Busking festival returns to South D

Variety . . . Buskers of all ages and talents perform at previous South Dunedin Busking Festivals. This year's event is on this Saturday. PHOTOS: PAUL S ALLEN

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The South Dunedin Busking Festival is back for another year.

The event will be held for the third time after the huge success of the previous two busking festivals between 10am and 2pm on Saturday in King Edward St, South Dunedin.

Organisers wanted to give buskers time to let others know and start rehearsing but time’s almost up – it is not far away now.

On Saturday, eight performance “stages” will be marked out in the doorways and frontages of various businesses along King Edward St between Hillside Rd and McBride St, with 20-minute performances every half hour (allowing time to set up and pack down).

Buskers will have two 20-minute sets during the day so there will be over 72 performances during the day.

Individual local businesses have sponsored worthwhile prizes in six categories, with three prizes in most categories, so performers have a great chance of busking for a little cash and maybe taking away one of the prizes.

The small entry fee will contribute to the cost of prizes and the South Dunedin Business Association will underwrite the event.

As it is an event, the usual busking licence will not be needed.

Buskers may also seek donations from the crowd.

There will be several categories with prizes in each, if the busker wishes to be judged.

Some participants are happy just to be there without competing for the prizes.

There will be a panel of three judges, with a range of tastes and experiences in music and performance locally.

Participants are expected to come mostly from the local community (no overseas acts in this show) and organisers have been contacting schools and other groups to promote the event before everyone gets too busy in the rush to year’s end.

Over a third of the performers in this year’s event are under 13, but some of the city’s more experienced buskers will also be seen in action.

The South Dunedin Busking Festival aims to both make opportunities for people to express their creativity and build skills, and to provide an event for people who may not easily get the chance to see live performances to enjoy some of the talent from their community.

Funding from Dunedin City Creative Communities NZ has made the event possible, and the organisers expressed their appreciation, confident that the event delivers on these aims.

Many of the participants in previous festivals have gone on to other opportunities and successes, including performing on fan trails for major events like the Lions Test last year and Fleetwood Mac and Ed Sheeran concerts.

Others have performed at the Gold Guitars, South Dunedin Street Festival, AMPed music project concerts and even a trip to Ireland for one pair of musicians.

The festival is a great stepping stone to a career in performing and a good way to gain experience and exposure.

At the same time it is a great way for people to enjoy a wealth of entertainment, with the only cost being what you wish to give to performers.

Last year, crowds varied in size but were usually only up to about 50 people at a time for an individual performance so it is a relaxed day for everyone.

The festival is a great way for Dunedin residents to listen to live, local music without having to worry about transport and large crowds.

Applications are closed for performers now, but local information can be found on the South Dunedin Community website (www.southdunedin.org.nz), which is maintained and sponsored (like this event) by the South Dunedin Business Association, to support local activity and enable participants to register their interest for the local festivals.

The South Dunedin Business Association recognises that the wellbeing of businesses and the wellbeing of the community are strongly connected and is keen to play its part towards supporting sustainable development of this unique part of the city.

The website was developed to support community activity including the main April South Dunedin Street Festival, other community events, share newsletters for various South Dunedin organisations and schools.

Contact Craig Waterhouse for more information at craig@projectdental.co.nz, or 027 495-8342.

Performers in the annual South Dunedin Busking Festival often use the event to springboard on to bigger and bolder achievements.

Registrations for the third festival, to be held on King Edward St on Saturday, are now closed.

The South Dunedin Business Association (SDBA) and local businesses have again sponsored the prizes for this event.

The performances will again be judged by a panel of three local experienced judges.

Performers have since used last year’s event to springboard on to bigger and bolder achievements.

One example of performers starting out at the festival is sisters and first-time buskers who played music together at home and asked their Dad to play guitar while they sang.

The girls (then 9 and 11) were surprised and overwhelmed to win the under-18 category.

With the prize money they won they bought a ukulele each.

They have since kept the momentum moving with more practice and performing.

They have done a number of performances since in various settings including winning a section in the Gold Guitar competition.

Matthew Rhodes used his success at the event as part of a fundraising build-up to a long anticipated trip to Ireland with co-musician Chris Butchard.

Other performers have been engaged for the fan trails leading to major events like rugby tests and major concerts like Fleetwood Mac and Ed Sheeran, so the busking festival has succeeded in its aim of creating opportunities for performers and community alike to enjoy opportunities to experience live performances.

Organisers are hoping for a similar spinoff this year.

Registrations for the event have now closed.

The southdunedin.org.nz website, maintained and sponsored by the Business Association, also hosts information of particular relevance to South Dunedin’s communities, details about other community events like the South Dunedin Street Festival each November, newsletters for various South Dunedin organisations etc.

It is used to generally promote the South Dunedin community and contribute to the collaborative work aimed at strengthening cohesion and resilience locally.

The South Dunedin Business Association recognises that the wellbeing of businesses and the wellbeing of the community are strongly connected and are keen to play their part towards supporting sustainable development of this unique, but sometimes challenging, part of the city.

Creative Communities Funding, administered by the Dunedin City Council, was granted for the 2019 event after the success of the first two events, both having had 32 acts turn out, each performing twice.

Sixty-four performances will again ring out from doorways, street corners and the Lorne St plaza, followed by a celebratory prizegiving held at the Gasworks Museum.

The festival was initially modelled on a similar event in the Melbourne suburb of Croydon.

There will be several categories with prizes in each:

Music solo (under-13)

Music solo teenage (13 to 18)

Music solo (18+)

Music group (under-18)

Music group (open)

Participants to come mostly from the local community, and organisers have invited schools and other performing groups to participate and begin the New Year with a confidence-boosting step into performing in public.

Contact (for both groups): Craig Waterhouse, craig@projectdental.co.nz or 027 4958342, or southdunedinstreetfestival@gmail.com