of luck on Lexington Ave.

  12. Ken Hanke

    come to Asheville to join in the beer and marijuana-fueled freakfest that the bumper stickers promise, only to find a high cost of living, no jobs and no housing. They add to the already swollen ranks of entitled, self-important artists, or worse, to the homeless.

    Bitter much?

  13. Piffy!

    [b]Bitter much? [/b]

    I suspect he feels his hustle has been infringed upon.

    There is only so much room for the self-important homeless artists. After a while, they begin infighting.

  14. mule

    Busking is pretty much the only indigenous musical expression left; we should be encouraging it….as opposed to whining like a bunch of besotted little delicate eared bitches.

  15. The market place is honest. Don’t take rejection personally, move on.

    An artisan puts their wares on the table for the public to view and buy…if they don’t buy, that is a sign the work is not sellable….same with musicians…you put your music out for the public to either admire or reject. Reality is not a place for coddling…either you’ve got “it”, or you don’t.

  16. dpewen

    I enjoy all the music and entertainment downtown … if I didn’t I wouldn’t go!
    Bug Al, avoid downtown if you do not like it.
    I am a big Woodie Guthrie fan by the way.

  17. Puzzled

    Call me oversensitive, but…

    We all like different stuff, right? Who’s to say who has talent and who doesn’t? Or if they don’t have real “talent,” that doesn’t mean someone in the world won’t like it anyway.

    Further, if you don’t like something, what is the point of verbalizing it? Unless you want to initiate a real discussion with someone, it just doesn’t make sense. Highly illogical. It’s almost as though people want to be obnoxious to get attention.

    In the case of the buskers, how difficult is it to simply walk right by them if it is not your taste?

    I do agree that the “worst busker” category is stupid. People are arguing that buskers (and other musicians) should know that they are going to be up for criticism. Same with anything else you do. But what’s the point of the criticism if it is just not your taste? Seems pointless to me.

  18. Piffy!

    [b]Further, if you don’t like something, what is the point of verbalizing it?[/b]

    Well, you don’t like the criticism, and yet here you are being vocal about how you dislike it.

    Highly illogical.

  19. ashevillain7

    I have to say after watching/listening to nearly every single “Busk Break” there are many more awful buskers than there are talented ones. I think there’s only so much that can be accomplished with an acoustic guitar. Much of it I would liken to auditory graffiti.

    A few that are good (IMO): Lyric, Blind Boy Chocolate & the Milk Sheiks and Sparrow.

    The bassist for Lyric also plays solo outside Greenlife (or at least he used to). That dude has tons of funky bass lines and every once in awhile he’ll work in something unexpected like Nirvana’s Come As You Are.

    Also, Adama Dembele (from Afromotive) has been rocking the djembe at Earth Fare recently.

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