Buskers to get Christchurch laughing again

It seems some world-wide buskers are determined to get Christchurch laughing again. As always it’s brash, colourful and irreverent. It will make you laugh till you cry, and it’s something that is very proudly Christchurch’s.

What is it? It’s the Stronger Christchurch World Buskers Festival and with the Arts Centre and city centre out of action for a while,  in a couple of months it will be at the Hagley Park Events Village. (10 days from January 19)

The village will become Busker Park and serve as the stage for some of the world’s best street performers, all of whom have one goal in mind – to get Christchurch laughing again.

This city needs a good deep belly laugh and that’s what we’re going to give them with this festival,” says creative director Jodi Wright. “It’s all about having some fun and letting our hair down after what’s been a very tough year.

“A lot of the buskers we’ve selected for the festival have specifically asked to be included in the line-up because they really want to see Christchurch smiling again so I know they’re going to give every performance their very best, which should make for some crazily fun shows,” continued Ms Wright.

The acts come from 12 countries and represent the whole gamut in street and circus skills. There will be over 500 performances, from aerial shows, to stand-up comedy, and human statue acts.

A new strictly-for-the-adults show, the Christchurch Casino’s Midnight Carnivale has been added to the festival programme and will be staged at midnight each night at the Christchurch Casino Grand Café.

The saucy burlesque girls are back for another year at the Buskers Burlesque in the Inflatable Dome, as well as Nothing But Stand-Up: The Divas which will feature an all-female line-up hosted each night by leading New Zealand comedian Michele A’Court, and the ever popular Kiwi busker Sam Wills will be back, with his own new show every night from 7.30pm.

Event director Jo Blair is hoping families will take the opportunity to come to Hagley Park and spend a whole day enjoying as many of the acts as possible.

Busker buses sponsored by Solid Energy, have been  organised to ferry people into Hagley Park at the weekends to make it easy for people from the quake-damaged eastern suburbs to get into the events village, and there will be parking available at Hagley Park. However, festival-goers are encouraged to walk, bike, or use public transport

“We want everyone to be able to get along to the festival and have some fun so we’re doing all we can to make that happen. We’ve set things up so you can bring the kids, bring a picnic and basically spend the entire day and evening being entertained by some really, really funny people,” says Ms Blair.

“We’re going to have stalls where people can buy food and shop for arts and crafts, and we’ll have some

creative licensed areas – the Stoneleigh Garden Bar, the Deutz Geo Bar and the Tui Birdcage Bar – where people can enjoy a wine or beer if they want to.”

Ms Blair says a special feature of the festival will be Adgraphix’s Nostalgia Cubes, giant cubes that people will be able to wander through and view photographs of past festivals. The photos are one of the few things the team behind the World Buskers Festival managed to salvage from their damaged offices in the Arts Centre after February’s quake.

“The World Buskers Festival holds a special place in people’s hearts – it’s arguably the most popular event in Christchurch’s calendar – so it’s fantastic we’ve managed to retrieve those photos and that we can celebrate our past in this way,” Ms Blair says.

The Stronger Christchurch World Buskers Festival 2012 website is www.worldbuskersfestival.com