This January, the World Buskers Festival makes a return visit to Christchurch, New Zealand. A popular fixture in the city for over twenty years, this sell-out event promises to bring a wide range of circus performers, street entertainers and comedy shows to delight an expected 300,000 audience. From burlesque to vaudeville, acrobatics to trapeze artists, there’s an eclectic mix of acts guaranteed to put a smile on your face.
Something for everyone
This year’s Comedienne Urzila Carlson, a South African born New Zealand citizen, tours her show “The Long Flight to Freedom”. Winner of many awards in her adopted homeland, Urzila’s show is laugh out loud funny. The Vaudevillians weave a tangled web of a story to explain why music artists as diverse as Janis Joplin, Cyndi Lauper and Lady Gaga stole their songs while they were trapped in Antarctica. Captain Kidd does burlesque in his own unique Aussie way and the Boy with Tape on His Face is back offering us, he says, mime with noise, stand-up with no talking, drama with no acting. Though some shows are strictly adults-only, the Kid Pitch at the Botanic Gardens is family friendly. Whatever you choose, be prepared for audience participation and bring a sense of humour.
Where to find the festival
After the 2011 earthquake, the World Buskers Festival moved out of the central city to nearby Hagley Park, a usually serene green space which is transformed into the lively “Busker Park”.
For the first time since the quake, the World Buskers Festival returns to Market Square by the Arts Centre. Several stages and pop-up venues will centre around the north of Hagley Park adjacent to Victoria Lake, with additional performances at nearby Christ’s College and Christchurch Casino. A limited number of seats for the top acts are available in advance for a suggested donation of NZ$15-20 but tickets can be obtained after 11am on the morning of the show. Of course, rocking up to the main stage requires no purchase at all – just remember to bring a pocket full of loose change to tip your favourites. For more information about this year’s events and performers, visit their website. The festival runs from 15 to 25 January 2015.
A lot to explore once the World Buskers Festival is over
Once the festival is finished, you can rent a car and explore the area. There is much to see in Christchurch, including the Re:Start shopping area which features shipping containers converted into retail units and cafes and a range of pop-up bars and sports facilities, including the Gap Golf which continues to grow in popularity, the Dance-O-Mat or the Grandstandium. The city is also an ideal base from which to explore the surrounding Canterbury region or take a trip on the TranzAlpine train across the scenic Southern Alps and over Arthur’s Pass.