The Sun Shines on Christchurch & the 24th World Buskers Fest
26 January 2017
The Sun Shines on Christchurch and the 24th World Buskers Festival
That’s how Buskers Festival Director Melissa Haberfield is describing the first week of the annual shenanigans which has seen more than 70,000 people attend performances over *6 days.
The combination of more workers back in the central city, the summer sunshine and school holidays, is resulting in large crowds both day and night, with several shows sold out for the whole festival.
“Headliner Nina Conti from the UK sold her 10 shows out very quickly and we put another one on and it sold out in record time,” says Haberfield. “Keith Preene’s Golden Goose Bingo is selling in the biggest venue the festival has ever used, the 1300 seat Isaac Theatre Royal. Keith is stoked, telling everyone he’s hit the big time performing at “the Royal.” “
The festival is presenting more than 400 shows, with 32 overseas and 20 New Zealand performers, over a ten-day period which finishes this Sunday. There’s plenty for families and younger audiences including one of the “must see” shows, Pants Down Circus: ROCK as one of the don’t miss shows family friendly shows of the festival. It’s on nightly 5.45pm in the Buskers Club.
“The Arts Centre is buzzing again. The North Quad has been chokka with around 500 people for each show which is wonderful to see and hear,” says Melissa Haberfield.
This year for the first time since the 2011 earthquakes, the Buskers Festival has moved back into the streets around the city and out of Hagley Park. Haberfield says that’s working extremely well.
“Hagley Park was great however with a number of acts in the one place, it could be distracting for other performers and audiences when a big whoop would go up on one side of the performance area, while a busker was building a focus on his or her act on the other side. These performers are street performers. Gathering up passers-by as they go about their everyday business, is part of the performance. Now they are doing it again and things are just humming in the CBD,” she says.
Two cruise ships in town last week brought a number of the passengers to the city for a look.
“It’s adding so much energy and fun to the city again and that is marvellous to see,” says Haberfield.
(*1 day was wet but a full schedule was restaged, moving from Market Square to the Buskers Club at Christ's College so that everyone could still enjoy some Buskers fun on Sunday)
A few extra bits of info:
Biggest audience at a family friendly night show ever in the Festival’s 24 year history (Pants Down Circus: ROCK!) (http://www.worldbuskersfestival.com/pants-down-circus-rock)
Busker Best Bits (http://www.worldbuskersfestival.com/buskers-best-bits) on the final night was fully booked by 2nd week in December (the earliest ever this has happened and we are in the largest venue the festival has ever used too – the Isaac Theatre Royal, 1300 seats)
Ben Hurley (http://www.worldbuskersfestival.com/ben-hurley) Nothing But Stand Up (http://www.worldbuskersfestival.com/nothing-but-stand-up) Burlesque (http://www.worldbuskersfestival.com/buskers-burlesque) and So-So Gangsta (http://www.worldbuskersfestival.com/so-so-gangsta)
……are on track to be full for the weekend (additionally to Nina Conti)
Monday morning slots are usually pretty slow but three street performers actually came into the office to tell the festival team that it was the largest and most engaging audience they had had in any festival anywhere – in that slot. And those performers have performed in a lot of festivals around the world.