International Blog
Meet a Busker from Brisbane Posted on
Read about Sungmin Kim's experience on the road to becoming a busker in Brisbane!

A lot of people aren’t familiar with the term ‘busking’. Busking is to perform or play music for donations in the streets or in other crowded public areas. Sungmin from South Korea, studying Psychology at ACU’s Brisbane campus, talks about how he received his busking license and what that has meant to him.


I wanted to busk because I always wanted to perform in front of many people. I was in a jazz band in South Korea, but I never did street music. I play the guitar and the piano.  The thought of performing in Brisbane excited me!

In Brisbane, you need a license to perform in certain places, such as Queen Street or King George Square, which are popular locations that attract large crowds. To get my license, I got on the Brisbane City Council website, and filled the application form for the busking audition. Sometime later, I received a letter from the City Council saying that I was selected for the audition.

The audition was in Queen Street from 10am to 12 midday on a Saturday. There were many others who were auditioning that day. Most of them were locals. I thought I would be really calm, but when I went there and when it was time to perform, I got so nervous! I played a couple of standard jazz songs on my guitar and when I was done, I got a big smile from the judges so I knew that I had done well!

Brisbane Queen St Mall

Two weeks later, I received a letter in the mail saying that I had been successful and was given the permit to busk in Brisbane!

My future goal is to be a jazz performer as a pianist and guitarist. I believe that this is my first step to achieve that dream. I did not have much time to busk as much as I would have liked due to the heavy course load that I have had, but that experience opened up many new possibilities. I want to keep improving my skills as a performer and eventually perform at the International Jazz Festival in Brisbane.

One of the first things that I noticed about Brisbane was that Brisbane has music everywhere. I was really impressed with that when I first came here. I think that the buskers create the soundtrack for the city. You can hear all sorts of different instruments like bagpipes, cellos, violins and ukuleles. It is such a multicultural city! There are so many opportunities in Brisbane… so many different options. Who would have thought that busking could be a part time job for an international student!

Sungmin was so kind as to play me one of his favourite songs on the piano, even though he had so many exams and so little time! Thank you, Sung!

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