The World Buskers’ Festival, held in Christchurch in January every year, offers up 500 fabulous reasons to visit the Garden City.
It’s the largest street theatre festival in Australasia, and ranks amongst the top five in the world with audiences numbering around 300,000 over the ten day festival period.
The 2010 festival builds on the success of the previous 16, and brings together the best street performers from around New Zealand and the world for hundreds of eye-popping shows that will leave audiences in stitches.
Festival director Jodi Wright has spent the past few months hunting out new acts for next year and is promising 2010 festival-goers some new twists and turns. A musical pitch, featuring international and national talent, has been added to the line-up for 2010 festival, broadening the depth and diversity of the festival.
“Every year the bar gets set higher and the pressure goes on to find new acts that will capture people’s imaginations and make them laugh till they cry. Christchurch audiences still like to see their favourites perform, like The Daredevil Chicken Club, Popeyed, Meet Pete and Mario Queen of the Circus, but they also want to be introduced to new talent,” says Wright.
Several top Kiwi acts have been included in the line-up, including comedians Brendan Lovegrove, Chris Brain (winner of the 2009 Billy T award), Michele A’Court, Jeremy Elwood, Javier, Irene Pink and Justine Smith. The 2010 festival also includes musical acts such as international street musician DUB FX from England, and a swag of Kiwi bands.
“Each year I get a bit nervous about how I’m going to pull together a line-up that’s as good, if not better, than the previous year, and I’m genuinely thrilled with the calibre of the performers we’ve got for the 2010 festival and I’m pretty sure festival goers will not be disappointed,” said Wright.
“These really are the crème de la crème of street entertainers and they are going to have Christchurch buzzing. I can’t wait for the festival to begin so I can see the reaction on people’s faces when these guys start performing. It’s going to be a fantastic ten days.”
Christchurch residents consistently vote this festival as the City’s favourite and most important event. But it’s not just the locals who love it. The global pool of artists, who bring their charm, culture and intriguing skills to Christchurch, rate it as their favourite street performance festival in the world.
The World Buskers’ Festival starts on January 21 and runs through until January 31. Most of the events will be staged outdoors in the central city and are non-ticketed and free, although audiences are encouraged to give donations to the performers at the end of each show.
A few of the newcomers performing in 2010 include:
Four-time world juggling champions, the raspyni Brothers, from the USA, www.raspyni.com
The hit of the 2008 Toronto International Circus Festival, the Acrobuffos, from the USA, www.acrobuffos.com
The Flash, a high energy acrobatic, juggling and comedy duo, who have been performing in circuses, theatres and busking all over America and internationally since 2000, www.acrojuggling.com
Former circus clown and elephant jumper, Joe Dieffenbacher, www.nakupelle.com
Theatrical acrobats, the oddlings, from the Netherlands, www.oddlings.nl
UK magician, contortionist and escapologist, Chris Cross, www.chris-cross.co.uk?
The strongest lady alive, Betty Brawn, from Australia, www.stronglady.com.au
Sizzling hot Flame Oz, an Australian act who love playing with fire, www.flameoz.com
Canadian hula hoop act, Duo Hoops, www.beckyhoops.com?
Japanese and UK act Funny Bones, with Keiichiro Miyaji and Chris Peters, www.funnybones.jp