The Acland Street buskers

St Kilda has long had the reputation of being the epitome of inner city living and beach life with an enviable bustling main street. When you step out onto the Acland street, it’s not hard to understand why. The rollercoaster at Luna park, its iconic big mouth entry, the trams slowly shuttling people in and out, and the smell of coffee and good food that entices you into cafés and bars.

But it’s what glues these elements together that can sometimes be overlooked. The street sound. Buskers work hard to entertain, create atmosphere, and make you feel like a part of the St Kilda community. And this is how.

They entertain

They belt out your favourite tunes, classic beats, and good time oldies. Whether they add their own twist, stick to the original, or create a mix up, their job is to entertain you while you and your friends enjoy the afternoon on one of Melbourne’s most iconic streets. Tap your feet, clap along, and forget where you are for a moment – that’s why buskers are a part of the St Kilda community. So soak up the free entertainment they’re creating for you.

They create a sense of community

Have you ever wished you belonged to something bigger? I think we all have. St Kilda has a strong community feel. Whether it’s the familiar faces, the ‘Veg Out’ community gardens, or its friendly venders – people gravitate to Acland street because they feel like they’re welcome. Buskers contribute to this sense of community and often they’re locals too. They’re happy to chat in their breaks, take requests, and make you feel at home in St Kilda. Even if you’re not from Melbourne.

They’re advocates for music and art

When you think about music and art, what comes to mind? The Mona Lisa? Jazz? Sometimes it’s easy to forget that artists aren’t always celebrated, famous, or even paid for their work. Busking is not a nine to five job, music is a labour of love. Yes, they busk to make money, but they also busk because they love making music.

Like Oscar Wilde once said, “Music is the art which is most nigh to tears and memory.” It has an emotional reaction and that’s why cultivating a space where music and art is widely appreciated is important. The buskers on Acland street help to create such a space for its visitors.

They create atmosphere

Acland street is the guts of St Kilda. Enjoy a drink, a bite to eat and sit back and relax. Take in the atmosphere that the area creates, from the beach to the bar. Buskers add to the feel on the street. Their job? To help you make new memories with your family and friends whether you’re on holidays or a local.

“Buskers add vibrancy, colour and movement to the street,” says Hugh Canning from Veg Out. He also believes that they make Acland Street a more enjoyable place. “Everyone wants to stop and have a look. It adds to our culture.”

They work hard to bring people to the area

It’s not as simple as rolling out their instruments or equipment. Buskers in Melbourne require a permit that they need to renew every year. The permit allows them to busk for thirty-minutes then they must have a ten-minute break. So what’s the maximum time they can spend in one place? 2 hours. Sounds strict? Well, that’s the rules and they work hard to play by them.

This rule keeps the entertainment varied and if you’re spending the day in one location, you can guarantee you’ll have different performers throughout the day.


As the crowd rolls in and off the tram and the sun beats down, the distant sound of music draws people onto Acland Street. You may walk by them, you may stop and tap your feet, or you might pass them some change. But do remember, the buskers on Acland street are a part of the community in St Kilda, and they bring Acland street to life.