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Quake With Laughter: SCIRT World Busker’s Festival

Media Release

31 January 2013

Cantabrians Quake With Laughter At The SCIRT World Busker’s Festival

Cantabrians turned out in large numbers at the 2013 SCIRT World Busker’s Festival. It is no surprise to the Canterbury medical officer of health Dr Alistair Humphrey that people were taking time out to have a laugh.

“A study by Sven Svebak published in the Journal of the American Psychosomatic Society showed that laughter can significantly increase your life expectancy.” said Dr Humphrey. “Of course the study was carried out on 54,000 Norwegians, so the sample may have been slightly skewed. I didn’t want to take any chances however so I took every opportunity to get down to the SCRIT World Buskers Festival and extend my life!”

Dr Humphrey says that another recent study carried out by Oxford University researchers and published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society, found that social laughter releases endorphins which not only increase feelings of wellbeing, but can increase pain tolerance. The study also found that laughter and the resulting endorphins strengthen social bonds.

“Cantabrians intuitively know that laughter is the best medicine, which is why we have one of the longest life expectancies in New Zealand. As we approach the second anniversary of the February 2011 earthquake, what better way to aide our recovery than shaking with laughter at the SCRIT World Buskers Festival” says Dr Humphrey.

SCIRT World Busker Festival Creative Director Jodi Wright, who created the event 20 years ago, says that she feels putting on a good show for Cantabrians to have a laugh is important, now more than ever.

Wright believes that 2013 saw some of the largest crowds the festival has seen. “I estimate we drew around 330,000 over the 11 days”.

“It’s so good to see the community coming together, having a good time, and having a good laugh.”

“The Festival is always great but Cantabrians probably appreciate it even more now after all we’ve been through. The big crowds have proven that we know it’s alright to take time out from the recovery and have a good time.”


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