While walking around the city of Philadelphia, one thing that is hard to miss is the ubiquity of street musicians performing all around, playing a variety of instruments ranging from guitars, saxophones and makeshift drums made out of paint buckets, pots and pans. Most of the time these musicians will have a instrument case or a bucket set out to accept donations, but after passing the same musicians on the street week after week, I had to wonder if these musicians were making any money. Nick Pehlert, a guitarist from Cherry Hill, New Jersey, started coming to Philadelphia during the week to try and earn some money. So far his efforts have been unsuccessful.
“Most of the time I don’t make much money,” said Pehlert in-between songs. “I usually make enough for the train ride back, maybe a little more.”
He has a cardboard sign that he sets up near his guitar, but it is not asking for money, instead promoting his skills as a guitarist versed in hip-hop and heavy rock, looking for someone to play with. He performs primarily at City Hall, although he also performs on South Street and Walnut Street sometimes at night.
“I have a hot hand right now,” explained Pehlert. “I figured I might as well try and make some money, and maybe find some people to play with in the process.”
By Manuel Agurto and Michele Welk
Group 20, City Hall