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World Buskers Festival | Final Report + Release

Twenty-five years ago, the World Buskers Festival began to captivate audiences - and, as has been widely discussed over the past fortnight, will not return to do so in its current form in 2019. The ‘re-shaping’ of the World Buskers Festival into the “Boulevard of Outrageous Delights” is predicated on an assessment that the current Festival is “old-school”, “tired” and “inaccessible”. As the Trust behind the World Buskers Festival, we strongly reject this characterisation.

The 2018 Festival saw 300,000 people attend over 400 shows. 50,000 people came out at night time to see an act, and the city supported the 250 free street shows across 8 sites. Christchurch saw debut shows, world premieres and crowd favourites - all whilst supporting the 55 performers from 15 different countries.

The world-class, diverse and engaging Festival (based on attendees’ feedback) successfully met all of its targets this year and supported the local economy. Businesses located nearby to this year’s Festival (including retail, hospitality and tourism) reported some of the highest visitor numbers and revenue during the ten days, since their pre-quake days.

The Christchurch City Council supported the Festival with access to a one off grant of up to $200,000 in order for the festival to be able to go ahead. Due to changes as to how the grant was allocated in the budget, there was misalignment in how the financial performance of the Festival was articulated. The 2018 Festival was a huge success and, with the resolution to wind up the World Buskers Festival Trust, we have transferred to Christchurch City Council all assets and materials with a minimal drawdown of the additional grant.

The challenge of any annual event is to plan, prepare, scale up and then execute; our 2018 Festival Team and Event Crew delivered a truly outstanding event, by anyone’s standards. We thank them for their leadership, professionalism and dedication - and energy! - in making the Festival possible. Special thanks to both Melissa Haberfield and Tim Bain; Christchurch has benefitted from your hard work.

To the performers and artists - we know that many of you have previously arranged your calendars around being at the World Buskers Festival. Thank you for your wit, skill and talent: please don’t forget us, and please know that we think that you are brilliant.

And, finally, to the people of Christchurch: thank you. Thank you for supporting the World Buskers Festival for the past twenty-five years. We’ve been proud to be such an iconic event of the city, and we hope that the “Boulevard of Outrageous Delights” - whatever it looks like - exceeds expectations.

KEY STATISTICS | 2018 World Buskers Festival

• 300,000 visitors
• 400+ shows (with 250 free street shows)
• 55 performers from across 15 different countries
• 96% of surveyed spectators rated the WBF positively
• 92% satisfied with content and 92% satisfied with delivery
• 87% rating as value for money
• 92% agreed the World Busker Festival organisers made it easy for them to enjoy the Festival
• 95% of artists would return to the festival
• 100% staff completed Health and Safety and customer services training
• 25th Anniversary celebrated previous years with 50% of the artists returning to the Festival for this celebration.

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