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World Buskers Festival

Buskers take over Hagley Park

MarioQueenofCircus.-WBF05.jpg

Christchurch is once again hosting hundreds of buskers from around the world at the annual 10-day festival of free street performances.

The World Buskers Festival has been based in Hagley Park since the earthquakes, but it's hoped they'll soon all be back on the streets of central Christchurch.

"We are a street festival and we started 21 years ago on the streets, we want to go back to the streets," says festival chair Geoff Cranko.

It's a big attraction, with organisers claiming it entertains 300,000 people each year.

Fifty-five acts from 10 countries will perform over 10 days during the festival, which has been dubbed Buskers Park, as well as various other central city locations.

"I've always said it's the best festival in the world, I mean it's the best festival in the world. There's things about it that make it better than others," says Clarke McFarlane - known as Mario.

McFarlane says audience participation is what sets the Canterbury crowd apart from the rest, even if sometimes they are a bit timid at first.

This year they've got the old classics, like jugglers, as well as a range of comedy shows and cabaret performances.

Organisers say the festival allows homegrown talent to shine, but also keeps attracting the international acts back.

"It's a journey I'm willing to make because it's such a wonderful place to be and the festival is incredible," says busker 'Chocolat'.

And no doubt the next 10 days will see more Cantabrians entertained.

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