When I visited Asheville, NC, the musicians took turns next to this awesome sculpture. I had a pretty good time that day just wandering about mostly on my own with my camera and taking shots of whatever- buildings & people. There are a couple shots that I really like of people. I haven’t done a lot of street photography per se. I think people are great subjects though. Each individual gives a photo something unique and a moment in their lives is captured. To me, these kind of photos can capture the essence of a person in that moment.
It is a bit uncomfortable, however, to point your camera at a stranger and take their picture. I think it will take a lot of getting used to for me. A lot of people ask whether permission should be asked before taking the picture. I think it would make the moment even more awkward. If they pay you no mind, then I don’t really worry about it. These street performers are likely very used to it. Others however may object. In that case, I guess I would just move on. If they notice me and take an interest in what I am doing, I would certainly show them the picture in the camera and explain that I’m just taking candid, random shots.
I have seen some great photos from photographers that will ask first and then basically have the subjects full attention. While not candid anymore at that point, it is possible to get to know the subject, albeit ever so briefly, and get some really great pictures this way. I think a mix of these approaches probably would yield the best results and variety of shots.