My first stop along the Rhine route was the beautifull city of Cologne, where I spent 3 days busking, and meeting all kinds of great artists. Yeap Cologne is defintetly a great city for busking, but there is also a lot of competition. And so you need someyhat of an original performance act in order to stand out.
The busking rule in Cologne (and apparently so in quite a few german cities), is that you can start busking every roudn hour for a half hour, which basically means that you can play from 5pm to 5.30pm, but then youneed to wait until 6pm to start playing again. This is kind of a strange rule and it takes some getting used to, from a logistics point of view. Basically during the second half hour you go and find your next busking spot, and because there are so many street musicians in Cologne you must get there early for the good spots.
Good busking spots in Cologne generally are the main waliking and shopping streets like Hohe strasse (but it is very crowded and loud), the platz around the Dom cathedral area (but again without amplification it is a great open space so for unimplified ac ts it can be tough to get heard).
My personnal favourite which worked best for me in the evening was playing on the promenade along the Rhine known as Leypstadel if I remember correctly, because it is quieter, the whole setting is quite beautifull and all in all it seemed better suited to my act.
I met great buskers with great acts in Cologne, especially guys who take down a piano to the streets. First I met Constantin and Jacob, who respectively played the piano and cajon, with a full size acoustic straight piano: Needless to say this makes auite an impression in the streets. On my second day I had the greatest busking and jamming session on the promenade with these two guys. We had an amazing crowd (actually their were so many peoiple who stopped to listen that others couldn't paas by the promenade any more, so they just had to hang out and listen in too!! I was an incredible night, and the audinece participated too, as Constantin would invite people from the audience to come and sing or play songs of their choice.
On my third day I met Marcel form Netherlands, who takes the concept even one step further by üushing a full sized grand piano in the streets!!! Very very impressive of course, and his playing was brillaint too, so all in all ´he did more than ok ;-) pretty damn well actually!!!
This is what I love about this kind of adventure and travel, it's that you meet so many great people, with so many great ideas, sometimes all crazier the one than the other!!!
I like the idea of busking with a piano though, I am going to look into that for sure ;-)
And the next stop: Dusseldorf!