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Dalian opens its doors wider to buskers

Updated: 2023-09-18 08:22 ( China Daily )
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A band busks outside a shopping mall in Dalian, Liaoning province. This summer, the city authorities encouraged buskers to offer quality street performances for local residents and tourists.CHINA DAILY

Street artists offered permits to give quality performances.

On a cool summer evening last month, busker Jiang Xinrui crooned with her guitar on one of the most popular beaches in Dalian, Liaoning province.

Passersby attracted by her singing stopped to watch her, waving the torchlights on their phones to the music. As Jiang played, the sun set, a light wind blew and waves lapped gently on the shoreline.

The 25-year-old said she was not the only street performer on the beach, where typically several such artists can be seen each day.

This summer, buskers such as Jiang have been encouraged by the authorities in Dalian to offer quality street performances for local residents and tourists visiting the city, one of China's most popular summer destinations.

At the start of July, the city's culture and tourism bureau launched a project, calling for buskers to perform in public squares, on beaches, in parks and at shopping centers.

Zhang Baoqin, director of the bureau's art department, said although the city boasts numerous buskers, it was the first time the authorities had launched such a project to allow them to perform at certain locations.

"We want to enrich our city's cultural activities by inviting buskers to join in. We hope they can bring vigor and vitality to Dalian," Zhang said.

To receive official permits, buskers must submit video recordings of their work and take part in a talent test.

Zhang said the test is easy. It is aimed at assessing whether the buskers are in good health, and also the quality of their performances.

"Busking for at least one hour requires stamina. We also hope their performances are good enough to attract audiences," Zhang added.

The project quickly received a warm response from buskers in Dalian.

Jiang, who busks on the streets twice a week, applied for a permit, which was quickly approved. In July and last month, she sang and played her guitar at designated locations every weekend, including outside a busy shopping center, on beaches frequented by large numbers of tourists, and in squares that dot the city.

She started busking when she was in high school, drawing inspiration from a band performing on a street. Jiang said she trembled when she gave her first street performance, as she was so nervous.

Now an experienced busker, she places two barcodes in front of her for audiences to scan when she sings on streets. One is for donations, while the other enables people to watch her perform during a livestreaming session.

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