Busker: A person who entertains in a public place for donations; a wildly talented street performer; a hustler with a routine. Think of the naked cowboy and furry animals in Times Square. Atlanta’s street entertainers have their own style and continue to keep us delighted with music, poetry and sometimes just downright silliness. “Pants on the Ground,” has long been an Atlanta street performer fairy tale, but there are several other low key off the radar talents you should keep an eye out for. While you won’t find their hours or performances listed, if you’re lucky enough to catch one of these staples of Atlanta street spectacles, it may be worth some spare change to keep the local busker scene spinning.
Often seen: All over
Perhaps one of the most well known staples of the Atlanta street scene, Baton Bob can be seen at everything from parades to concerts spreading cheer with hysterical antics and costumes to match. Referred to as the “Ambassador of Mirth,” the flamboyant performer’s sole mission seems to be to get smiles, and so far it looks like his mission is being accomplished.
Often seen: Downtown on Peachtree Street
231 Peachtree Street, Atlanta, GA
One of the main reasons shows like “America’s Got Talent” succeed is because of the surprising sounds and beauty that come from the most unlikely places. Opera Lady, as she is known locally, is the furthest away from the extravagance associated with the belly-bellowing craft, but has a voice that could easily be heard in the Atlanta Opera. Often seen in downtown Atlanta in front of the entrance to Peachtree Center food court, she regularly sings for the downtown workers during lunchtime and has a basket for donations.
Often seen: Outside the Fox Theater
660 Peachtree Street
Northeast Atlanta, GA 30308
If there was a theme in Atlanta buskers, it would be trumpets. With Atlanta’s affinity for jazz, there are several performing around the city, but there are a few that stand out for both their talent and consistency. If you are looking for a taste, check out the guy in downtown on Peachtree Street near the Pittypat Porch, or the wildly talented fellow who usually posts in front of Osteria in the Virginia-Highland neighborhood. One of the most well known is the trumpet player who is a regular outside the Fox Theater on the day of performances in the venue. The free pre and post show horn entertainment usually consists of songs of the artist performing in the theater.
Related: Best Live Music Venues in Atlanta
Often seen: Little 5 Points
Little 5 Points
Atlanta, GA 30307
If you have ever been walking through Little 5 Points and been startled by the question: “Do you like good poetry?” you’ve just met “Poetry Man,” as he is simply known by locals. Give him three random words (and a donation is appreciated), and he makes up a poem on the spot using that language. Always new and always impressive, this street sonnet superstar has been a favorite of locals for years.
Often seen in Buckhead at the Red Door Tavern
3180 Roswell Road
Atlanta, GA 30305
Hours: Monday to Saturday–11 a.m. to 1 a.m.; Sunday–1 p.m. to 11 p.m.
If you’ve ever been to a bar in Buckhead, you know Carlos Guerra. Not a street performer per say, but definitely a local character and one the most visible personalities of the area, nonetheless. He stands in front of the jukeboxes whenever Sinatra is playing and acts like a music conductor. His antics and performances have made ‘ol Blue Eyes one of the most played singers in the area. He can usually be seen conducting the fun of the evening at Red Door Tavern. And depending on the amount of liquid donations usually provided to him throughout the evening, word is he also will start conducting traffic on Peachtree Street.
Where have you seen the best street performances?
Stacy Sheets is native to Atlanta. She is a graduate of the University of Georgia. Stacy is a freelance writer who enjoys keeping abreast on the best Atlanta has to offer. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.