Buskers back for 10th year

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Fuse Circus perform Campground Chaos at the Southland Buskers' Festival in Queens Park in 2013.

DARING, dynamic and delightful, the Southland Buskers Festival has been drawing attention for the past decade.

The annual summer event is back for its 10th year and has included a multitude of performers including whip crackers, contortionists, sword swallowers, juggling extraordinaires, daredevils, masters of mime and hula hoop artists.

Reaching 10 years was an exciting milestone for festival manager Jodi Wright. “Now I feel like we have a really nice, established audience, who get involved and respond to Facebook early, so those are always good encouraging signs to continue.

“I think things have worked well in general and they continue to, and the pitches and the places that we use seem to be very comfortable for the local audience.”

There had been many memorable acts over the years, including the Daredevil Chicken Club, who really engaged with the audience, and the Red Trouser Show, which used a ladder and included great juggling, she said.

“They were really fantastic.”

Kiwi holiday inspired show Campground Chaos was also superb, Wright said.

Wright said she produced a lot of festivals, and Invercargill always impressed. “[Queens] Park in Invercargill is by far the most beautiful, stunning and best place to have a festival.”

She said the performers often commented about the park and the great stage. “All of that contributes to having a good festival.”

However, performing outside did come with its challenges – the weather.

“That’s the thing about street theatre anywhere in the world. I’ve been to Edinburgh before and for seven days it’s just poured down rain and there’s thousands of performers… you just take it as it comes and when the sun is shining you just go out and do your best.”

This year’s festival will begin on January 31, at 6pm, with the ILT Busker Cabaret in Queens Park (near the band rotunda).

Performances will continue throughout the festival in the park and Esk St; and at the Southern Farmers’ Market on February 3.

Wright said this year featured an interesting line-up, with a multicultural feel.

Performers are coming from as far afield as Portugal, the United Kingdom, Israel and Mexico.

“It’s really nice to have this collective, eclectic group of artists… It’s going to be very busy and very active.”

Programmes are out now, and can be downloaded from Venture Southland’s website. Wright said people can also check www.facebook.com/southlandbuskersfestival for updates.

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