Street performing, or busking, for tips is an age-old practice. According to the Busker Street Union, it’s a tradition going back to medieval Europe where local merchants would invite entertainers to their storefronts, plazas and public squares to attract pedestrians and increase business.
As far as I know, nobody invited Tim Burns and Joshua LaChance down to the Old Port today. But, judging by the frequency of smiles and tips, their melodious, Christmasy strains were much appreciated amid the hubbub. The only other regular noises were people yakking on cellphones and cars honking as drivers attempted to negotiate the baffling four-way intersection.