Auckland's International Buskers Festival
I giggled. I clapped. I cheered, whooped and jumped up and down on the spot... I felt like a kid again! Why all the excitability you ask.... What's a mature and sensible girl (don't laugh!) doing acting like a kid on sugar? It was all fueled by the surprising and talented performers in the International Buskers Festival, held on Auckland's waterfront at the end of January.
Over four days, the performers displayed their distinct and varied talents to oohing and aahing crowds. Night shows were packed, and highly entertaining for kids and adults alike. All of the performers were invited by the events organizers, but weren't paid by them. Just like all buskers, they made their money from 'passing the hat' - receiving donations from the crowd. It was incredible just wandering the streets and coming across different one man/one woman shows. Our first 'discovery' was Mario, Queen of the Circus. A lithe and comical man, Mario interspersed renditions of Queen songs with juggling and other circus acts, praised his idol Freddie Mercury endlessly and ran through hilarious stand up comedy. I would definitely buy a ticket to a full show, once he makes it big!
Other favorites of mine included other circus acts, Eddy Eighty and Fraser Hooper. Eddy Eighty was like a sexed up, foreign Ben Stiller - full of energy, his colorful ensemble was ripped off to expose his physique, a bright crop top and matching bike shorts! He had unsuspecting audience members stripping their shirts, dancing and performing acrobatics. My other favorite was a talented mime who used the audience's ineptitude to follow instructions to exaggerate his comedy - another whose show I would gladly go and watch again!
Not to be forgotten was Pancho Libre, a sexy Mexican whose feats of strength and danger left us all mind boggled, Bendy Em whose flexibility was astounding and others with fire and bike acts. I would highly recommend spending the weekend in Auckland when this is on next - or checking out one of the similar festivals such as the World Busker Festival in Christchurch, or Buskerburgoo - Nelson. I can definitely appreciate the time and effort put into all of the performances, and hope they can continue spreading wonder and awe the world over!
What festivals or other exciting events have you stumbled across when visiting a place? Have you seen any performances that really wowed you? Let me know!