2018 is the celebration of 25 years for the World Buskers Festival; one of Christchurch’s most iconic and longest running events. The World Buskers Festival is New Zealand’s largest outdoor festival and is a huge highlight of the summer events calendar in Christchurch every year.
In 1993, after a rogue busker gate crashed the Festival of Flowers, Jodi Wright and Vicki Buck got together and came up with a Festival for Buskers. It was named with intent. It was named boldly. It was named the World Buskers Festival.
The first ever festival started out with a few local and a couple of international performers. Over the years, the festival has grown and grown and has seen some of New Zealand’s and the World’s most wild and wonderful performers that embrace all that is unique and fun in street theatre. Along with the street entertainment, the programme has also grown to include a range of night time performances from some of the globes most in demand artists.
Six years ago, just when the Festival was at its peak, the devastating February 22nd earthquake struck Christchurch. It was only weeks earlier that saw crowds in their thousands watching in locations that no longer existed. Due to extensive damage in the city centre, 2012 saw the festival moved from the CBD to a hub in North Hagley Park. Temporary marquees, stages, bars, restaurants and activities were set up to create a city in the park known as ‘Buskers Park’. For the following four years, this is where the World Buskers Festival called home.
2017 was a pinnacle year with the World Buskers Festival successfully returning to the streets. With the festival being so well known for taking place in some of Christchurch’s most iconic surroundings in the heart of the city, it was a massive achievement to be able to return home and back to being a traditional street festival.
2018 sees a huge festival celebration that is sure to entertain and delight. We have festival favourites returning, festival new comers making their debut and everything possible in-between. With backdrops to celebrate the re-established city centre and a programme to celebrate the rich history that is busking in Christchurch, this intergenerational festival is sure to delight the entire community. Over 10-days from 18th to 28th January, more than 250,000 people from all walks of life are expected to come together to share in some laughter and fun.
This Festival will be our biggest yet. We will be using beautiful spaces for our night shows such as The North Quad and The Great Hall at the Arts Centre, the Phillip Carter Auditorium at the Art Gallery, Christ’s College Assembly hall and Old Boys Theatre and Sixty6 on Peterborough street. Our day time pitches include The North Quad and Market Square at the Arts Centre, the forecourt at the Art Gallery and Cathedral Square. We will also have our two roadshow events which includes Buskers at Brighton and Buskers at Lyttelton over two days during the festival.
Original founder and Director Jodi Wright oversaw the Festival for an amazing 22 years. Her last curated festival was in 2015.
We can’t wait to share in some laughter and fun with you all for our 25th celebration of the World Buskers Festival.