Music in the streets | The buskers of Port Douglas

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Karlie Brady

Journalist

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Shaun Creek has been playing his didgeridoo and clap sticks at the Port Douglas Markets for 15 years. Image: Karlie Brady.
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It’s hard to walk down Macrossan street or through the local markets without hearing the melody of a street busker sending a happy buzz through the air.

But who are these buskers bringing music to our streets and why are they here? Newsport spoke with a few to find out.

In the middle of the Port Douglas Sunday Market playing a didgeridoo, was Mossman man Shaun Creek who for the last 15 years has been playing in Port Douglas to visitors from all over the world.

“One day I just came to the market and started busking and I felt really good about the people I met and having people appreciating what I do,” he said.

Mr Creek said that as a local KuKu Yalanji man he is able to use his busking as a way to teach visitors about the indigenous culture.

“People from all sorts of life come here and want to know about the local culture and the people which is good.

“It's all about building bridges so that people can get an understanding of our culture and as a local here, a part of the Yalanji nation, I can spread the news about Yalanji people.

Mr Creek plays traditional indigenous instruments such as the didgeridoo and the clap sticks, however, he likes to add a twist.

“I like to beatbox and listen to rock and roll music so I sort of use this and try to collaborate rock and roll music, jazz or hip hop with the instruments, which makes it a bit more interesting for people walking past.

“I always get a good reception here and people are very supportive of my music,” he said.

Further along the path of the Port Douglas market, was Benjamin Eastgate playing his guitar.

Mr Eastgate, originally from Brisbane, has been traveling along the east coast busking for the past three years, the last five months of which have been in Port Douglas.

“I love it here it's really good and I love the markets, they treat me really well. I play in town as well and I go to Kuranda and I also travel around and play gigs,” he said.

Mr Eastgate has been playing his guitar since he was sixteen and said he was attracted to the Port Douglas Markets because of their beautiful location and the tropical atmosphere.

“There is a lot of foot traffic in the market and a lot of variety,” he said.

“I do quite well here, earnings can be between $30 or $40 an hour, sometimes more. I live purely off busking so I don't need to do anything else.”

Mr Eastgate added that he wished the local council were more lenient regarding the rules that buskers need to comply with, particularly regarding the use of amplifiers, which are prohibited.

“I've done okay because the markets like me and they're like my sound but it’s hard when you’re starting out here, you have to be really good or not at all. I have friends who come here and aren’t allowed an amp which makes it hard,” he said.

This sentiment was echoed by Denis Fernando, an Argentinean man busking amongst a group of musicians.

“It's a little bit hard sometimes because the council doesn’t want amplifiers in the street,” he said, “but we can play with acoustic guitars and things like that.”

Mr Fernando has been busking in Port Douglas for four months, both alone and also with other musicians he has met while visiting the town.

The group he was busking with played a variety of music with instruments ranging from Guitars to a trumpet, and Mr Fernando said he really enjoyed playing for the people of Port Douglas.

“People really like the music and we see children dancing and people laughing so it is really fun,” Mr Fernando said.

“We like to make music and make people happy.”


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