Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Street Theatre

The 27th annual Buskerfest took place here from August 2nd- 6th along the Sparks Street pedestrian mall downtown. With five stage areas set up, two or three of those stages would be active at any given time for a half hour, while buskers were setting up for their next show at the inactive locations during that same time. Around twenty different acts from Canada and around the world were involved, and it was a hot weekend. Here we have a view near Bank Street. Crowds were out, despite the heat. You'll note over the coming posts that sometimes there are few if any people in the background behind the buskers. It's not that they didn't have an audience, it's that their audience took sanctuary in the shady side of the street.

One of the additional features was a circus school, where passersby could have a go at some of the tools of the trade of buskers, including the diabolo, a classic circus prop that is a variation on the yo yo.

Canadian Mike Wood was one of the acts, and MCed the finale of the weekend. I caught him in the evening early in his routine, using a couple of audience members to test their memory of their first date and other matters, asking questions and having them answer by holding up signs- him, her, and me- as to who did what. Mostly this husband and wife were in sync with their answers.

A large crowd were around the Sisters of Spin, an Australian duo, Grace and Satya, whose act involves hoops and fire tricks. I caught them on a couple of evenings, as well as one of them in a solo act, which I'll show later.

There were a number of group shows offered during the festival, with a couple of them being paid performances at one of the local hotels. That included a Buskers & Burlesque show. Here was the sign for it.

Aerial Antics was part of Buskerfest. I'll show you their act coming up, but I had a chance to chat with a couple of their members in between sets. I also photographed one of the long fabrics that they use in their act, knotted up in preparation for take-down of the apparatus. One of the group members can be seen reflected in the window.

Canadian busker Rockabilly Joe does acrobatics, juggling, and other tricks, using a 1950s rock sensibility to his performance. Here we have him during one of his acts.

He also took part in the finale group show on the last evening. He brought a group of kids out of the audience, had them line up, and somersaulted over them. He was going fast enough that he shows up as a blur in these two shots.

Reuben DotDotDot is the stage name of this Australian acrobat who starts off with balances on stands and proceeds to getting up high on poles.

Victor Rubilar participated as well throughout the weekend. Hailing from Argentina, he juggles, dances, flirts, and here is in the midst of telling a story about a woman he met and the dance moves he used to win her affections.

I leave off today with Les Dudes, a Canadian team who do circus tricks in combination with music. Two of the three members of the troupe took part in Buskerfest- Philippe and Senja. Here their act involves him juggling while balancing a teddy bear high overhead on a chair mounted to a stick- and perched on his nose... all while she plays the ukelele. I'll show you some of their act when I finish off with the group finale show.


  1. Oh I love stuff like this ! Boulder Colorado has great street entertainers on their downtown mall (not as many and I’m sure not as good as at Buskerfest in your big City, but a treat for me). One time Bill and our Colorado son and DIL were strolling the mall heading toward one of their favorite restaurants and I got fascinated by a street magician...thought everybody had stopped and after a while I looked up and was all alone in the crowd. My husband eventually came back for me....( he *said* they thought I’d heard everybody say they were going on )). I would probably get stuck permanently at your Fair!!

  2. Spoilt for choice with all that entertainment. I assume people made a voluntary contribution to the performers.

  3. what a fun event, fun to watch, fun to take photos.

  4. Your street festivals seem very well attended.


  5. ...these festivals have become so popular. They add life to the city.

  6. The busker school would interest me.

  7. This looks like to was a ton of fun to see all the different acts. I think Toronto has a similar festival but I've not been to see it. I tend to avoid the big bad city, the horrible traffic makes me a little bit wild!

  8. Buskerfest is so much fun William, looks like you enjoyed it a lot, thanks for sharing ✨

  9. @Sallie: it was a blast!

    @Fun60: oh yes, you give money at the end of the show. It's a pass the hat sort of thing.

    @Klara: it's a great photo opportunity.

    @Janis: this one was, even with the heat and humidity.

    @Tom: they really do, and this one's been going well, and by my estimation is well organized.

    @Marie: I wouldn't have the skills for some of that!

    @Shammickite: Toronto does, around the Labour Dsy weekend this year up at Woodbine.

    @Grace: you're welcome!

  10. I also would love to attend such a festival. We have buskers at our local Farmers' Market every Saturday, and I enjoy some of the acts very much. This would be a lot of fun to attend. Thanks for sharing. :-)

  11. I can't imagine how hot the performers must have been if the audience felt compelled to hide in the shade!

  12. I like that kind of entertainment! What a nice way to spend the day.

  13. Lovely to watch this event in the street.
    By the way, our header is fantastic.

  14. I am always in awe when I see the difficult acts. The guy on one hand is beyond belief to me.

  15. It must have been fun to see all these buskers in one area!

  16. @DJan: you're welcome.

    @RedPat: especially Victor, who spent a good deal of his act in jackets like that.

    @Catarina: it is such a treat to watch.

    @Orvokki: I had fun!

    @Red: he was well balanced. I've got a video of him coming up.

    @Sharon: it certainly was.

  17. It would be fun to see all those street performers. Next best thing are your super photos. Thanks William!

  18. Fun street festival, William !

  19. What a fun event and always seems to be lots going on where you are ~ fun summer!

    Happy Day to you,
    A ShutterBug Explores,
    aka (A Creative Harbor)

  20. You see such cool stuff---thanks for sharing

  21. always amazed by folks like them. such talent. i bet it is relaxing too. exercise-ing. ( ;

  22. A wonderful day to spend in the city, watch the performers and take photos. Nice photos, William.

  23. @Denise: you're welcome!

    @Karl: it's a lot of fun.

    @Carol: we have a lot going on.

    @MB: it's a pleasure to show it.

    @Beth: it must take a lot of practice.

    @Bill: I got to see quite a bit of it this year, and yet there are still acts who I missed.

  24. Street performers are entertaining, but haven't seen any since I went to New Orleans. I don't get to see them in middle-of-nowhere Oklahoma. Enjoyed seeing your pics.

  25. Another cool event! It sure makes my life seem boring to see all I'm missing in Ottawa.

  26. Looks a brilliant event.
    Lovely to see all of your photographs William.

    All the best Jan

  27. These look fun. I'm looking forward to more from the festival!

  28. @Chieftess: it's quite fun.

    @Betty: this year's edition was good.

    @Kay: there's a lot going on here, especially in summer.

    @Francisco: thank you.

    @Jan: thanks!

    @Jeanie: thank you.

    @Klara: that it was.