Scenes of the City: SF Street Musicians

Scenes of the City: SF Street Musicians


For this week's "Scenes of the City" gallery, we photographed SF's street musicians.  Meet some drummers, a crooner and a violinist that call our streets their stage.

Tune in next week for Street Portraits in the Castro District.


All photos + words by Joseph Schell

As night falls on downtown, Andrew plays his full drum set on Market Street in hopes of finding a professional drumming gig. His sign reads, "Seeking Pro Opprotunities!"

At the crossroads of BART and Muni at the Powell Street station, Joe plays his violin for local commuters. For the past three years, Joe has been playing on the street. On a good day (weekends), he said he can make up to $30 to $40 per hour. But most days, after a 7-hour shift, Joe will walk away with $50 to $60.

At the center of the concentric circles at the Powell Street station, the concave ceiling helps the music resonate.

Constantly changing directions to follow the crowd, Joe paces back and forth trying to catch the eyes of the transiting masses. 

Tapping away on two old soy sauce buckets with a couple drum sticks, a young man keeps the beat for the passing crowds on O'Farrell Street.

David said he started singing on the street this past year. For this performance, David had turned the staircase on the southeast corner of Union Square into his own amphitheatre. Standing on a pedestal at the base of the stairs, he told us, "I usually come out for a few hours before I go to work. I just love singing." When asked how much money he makes, David smiles, looks down at his cup stuffed full of bills, and says: "I do well."

Scenes from downtown SF.

A group of David's friends (seated) clap for their friend, helping win over people walking by.

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