I stopped in a few places in Missouri, but I think I can sum all of them up in one heading. I got to St. Louis on Monday, the 11th. I had discovered St. Louis did away with the need for permits in June of this year, so I wasn’t worried about that. After discovering Cherokee St. encourages and even wants buskers in their area, I went there. I talked to a young man named Arthur or Patrick (I know they aren’t even close, but I know it is one or the other) and he told me it is kinda dead in that area except on weekends. Since it was early Monday afternoon, not much was going on. He told me about the Delmar Loop during our conversation, so I went there. The Delmar Loop is a great area with lots of cool restaurants and shops. It is also near a college campus, so there is always people down there. I encountered a couple of other buskers as well. I found my way down to the other end of “the loop” and set up. As always, I want to make sure I am far enough away from other buskers. Unfortunately, there wasn’t much going on down on that end. After a while, I headed back to the van to wait for one of the better locations. It started to rain a little bit, so I decided to do some other work. Eventually, I got out there, in a prime spot and I was happy to be there. Unfortunately, it didn’t last long. All I will say is, once the sun went down, the air was a little different and it didn’t feel right. When I packed it up to go, I was followed for a little way, until I went back to a more populated area. When I saw they weren’t anywhere around, that is when I went to the van and got the hell out of there. I missed out on meeting a fellow blogger in the St. Louis area, unfortunately. My impatience and the threat of snow, got me out there. Hopefully, next time I pass through St. Louis, we will get to meet up.
I stopped at a truck stop on the way to Rolla, MO, Monday night. I met a trucker at the counter while I watched some football. Damn! I can’t remember his name- I enjoyed our conversation. He was a very interesting person. He was hit in Bosnia by a sniper which left his right hand virtually useless. He had some great stories about his youth and he lit up when he talked of his children, even though they are almost grown. I was a little disappointed when I came back from the laundry room and he had to go to his rig to get some sleep. He gave me a hug and we wished each other well.
I got to Rolla the next day, hoping to have a similar experience like I had in Normal. I didn’t. Busking is not allowed in Rolla, it is against their ordinances there. So I headed to Lebanon. I got there and asked where the downtown area was. I was told there wasn’t a “downtown area” So off I went to Springfield. By the time I got there, it was really cold- even with the sun up. I walked around to look for a location and there wasn’t much in the way of foot traffic anywhere. I moved the van to a garage, because I heard a garage can be a little warmer at night. As I walked from the garage to the coffee shop- a 5 minute walk- I was asked by a sketchy dude if he could use my cell. I said no. I didn’t have enough juice on it anyway. I got to this market which had a bar/restaurant, groceries and a coffee shop all inside, it was a pretty cool place actually. However, another sketchy dude asked if I had a phone charger? WTH people? When I finished doing what I was doing, I went back to the van. On the way back, I didn’t see hardly anyone out walking around, perhaps because it was below 30 degrees. Anyway, I found out the garage was not an all night garage, so I left there. I headed to Branson.
I figured I was this close to Branson, I have to swing through and see that place! I pulled into the downtown area around 12ish. I found a corner to play on it wasn’t really working, so I moved, A man named Patrick (I know that is his name) said I could play in front of his shop. I was happy to hear that, so I did. It was a slow day in Branson, despite the weather. It was a beautiful sunny day. After a conversation, Patrick told me to go to the corner and ask them if I could play there, so I did. This is when I found out I needed a permit. Research I did online didn’t indicate one way or the other. So I went to City Hall, they do not issue permits- period. One can not busk in the downtown area, only at the Landing, which I did read about busking there. City Hall said I needed permission from them though. I went there and asked around as to who to ask. Of course the one woman is out of town for weeks. So I called the second person and left a message. I waited. I called again and left another message. I waited. I called a third time and went to the receptionist- the second person is out of town for the rest of this week, UGH! It was here, I was told about an application and processing that takes a few days. I asked her “So I will NOT be playing at all today?” She said “No”
Missouri, the Show Me State– didn’t really show me anything! Scratch that- the drive through the Ozarks was beautiful!