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The World Busker's Festival

Updated on January 5, 2016

The World Busker's Festival in Canterbury

The SCIRT World Busker's Festival is known as the biggest and most successful street performance festival in the world and it's right here in Christchurch, New Zealand.

In 2104 the World Busker's Festival held in Christchurch celebrated 21 years of performing arts. It is the largest outdoor festival held in New Zealand and has world renowned artists participating from nine countries.

The 2916 Festival starts on 14 January and runs through to the 24 th.

Unless otherwise stated all photos have been used with the kind permission of the World Buskers Festival. The intro picture features artists 'The Space Cowboy' who is from Byron Bay, Australia


Christchurch City

From the start the festival was held in Christchurch the Cathedral Square to be precise. The February 2011 earthquake changed all that as the last festival held there was in January that year. Undaunted the organisers moved the main venue to North Hagley Park.

During the festivities North Hagley Park is known as Buskers Park. There are many satellite venues also and you can find them listed on the official World Busker's website.

This photo was taken during the Festival of 2009 and shows the Cathedral which is currently being demolished following the damage by the earthquakes experienced since September 2010.

Photo is by Greg the Busker

Do you enjoy watching buskers?

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The Topp Twins
The Topp Twins

The Topp Twins

Our very own Topp Twins were MC for two days during the 2013 festival and gave one street performance on Friday.

Lynda and Jools Topp are identical twins who have become a real 'national treasure'. They have been performing for more than 25 years and have travelled and entertained audiences around the world. They are known for their yodelling, comedy, folk and country music.

I first heard of the Topp Twins while living in Auckland as they were known for their busking. They have had their own TV show and are currently in a commercial with their characters Ken and Ken.

My favorite characters are Camp Mother and Camp Leader seen in this picture.

Topp Twins: Untouchable Girls
Topp Twins: Untouchable Girls

‘Untouchable Girls’ was a 2009 award winning documentary by Leanne Pooley. This documentary has won more than 20 Best Documentary awards.

The documentary is about New Zealand's Jools and Lynda Topp who are twin lesbian comediennes, singers, yodellers...the girls prefer to be known as singers who are funny.

Not only are the fun filled comedy elements covered that will leave you rolling around in laughter but we are privy to Jools’ fight with breast cancer.

Loved by gay and straight alike the twins are true entertainers.


Have you heard of the Topp Twins?

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The Artists are From Around the World

The performers are from around the world. The countries represented are:

  • Australia
  • Canada
  • Germany
  • Japan
  • New Zealand
  • South Africa
  • The Netherlands
  • UK
  • USA

The 2016 Festival

In 2016 there is a great line-up of artists covering:

Caberet includes:

  • Ongals from Korea
  • Miss Behave'e Gameshow from the UK
  • Yana Alana from Australia
  • Easteend Caberet from the UK

Comedy including:

  • Urzila Carlson from South Africa
  • Justine Smith Abroad - New Zealand
  • Hamish Parkinson - New zealand
  • Lloyd Langford - Wales

Burlesque acts include a line-up of the top ten acts in the world. All the following are from the USA:

  • Perle Noire
  • Mister Gorgeous
  • Ray Gunn
  • Trixie Little
  • Ben Delacreme

There's also a Kids section as well as music and variety.

moving stationery
moving stationery


Many characters that enjoy busking have found fame in street performing and have gone on to perform on stage, on TV and around the world.

Busking brings color and creative expression to the streets.

While many countries allow buskers to perform in the streets there may be rules that need to be followed such as applying for a permit. If you intend busking make sure you are familiar with the legal requirements.

This picture shows Thom Monckton as Moving Stationery which is a multi-award winning solo physical comedy

Past and Present Performers


Gamarjobat presented by Ingham is R16.

Japanese artists Gamarjobat were chosen as one of “the 100 most respected Japanese people in the world” in the Japanese-edition of Newsweek magazine.

card ninja
card ninja

Javier Jarquin: CARD NINJA is R20

“Shows us why he has the right to call himself the Card Ninja”

- Edinburgh Spotlight

“Genuinely punchy comedy”

- The Stage

“High calibre throughout”

- The Morning Star

mim and danny
mim and danny

Mim and Danny are NZ artists who perform an engaging cross of comedy and acrobatics.

Rubberband Boy at the Dubfest 2014...he's back to entertain in New Zealand!

What is Busking?

Busking is a street performance in public places usually for a reward in the form of cash, food, drink or other gifts.

The word meaning to busk originates from the Spanish word ‘buscar’ which means ‘to seek’ ~ performers are seeking fame and / or fortune. The word has been in use in Britain since the mid nineteenth century.

It is the show business equivalent of entry level entertainment and many well known performers have started out as buskers. Here in New Zealand we have our own well known personalities the Topp Twins, Bob Hope busked as did the founders of "Cirque du Soleil"

You may be surprised at some of the other names that crop up as having busked in the past such as Robin Williams, Tracey Chapman, Rod Stewart, Pierce Brosnan, Bruce Sprinsteen, Bon Jovi and even Benjamin Franklin did it! And that's just naming a few...

Have you ever participated in busking in the street?

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Let me know you dropped by and leave your comments.

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    • profile image

      Deadicated LM 

      6 years ago

      Once again I've learned something new on Squidoo.

    • Elsie Hagley profile image

      Elsie Hagley 

      6 years ago from New Zealand

      I didn't know about the world buskers festival was in New Zealand, and only 5 days away.

      I love how you have presented this in this lens. Blessed.


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