Wow. This is a city that sounds like Mecca to every busker I have ever met, I think. Whenever I talk with other buskers they always mention either they have visited Barcelona or they want to go and give it a go.
Barcelona is the most popular city in Spain as far as I’m concerned. It’s swarming with people all year round, tourists walk everywhere and the traffic is enormous. I must say that as a city to visit it has unbelievable charm. The Oldtown (Ciutat Vella) is beautiful and the Barri Gotic district with its narrow streets grasps you in awe. There are tons of attractions here, hostels offer places to sleep as cheap as 7 EUR a night, breakfast included and with its crowds, Barcelona looks like a paradise for buskers. And it used to be until few years ago. Then the authorities decided that the street art in the city has to be regulated (and paid for) and so it is a paradise no more.
To all people who heard it’s not possible to work in Barcelona – it’s not true. It is perfectly legal to work in the city as long as you obey certain rules. They are very strict, but if you really want to try your luck here I can tell you how.
First of all, you should read this thread – http://barcelona.angloinfo.com/forum/viewtopic/5385/0/legal-busking-permits. It covers pretty much everything you need to know how to legally earn your living on the street in Barcelona. In short, forget about legal work in the Oldtown area. It is really strictly regulated, the police are very aggressive and if you try doing anything on La Rambla you will regret it soon enough. Some people try their luck in Barri Gotic, narrow streets are less patrolled by the Police but you also have to be very careful.
Secondly, if you decide to work elsewhere – it’s not a problem. Just be discreet and you shall be fine. Unfortunately, let’s be honest – the money is crap. In comparison to other cities we have visited in Europe, Barcelona gave us one of the lightest hats.
We tried Fire Shows and Soap Bubbles here. Fire shows we tried at small squares in the Diagonal area and bubbles on Plaza Catalunya and Park Guell. The bubbles in the Park were actually pretty decent and money there provided us with a place to sleep. On the other hand, the rest was really, really bad. People were reluctant to pay both attention and money. It was stressful, especially Fire shows, and absolutely not worth it.
So, Barcelona is absolutely worth visiting to see it. It’s stunningly beautiful, with rich culture and interesting places. However, I wouldn’t recommend it work wise. There are other, better, cities with smaller competition and better money. Still, it would be a shame not to visit it, also to see Las Ramblas and experience street arts categorized into segments. ^^