Concerted efforts are underway to ensure Braddon does not lose its soul amid a construction boom that has transformed the inner-city suburb, making it less light industrial and more light entertainment.
More than 30 performers will take to Lonsdale, Mort and Elouera Streets as part of the Braddon Busking Festival on Sunday, singing, strumming and even dancing their hearts out.
Three age categories will compete across the day. There will be a team of three roaming judges and members of the public will be encouraged to buy tokens from shops along the strip to vote in the buskers' open hats, caps and guitar cases.
Musician Georgie Logus, who performs as Gamma Blue, said Canberra had a good busking scene but needed more. "The whole music scene in Canberra needs a good pump," she said.
She said busking was raw and honest and required performers to put their egos behind them.
"Busking is a really kind of good, humble way of sharing music. And people come by and if someone stops and if you get a crowd, that's a better feeling than, you know, supporting a big act, because the crowd is already there. You pull them yourself and if they're stopping, everyone's in a good mode and they're enjoying it," she said.
Ms Logus, who has been performing since she was five, said music kept the blood pumping. "At the end of the day, it doesn't matter, if you get up there and you're enjoying it and having fun, you haven't lost your soul," she said.
It was a sentiment shared by another busker, Lisa Maps, who said she returned to music and performing as she approached the age of 30 and had "a bit of a quarter-life crisis".
"In busking, you really have to kind of claim your space, I suppose. There's this whole extra skill set in getting people to stop," she said.
"There's not a stage, there's only a performance space because you've decided to set yourself up there. So you have to work a little bit harder to get people's attention to start with."
All the buskers on Sunday will be trying to get that attention, and the winner of the competition will head to the national busking finals in Cooma in November.
The festival will be the first event organised by the Braddon Collective, which was established in March to keep the streets of Braddon active and vibrant.
Nick Seefried, a volunteer co-ordinator with the group, said the group was open everyone who lived, worked and played in the suburb, and its aims were a bit different to usual residents' groups.
"It's so we can hold onto the small-street artsy centre with all the buildings going up," he said.
With support from the City Renewal Authority, which provided a $10,000 grant towards the busking festival, the Braddon Collective has been largely left to its own devices, Mr Seefried said, in order to create something for the ground up.
- Braddon Busking Festival from 11am along Lonsdale, Mort and Elouera Streets. Finals from 4pm.