By Meg Kennedy
A local musician has been granted a spot in a busker’s paradise – Bourke Street Mall.
Ballan resident Leon Conway was bestowed with the coveted busker’s permit late last year, which allows the musician to take his ‘Golden Era of Melbourne’-inspired tunes to the heart of the city.
Mr Conway is a member of local band ‘The Drongo and the Crow’ and has been busking for “a couple of years now”, completing a rigorous audition process for a Bourke Street permit that was years in the making.
The final step was a live audition – not unlike ‘The X Factor’ or ‘Australian Idol’ – to finally receive a busking permit from Melbourne City Council.
“It was just like in Flashdance,” joked Mr Conway.
“There was a big room with a long table with judges sitting there saying ‘Mr Conway, you’ve got eight minutes, show us what you’ve got’,” he said.
The busy enclave of Bourke Street Mall is a “different vibe” to his usual busking sites in the Ballan, Bacchus Marsh and western suburbs areas, which Mr Conway said has been a “learning experience” to draw an audience.
“My job is to grab people and hold them steady…and I’m honing, I suppose, my act and craft…[and] how I arrange my physical space,” he said.
But Mr Conway hasn’t had to figure things out alone, saying other buskers have been “very, very helpful with things.”
“They’re amazing, and giving and generous,” he said.
Mr Conway said he is aiming to “develop a musical act for all of Melbourne.”
“With my busking I’ve found some opportunities to work in pre-schools and assisted care facilities, so busking like that is a good way to meet people, or reach out to people, and get in other work,” he said.
Leon Conway can be found performing at various sites around Bourke Street Mall throughout the 2019 year.
Leon’s band ‘The Drongo and the Crow’ can be found on Facebook, and their CD is available to purchase online at https://drongoandcrow.bandcamp.com/releases.