What is a busker? A busker is a person that performs in public places for money. It’s a pretty open definition and doesn’t narrow down to one specific type of performance. Busking has been going on for years and professional buskers travel the world searching for new locations to entertain; this past weekend it was the newly revitalized Queen Street in Niagara Falls.
Niagara Falls Buskerfest 2012, created by Lyndesfarne Theatre Projects, brought in over 85 performances and vendors. Admission to the event was free but I need to stress that the performers rely on donations by the audience.
Why would I call people out to give money? Sorry, I don’t like to sound preachy but buskers ONLY earn the money you give them. They are here on their own dime and when you factor in travel costs, hotel, food and time spent performing, buskers strictly rely on our good-hearted nature to keep them going financially.
Does this mean you need to stop and give every busker you see money? Heck no – you’d go broke pretty quickly! What it means is if you sit down, take in a performance and enjoy what you see, then please give back to the busker as a ‘thank you.’ You pay money for a movie or concert – it’s the same thing really. Only this time you can name your price – all money helps and adds up for them.
And, really, would you want to stand on a platform in the hot sun with silver paint on your body? Give SilverElvis a break!
The performance we were the most engaged in, meaning we were actually part of the show, was Street Olympics by Rob Roy Collins. Noticing he was just starting, we established ourselves on the pavement and settled in to watch. Rob warmed up with chair balancing acts that certainly grabbed attention.
Once warmed up, he started to pull people in from the audience to participate. Dan was one of the people grabbed to ‘compete’ against 2 other gentlemen in Street Olympics. The first guy had to perform a floor routine of cartwheels and spinning, Dan had to do some heavy lifting and the last guy graced the pavement with ribbon twirling. At the end, the ribbon twirling took gold and Dan got Bronze (reason given was ‘suspect urine test’ but we are disputing that claim). It was funny and all in great taste!
To close out Street Olympics, Rob explained he was going to jump across two hurdles. No problem for a former junior pole vault national champion, right? Well, there was a catch of course.
The first hurdle was an enclosure made from metal so sharp it easily sliced the cucumber he placed against it for demonstration. The second hurdle was a standard hurdle EXCEPT he had taken my very dear husband plus the two other gentlemen and lined them up on the ground behind it.
So not only was he going to jump through what I’m calling a ‘knife window,’ he also had to clear a hurdle and three grown men afterwards. Was it too late to grab Dan and run?!
Rob Roy Collins successfully completed his insane task and didn’t harm a hair on Dan’s body, except maybe Dan’s pride a little from having to squeeze into a lycra suit but that’s forgivable (’cause it’s not me). Rob is from the UK but he has performed in multiple Canadian locations so make sure you catch a show if you get a chance. His website is http://www.robroycollins.com/streetolympics.php.
In conclusion, the Niagara Falls Buskerfest 2012 was a great event. I’d happily go next year and suggest you put this event on your list next summer!
Lyndesfarne Theatre Projects is responsible for the Niagara Falls Buskerfest.
Last year the event took place in St. Catharines but this year it was moved to Queen Street in Niagara Falls.
To visit their website for future dates and upcoming announcements, please click here.