In 2015, I had this ambitious idea to create an online resource for street performers in Las Vegas. By this time, I had been ticketed and/or arrested several times at this point while performing, and I wanted to help other performers navigate these issues.
When I began street performing in 2009, I had no idea this experience would completely transform my life. Busking gave me the opportunity to elevate my skills as a violinist and performer while paying my way through school. I struggled with depression for many years and playing music for the public seemed to be the only thing that brought peace— it gave me something to look forward to and a reason to go on. Busking also introduced me to activism, as I found that myself and others were under attack from law enforcement at the behest of corporate and political forces. Privatization of public space is the larger issue at play, and one that continues to impact performers, street artists, and street vendors worldwide.
The opportunities I have today would not have been possible without the time spent playing music for complete strangers. My hope is that this site will help current and future Vegas buskers, and possibly inspire a new generation of advocates.
Rallies in Las Vegas, Carson City push for bill to end cash bail
Las Vegas Review-Journal
March 18, 2019
“Before Brandon Summers began street performing in
2011 , the violinist had limited contact with police. He’d never even received a traffic ticket.
But within four years, the Las Vegas native had racked up three misdemeanor citations for obstructing a public sidewalk, landing him in the Clark County Detention Center in 2013 for 12 hours before his parents paid $450 to a bail bondsman. All three cases were dismissed, court records show...”
– Rio Lacanlale
Free Concert at Cave Lake
The Ely Times
Jun 29, 2018
…”[Jason] Bath noted that he remembered a violinist that him and his wife Karri ran into on a Las Vegas strip in 2015 and he began researching different street performers on YouTube and Facebook to find this particular violinist.
After a few hours of research, he found him..his name? Brandon Summers.
Summers has a unique way of blending his electric violin with contemporary, pop and hip-hop music to make an upbeat show that everyone enjoys. His gain in popularity has given him the opportunity to now entertain crowds for the Aria in Las Vegas every weekend.”
Violinist sets the tone for The Park
Las Vegas Magazine
November 11, 2016
…and rather than playing a typical Bach sonata or partita, he’s pumping out Billboard hits, from The Weeknd’s “Can’t Feel My Face” to John Legend’s “All of Me.” That alone sets Summers apart from other street performers on the Strip.
It was a style that immediately caught the attention of Keith Dotson, manager of brand activation and events of The Park and Toshiba Plaza. “(He) saw me street performing across from The Park on a dreary day in April,” says Summers. “He gave me his card and asked me to reach out to him. I sent him a promo video about two weeks later. The rest is history.”
My Testimony at Police Use of Force: The Nevada Community Speaks
August 18, 2019
Free The Violin!
Common Thought Podcast
December 17, 2018
Nevada Interrupted: Substitute teacher and musician out of work amid coronavirus shut downs
The Nevada Independent
April 1, 2020
Brandon Summers says things haven’t changed that much for his social life during the pandemic because as a “naturally introverted” person, staying in his house and communicating mostly with his laptop is nothing new.
What is new is the uncertainty. Summers is a musician and a substitute teacher in the Clark County School District, and with events canceled and schools shut down, both of his sources of income have been cut off.
Pandemic Teacher Shortages Imperil In-Person Schooling
The New York Times
January 19, 2021
In the fall, Brandon Summers, a violinist in Las Vegas, began a semester-long substitute assignment as an orchestra teacher in the Clark County School District, the nation’s fifth-largest school system. Although the students were learning remotely, the district initially required substitute teachers to come into school and teach virtually from classrooms.
Paid $120 per day, Mr. Summers said he took on all of the duties of a regular licensed teacher without benefits like health insurance or paid sick days. He was also expected to quickly learn an array of online attendance and communications tools — all while teaching orchestra virtually to some 210 middle school students.