Life after the Buskers Festival
OPINION: As you read this, I will be in the
depths of misery.
That's an odd way to tell you how much I loved being part of the
World Buskers Festival in your city for the past two weeks. But
there it is.
"Post-Festival Blues" is a universal phenomenon recognised by
performers everywhere. We're often momentarily surprised by the
sudden descent into gloom until we remember, "Ah, it's
PFB is part homesickness for the place you recently called home
and the loving pseudo-family you created; part physical and
emotional exhaustion; and also a terrible sense of loss once the
daily routine of getting ready for the show, doing the show and
unwinding from the show is taken away.
Disbanded now, 55 street performers, cabaret artistes and
comedians are scattered across the planet like a fragmented tribe
of Eeyores, gazing balefully over our shoulders at the good times
we just had.
It's always bad after any gathering of fringe dwellers, but it
is worse after Christchurch. This is the festival every performer
wants to do - the one where we feel the most treasured, respected
and supported. Not just by staff and crew (though, good lord, them
too) but also by audiences willing to queue two hours before box
office opens in the morning to secure a seat for that night, and
who will brave extreme heat or icy winds or driving rain (stupid
summer) to see what we do.
You need to understand how good you are as an audience,
Christchurch. In other cities and in other countries, people stay
home in droves. Parking, babysitters and school nights too easily
get in the way. You turn up like you've been waiting for this all
year. Which, apparently, you have.
We shouldn't be surprised that, after 21 years of this joyful
nonsense, you have cottoned on spectacularly to the "bucketing"
shtick, reserving your seats with a donation and then tossing more
in at the end as your monetary round of applause.
All of us seem to like that direct relationship between
performer and audience. You know who you are giving it to and you
pay us better than most producers do. And we get to talk to each
other without a microphone involved.
In the past 11 days I have been hugged by strangers, caught up
with old friends and occasionally been berated for my political
views as I've stood at the door of my tent. I wouldn't have missed
a moment of it.
I have finally found a hotel so quiet we can sleep till
lunchtime and where staff slip in after we've headed to work at 5pm
to put out fresh towels. I know of several bars where they keep the
kitchen open for dinner at 11pm and cheerfully let you pay for a
round of cocktails with $2 coins.
This will be the highlight of my year and it's only January. I
am going back to bed for a cry.
Life after the Buskers
© Fairfax NZ News