Tuesday, August 21, 2012

How to survive the #Toronto Buskerfest

The annual #Toronto @Buskerfest is squeezed into the St Lawrence Market area just east of Yonge Street and like many a successful event has become choked in its own popularity. With very few actual stages the typical performance takes place on a various sections of the street. If you are lucky you can sit on a curb, otherwise you stand and sometimes you stand behind taller people (see last year, photo at top). That is still better than trying to sit on the hot, hard asphalt. While kids can seem to sit for hours in one position the cheeks of an adult quickly fall asleep. Bring a cushion to sit on.
Once a performance starts it is very difficult to get a good view. So find where a performance will take place and get there early and wait for the buskers to come to you. Look for high stages or performances that take place in the air. There are boards listing the acts, locations and times placed at strategic locations at the event - they are not available online, so keep an eye out for the boards. There are over 100 artists attending from all over the world.
Buskerfest starts Thursday and ends Sunday. Go later in the day, or early evening to try to avoid some of the crowds. Hours are Noon to 10pm Thursday Aug 23, Noon to 11pm on Friday, 11am to 11pm on Saturday and 11am to 8pm on Sunday August 26, 2012. Acts at night that use fire are even more spectacular when seen during the darker hours. Families with strollers will find it hard to navigate through the throngs of people, especially those throngs wearing thongs. When performers start their acts the one side of the street becomes almost impassable - they expect to beat the million visitors taking in the festival last year.

On Wednesday August 22 there will be a sneak peek as a media launch takes place at noon in Market Lane Park which is just across the road from the Market building. The two photos above show the setup currently underway in the park.

"Scotiabank BuskerFest, in support of Epilepsy Toronto, runs August 23-26 throughout Toronto's St. Lawrence Market Neighbourhood and features a dazzling display of over 100 awesome street performers from Canada, the USA, Australia,Mexico, Ireland, Italy, Japan, and the United Kingdom. Audiences will experience acrobats, contortionists, musicians, magicians, fire jugglers, aerial artists and a few other incredible feats no words can describe! Scotiabank BuskerFest raises much needed funds and awareness for Epilepsy Torontothrough its pay-what-you-can admission. An estimated 40,000 Torontonians living with epilepsy and their families benefit from the work of Epilepsy Toronto through services such as counseling, information and support."

There will be plenty of food and drink vendors so you won't have to worry about hunger and thirst but make sure you keep a drink at hand to stay hydrated. Admission is by donation and the artists don't get paid so they depend on your money collected at the end of the individual shows by the artists themselves. So bring some money to give to the acts! Most joke that the typical donation is $20 but they will be happy with less - much less, from people who enjoyed the show.

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