The Big Busk for Focus Ireland, supported by Irish radio station Today FM, is taking place across Ireland this Friday, April 12.

Now in its third year, The Big Busk for Focus Ireland, in partnership with Today FM, aims to raise awareness around the increasing issue of homelessness in Ireland as well as urgent funds for vital homeless services that are needed now more than ever.

Nearly 14,000 people, including more than 4,000 children, are homeless in Ireland, according to official Department of Housing figures released at the end of March.

On Friday, Big Busk events will be held all across Ireland, including at the Marina Market, Cork; Blanchardstown and Liffey Valley Shopping Centres in Dublin; MacDonagh Junction Shopping Centre, Kilkenny; Crescent Shopping Centre, Limerick; and The Canopy in Sligo. 

Organizers are encouraging Ireland's musicians, choirs, community groups, and schools - as well as musicians and performers abroad - to host their own Big Busk events. 

Busker Saibh Skelly getting in tune for The Big Busk for Focus Ireland supported by TodayFM on April 12. (Justin Farrelly)

Busker Saibh Skelly getting in tune for The Big Busk for Focus Ireland supported by TodayFM on April 12. (Justin Farrelly)

The Big Busk on Today FM

Today FM has a full schedule of fun on-air activities planned throughout the day on April 12 to help raise funds for Focus Ireland.

Breakfast show presenter Ian Dempsey will be broadcasting live from Galway at Evergreen Healthfoods, who donated a whopping €28,000 to Focus Ireland in a bid to get Iano and his award-winning breakfast show team down to Galway for a show like no other on Big Busk day.

Dave Moore has recorded a track with all the Today FM presenters that he’s sure will top all the charts! Listeners will have to hit his donation target for it to be released. Dave will also be hosting a very special edition of Music Master, with Erica Coady and Gavin James battling it out to see who has the best music knowledge. Listeners can vote for who they think will win this celebrity Music Master and will be in with a chance to win a pair of Electric Picnic tickets by voting.

Louise Cantillon is inviting a medley of very talented buskers into her studio on Big Busk day to play some of the Super Focused Setlist songs and busk the Today FM playlist. Louise will also perform her very own busk at the end of the show with her orchestra of buskers if she hits her donation target!

Meanwhile, Matt Cooper has been talking to Focus Ireland LEAP ambassadors as part of a documentary series all about their struggles through homelessness which has shown the great work Focus Ireland do for their customers.

And as part of the Today FM Big Busk support activity, radio presenter Ray Foley will be hitting the road across Ireland in his tour bus, visiting some of the host your own buskers.

Super Focused Setlist

This year, The Big Busk sets out to make the event more emotionally impactful than ever before. Focus Ireland and Today FM have released a Super Focused Setlist of 20 songs requested by people who have experienced homelessness, along with contributions from Focus Ireland staff. This unique set of songs shares the highs and lows of life before, during, and after homelessness through the music we all know and love.

Performers participating in the Big Busk on Friday are invited to review the list and include some of the songs, with a dedication to the person who requested it, in their set. A selection of the songs with voice notes from those who submitted the song request will also be broadcast on Today FM.

How to participate in and support The Big Busk

Join a Busking Event: Focus Ireland will be hosting busking events in various locations across Ireland, including Cork, Dublin, Kilkenny, Limerick, and Sligo. Sign up, choose your busking location, and create your own fundraising page to share with your friends and family.

Organize your own Busking Event: Host your own event - whether solo or in a group - in your community or stream your performance online on April 12.

Donate to Focus Ireland: Show your support and donate to help us raise vital funds for children and families experiencing homelessness.

Support a Busker: Know anyone performing? Search for a specific busker and donate directly to their fundraising page to support their amazing fundraising efforts.

Revolut: Donate through your Revolut app, head to the 'Lifestyle' section, tap 'Donate', find Focus Ireland, and donate.

Listen: Today FM will be broadcasting live throughout the day on Friday, April 12 - you can expect interviews, musical performances... and a few surprises!