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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Hamline chapter.

The streets of York’s City Centre might be small, but they are never boring. Entertainment lurks around every corner with musicians, stuntmen, and the occasional balloon artist vying for your attention and spare change. 


The most common of the street performers, the street musicians of York, take many forms and perform a range of styles. The familiar guitarist is a staple here just as it is in America. Setting up with an amp, a microphone and the open guitar-case, they will play and sing for passersby both contemporary and classic tunes. Occasionally, one can find a more proper band set-up with a vocalist, guitar player and bassist rocking out to their alternative favorites or drawing a crowd with recognizable favorites. York’s musical talents also include the famed Opera Guy who performs live opera classic as well as operatic takes on iconic singalong songs. Another York icon is the Plummer Drummer, a young man who fashioned drain pipes into a contraption that produces music when hit with flip flops.  This might sound unpleasant to the ears on description alone, but I can assure you the guy knows how to bust out some serious grooves. 

The Plummer Drummer’s instrument. Photo by Kat McCullum 


If music doesn’t strike your fancy, look no farther than the various stuntmen of York. These circus-esque performers range in their acts, none death-defying but within risk of embarrassment. There is a man who performs various tricks on top of a large rubber ball, eliciting mild laughs and abundant grimaces from the audience with his genital themed jokes. Several men perform juggling tricks and other balance feats atop a tall unicycle, more successfully entertaining the crowd with self-deprecating and crude humor. 

Street performer on a tall unicycle catches his hat. Photo by Kat MccCullum

One man performs as an artist of escape, utilizing adult and children audience members in his act. This performer is the most successful due to his remembrance that the children are the most easily amused and entertained, and it is through their enjoyment that you win over the parents and their spare change. 

Street performer bound in chains. Photo by Kat McCullum​

The Others

The rest of the street performers do not fall into such neat and tidy categories as the two groups above. On warm days you can find a balloon artist rather impressive. He has done away with the basics like Dog, Sword and Snake. Instead he crafts balloon Elsas and Annas from Frozen and wearable balloon hats sure to make any wearer feel special. There is also the elusive and rare puppeteer who will manipulate a small puppet from above while likely singing a tune or tapping his own foot along to the beat. In my early days here when summer was still lingering, Parliament Street was flooded on the weekends with groups of dancers and musicians who gave traditional cultural performances while in period costumes. 

I admire all the performers I see throughout the city because they are going out into the world to share their passion and craft. I implore you to always stop and watch, leaving a dollar or pound or two when you are able. The five minutes and small change you spare will mean the world to the artist.

Kat McCullum

Hamline '21

English major with Creative Writing tendencies
Skyler Kane

Hamline '20

Creative Writing Major, Campus Coordinator for Her Campus, and former Editor and Chief for Fulcrum Journal at Hamline University