Our first time ever busking in a competition, was around 1999. A nearby town was having a busking competition,which we only heard about on the day, so with no practise or set list we and we arrived an hour late for registration, we were allowed to play, and two judges from local TV came to hear us, we played a couple of songs and scooped a prize!
When my amp valve blew 10 minutes before we started playing, with no backup, my volume was reduced by a quarter, even when cranked to 10. (I needed that spinal tap amp I guess)
We both have treasured Gibson Les Paul Standard, Takamine acoustics, and the occasional appearance of Yamaha and Cort guitars too.