Christchurch will celebrate the 30th anniversary of its World Buskers Festival from today, with international buskers returning for the first time in three years.
Performers are ready to lure crowds to the streets of Christchurch, with acts ranging from live music to acrobats and sword swallowing.
Over 100,000 people are expected to turn up to the festival, which will run from 13 to 29 January.
Bread & Circus World Buskers Festival director Scott Maidment said he expected about 20 percent of that number to be people who had travelled nationally and internationally.
Christchurch mayor Phil Mauger said the festival would have a positive effect on the city’s economy, with the crowds it brought into the central business district.
“Every time it comes there’s a real buzz in the middle of the city,” he said.
Maidment said he was thrilled to bring Christchurch’s annual festival back after it was cancelled last year due to Covid-19 controls.
“It’s an amazing legacy that the city has, in that we get to celebrate in the streets each year with such an amazing festival. It’s even more exciting this year because international artists are back.”
Street buskers on the programme include New Zealand comic juggler Paul Klaass, and Guinness World Record holder The Space Cowboy, an Australian performer whose records include the most chainsaw juggling catches on a unicycle and the most swords swallowed underwater.
Other special events include a silent disco walking tour and a comedy wine show.
Australian comedian and wine expert Merrick Watts is performing his show, An Idiot’s Guide to Wine, for the first time in New Zealand at the festival, after touring it around Australia.
“I haven’t been to Christchurch for years so I’m really excited to get back there, and be a part of the festival,” he said.
Watts said he believed people were more keen to get out and go to shows after being stuck in lockdowns.
Maidment said it had been a hard couple of years for performers because of Covid-19.
“Not only have you been not able to perform or make any money at home, but you haven’t been able to go anywhere else to do it either.
“It’s so great to have the festival back in full force.”
The Bread & Circus World Buskers Festival website has the full programme of scheduled events.
Story Credit: rnz.co.nz