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Old 04-26-15, 02:18 PM   #4
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Default Tenerife & busking

Hey there,

Recently I visited Tenerife to spend cold European winter here. After living and surviving for 5 months here it is what I can share:

Tenerife is divided into municipios and every one of them has a different busking policy. Officially you need to apply for a permit to work in any city, however it is virtually impossible to get one.

There are two main tourist areas on the island - South (with cities of Los Cristianos, Las Americas and Costa Adeje) and North (Puerto de la Cruz).

As for the North, busking there is not officially legal but it is widely tolerated. If you don't stay in one place and don't cause too big commotion. There is quite a big bunch of musicians and statues in main walking areas and the competition may be troublesome. Making a circle show is possible but people don't pay much, they prefer to treat you as free entertainment. If possible, you can try working in front of terraces, where people sit having a beer and dinner, but not every restaurant is street performer friendly. Asking is a must. Me and my partner tried making fire shows, soap bubbles and juggling routines and the last one worked the best. Police are not happy of fireshows as they are 'too dangerous' or soap bubbles - too slippery. Making short (10 min) shows with juggling and diabolo was our best shot. Still, you won't get into much trouble if you get caught, Policia Local are usually friendly if you speak at least a bit of Spanish.

Different story is with the South of Tenerife. Here only sand sculptors and portrait painters can work on the street. Police are usually rude and they threat that they will take away busking equipment. However, it is possible to work either if you start after 6pm, when the number of police patrols drops or by "guerilla shows" - short show in front of the terrace and change of place. It is important to learn to pack in few seconds so you will look like an ordinary tourist. Usually, there are a lot of Nigerians in walking areas selling sunglasses and other kind of junk. You can easily tell by their presence if it is possible to work. No Nigerians means the police patrol will come in no time. (They call each other all over the coast so they know exactly when and where are all the policemen).

Unfortunately, working here is stressful and the salary is way below average. People don't want to pay too much, the amount of busker-friendly terraces is not big and you have to be constantly cautious. What is more, you have to be ready to commute among these places so having a car/scooter is quite helpful. On the other hand we were able to afford a flat, renting a car and still we were able to have some sightseeing and fun.

Hope this is sufficient for anyone planning to visit Tenerife for work and travel.


Oh, btw, the capitol is Santa Cruz de Tenerife and they indeed have a big carnival there in February. Forget about it - thousands of drunk people. Working is dangerous and people don't pay at all. My musician friend in one hour earned there 1 Euro. The contact juggling/side show duo earned maybe 3 - 5 per 20 minutes show and people were walking across the line marking the stage like there was none. O_o

Last edited by StrawberryMousse; 04-26-15 at 02:27 PM.
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