First published on 17 Jan 2012. Updated on 19 Feb 2014.
A few hours wandering around Melbourne’s CBD can see you taking in performances ranging from the ubiquitous Peruvian pan pipe band, the over-confident kid murdering ‘Hallelujah’ and the eccentric puppeteer who doesn’t seem to mind that his beard clashes horribly with his pink taffeta dress. Here are our five current favourites.
George Kamikawa, blues guitarist
Dubbed the Japanese Blues Cowboy, Kamikawa plays mindbendingly awesome blues on his slide guitar and harmonica while belting out crowd pleasers ‘Mojo Working’ and ‘Sake Blues’. His cult following is now Australia-wide.
Where: Bourke Street Mall, where you may be lucky to catch him play with Japanese spunk Noriko Tadano rocking the Shamisen.
Andy Zap, circus performer
Resplendent in fluoro Lycra, Andy is a multi-talented streetie whose theatrical skills impress and deflect attention from what a charmingly, cheeky bastard he is. A dazzlingly array of truly tacky costumes help to ensure that his off the cuff witticisms don’t end with a punch-on but with the audience laughing their guts out.
Where: Federation Square.
Terry Yepits a Busker, piano man
A weather beaten Wertheim and its equally well-worn maestro are the subject of several online photo essays and YouTube uploads. Punters can choose from a formidable request list of tunes, some of which Terry proudly claims are older than him.
Where: Look for the feather-tipped hat to find Terry cheerfully tinkling the ivories in the Bourke Street Mall.
McMillan & Gage, pavement artists
This pair regularly turn footpaths into outdoor art galleries. While skilled at faithfully rendering old masters’ reproductions for the enjoyment and education of pedestrians, recently they’ve been producing their own unbelievable creations on canvas.
Where: In front of the Telstra Shop on Bourke Street, and Southbank Promenade.
Jessica Paige, singer/guitarist
Softly spoken Jessica Paige has been performing on Melbourne’s streets since her teens, braving the evening elements to put on informal gigs. A bagpiper sometimes dressed in an Elmo suit, playing the Star Wars theme, often serves as an opening act.
Where: Cnr Bourke & Swanston Streets.