Worlds Buskers Festival 2008

Various venues, Wellington

17/01/2008 - 27/01/2008

Production Details


To celebrate our 15th birthday we have put together a programme that is bigger, better and funnier than ever!

The 2008 World Buskers Festival is proud to boast the largest contingent of circus, street and stage acts that Christchurch has ever seen. We’ve got jugglers, comedians, contortionists, unicyclists, clowns, musicians, dancers, acrobats, aerialists, living statues and, dare we say, freaks!, from Canada, USA, Australia, Japan, Netherlands, Germany, Ireland, England and, of course, New Zealand. To top it all off, New Zealand’s iconic musical duo the Topp Twins are at the 08 WBF for 3 days (and nights) only, so don’t miss them!

During the 2008 WBF, Victoria Square will be transformed into a three-ringed circus environment -BUSKER PARK. BUSKER PARK offers audiences the opportunity to experience great circle shows, interact with strange BEASTIES, purge themselves of a fine (or dirty) joke in THE CONFESSIONAL, get confused by our living statues or awe in amazement at our aerial shows – as the Festival expands its programme of events to include trapeze and aerial artists. Other special daytime events include the Streets Paddle Pop KID PITCH, hosted by Serena and Tumehe from What Now?, and Eureka Trust’s BUSKERS AT BRIGHTON. Our night-time schedule is just as amazing with the Christchurch Airport BUSKER COMEDY CLUB, LATE NIGHT WITH THE BUSKERS at the Civic and our new event WBF SUMNER STAND-UP. Plus, our aerial arena will come alive at night as New Zealand’s very own Fuse and Ireland’s Tumble Circus take to the skies in a series of NIGHT SKY AERIAL PERFORMANCES.

The Festival owes its success to its sponsors and supporters. Thank you to all of you who continue to make the World Buskers Festival Christchurch’s most popular and well-attended festival. Your support has enabled the size, scope and magnitude of the Festival to literally explode since its inception 15 years ago. When we first started the Festival we had eight acts and two events which drew 8000 attendees. Last year’s WBF played host to more than 40 national and international acts, staged in excess of 450 shows, enjoyed the support of over 250,000 patrons and generated a whopping $3.1 million for the Canterbury region – all in just 10 days!

Here’s to making the 2008 World Buskers Festival the best yet! 

Jugglers, comedians, contortionists, unicyclists, clowns, musicians, dancers, acrobats, aerialists, living statues and freaks, from Canada, USA, Australia, Japan, Netherlands, Germany, Ireland, England and New Zealand.

Party mood in Christchurch

Review by Lindsay Clark 01st Feb 2008

08 WBF, the 15th such festival, has just provided the lazy summer city with its biggest ever collection of busker talent – jugglers, clowns, musicians, dancers, aerialists, puppeteers, acrobats, unicyclists, living statues, stand -up comics, contortionists and more. Its variety is testament to the huge and growing buzz among performers that this is the best way to spend January, so that Festival Director Jodi Wright has been able to select the cream of international and local entertainers. As a result the good citizens of Christchurch had a glorious helping of high quality events to blitz holiday torpor and back to work blues.

With venues all over the city open seemingly at all times of day and night, favourite picks could be enjoyed at least once, often in tandem with performers not part of the must see list, bringing their own bonus of happy discovery. In the course of the ten days, I was never part of an audience less than enthusiastic and entering into the spirit of the occasion.

Perhaps it is the enhanced sense of sharing an experience that makes open air performance so pleasurable .Or perhaps it is the relaxed licence watcher enjoys to stretch that restless limb, walk a little or just take another bite of picnic. I found myself people watching almost as much as focusing on some of the acts, especially the truly dangerous ones with horribly sharp blades demanding hair’s breadth judgement. Audience response at a conventional theatre is audible rather than visible and the rapt delight or tense apprehension on watching faces is an important ingredient in the overall impact of a busker event.

Certainly the performers had an eagle eye for the participant to choose when it came to lending a hand with their act and some spirited exhibitionism helped create and sustain the prevailing party mood.

With more than forty separate acts and multiple performances from those, it is nigh impossible to isolate special mentions, but for me, as for many others, the remarkable Space Cowboy has to be up there as a truly brilliant performer, with combinations of whip and sword, fire, machete, axe and sky-high 3metre unicycle, suspending time and breath for the audience. Without any helper and a relaxed, unassuming patter, he enthralled the public wherever he went.

Our own Topp Twins more than hold their own in the company of comic talent from all over the planet. Their charm lies in the down to earth, now legendary characters in their repertoire – the Camp pair and the swaggering blokes, as well as their quicksilver banter with the audience. Who else would dream of setting up an impromptu yodelling contest between a couple of overseas onlookers and who else could pull it all off with such cheeky aplomb?

For the exotic, my vote would go to Ojarus, two hilarious Japanese juggling clowns and puppeteers, working in traditional costume and make up. Their elongated headgear neatly rapped any audience associates they bowed to. For a different source of delight, the Two Sopranos, their electrifying opera soaring out over city streets provided another unexpected treasure. Bellissimo.

Variety and happy surprises were keynotes of the whole festival. Whether for family picnickers, children, late night revellers able to laugh at spice and sauce or for ordinary citizens stepping out of routine for a bit, the ten days offered a range and a quality of entertainment earning far more than the humble hat or bucket could harvest. Roll on the next one!


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