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How you can help displaced Pike Place Market buskers

Due to COVID-19, Pike Place Market buskers can no longer play at the market. That's why two buskers set up a fundraiser to help their fellow performers. #k5evening

SEATTLE — You can still shop for groceries or pick up a market box at Pike Place Market, but there is one group absent from the market that's leaving it a lot quieter: the buskers.

They're part of the fabric of market, delighting locals and visitors alike with their performing talent. But after Pike Place Market asked buskers to stay home due to COVID-19, now, many of them find themselves without a place to perform - or make money.

That's why buskers and friends Jeannie Rak and Carly Ann Calbero created the Busker Relief Fund. People can give online, or text BUSKERFUND to 206-800-7879. The money will go to their fellow performers who are struggling to make ends meet after temporarily losing their performance space.

Some might assume that busking only generates coffee money - but that couldn't be farther from the truth.

"I mean, there were times over the last nine years that I made my full living off of busking," Calbero says. "And so when that's just gone...it's pretty startling."

Credit: KING 5
The Busker Relief Fund helps the Pike Place Market buskers during COVID-19.

There is a Pike Place Market program to help market workers, including buskers - but this fundraiser helps the performers further. Rak says while busking at the market is competitive, above all, it's a community.

"People really embrace you," Rak says. "It's very competitive but it cooperative."

In the meantime, Jeannie and Carly are filming performances on Instagram. They hope their music will move people to donate, so the Pike Place Market buskers can busk on.

"There's a sort of dedication and a sort of warmth that comes from being in the market," Rak says. "We miss being that community and hearing the buzz when we walk down the road."

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