The Kamloops International Buskers Festival is about to raise the curtain on its second year of performances after a very successful inaugural year in 2018.
Seven performers will be take to three main stages in Riverside Park from Thursday through Sunday.
Busker action will run from 5 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. on Thursday, from 12:30 p.m. to 9:45 p.m. on Friday, from 12:30 p.m. to 9:45 p.m. on Saturday and from noon to 6 p.m. on Sunday.
Performers will be arriving in Kamloops from around the world, with entertainers coming from as far away as Europe and Australia.
But the festival will not be limited to the events that are taking place on the three main stages in Riverside Park. There will be a dedicated music stage outside Heritage House that will be featuring up-and-coming local and regional performers.
There will also be busk stops scattered through the park that are open to any performer who wants to drop in and play for an hour.
The busk stops were one of the most popular features of the 2018 Buskers Festival, according to Audrey Trim, the Tournament Capital and community event co-ordinator for the City of Kamloops.
“Everyone really enjoyed having that kind of spontaneous entertainment throughout the park,” she said.
New this year is an interactive art exhibit — a graffiti style urban art installation — being led by Landon Muzio, owner of 808 & Bench Apparel downtown.
Muzio will lead the creation of temporary murals with other artists on Friday and Saturday on the wall of the washrooms by the waterpark in Riverside Park. People are welcome to come and watch the art being created right in front of their eyes.
On Sunday, a permanent mural will be created for the wall.
All the entertainment can be enjoyed free of charge, but Trim hopes people will consider leaving tips for the performers.
“Everyone is working for gratuities,” she said. “It’s a really honest form of entertainment.”
Last year, the festival relocated to Kamloops from Victoria, where it operated from 2011 to 2016.
This year’s lineup is all new, aside from one act who earned an invite back to the festival.
Victor Rubilar, an Argentinian footballer who does freestyle moves, juggles and performs acrobatics, won last year’s People’s Choice Award. He is also a Guinness World Record holder.
Joining Rubilar will be six other main stage acts, including contortionist Bendy Em, magician Charlie Caper, contortionist and hula hooper Lisa Lottie, comedian and juggler Greg Frisbee, circus duo ZAP Circus and comedian and juggler John Park.
Busk stop performers include The Balloon Dog, magician Brad Finnen, musical act Delia Major, Kamloops’ Rivertown Players, spoken word poet The Panoptical Poet, live spraypainter Robin Seagrave, Enthrall Performers Collective and musician Willard Wallace.
Live music will also be featured, including performances by Connor Heighton, handpan player Kiyoshi Iio, Lisanna Kidd, Marcus Loveless, Rhiannon Conde, Risto Milner, Trevor Gardner, Stolen and Zaynab Mohammed.
A full schedule of performances, as well as biographies of the main stage performers, is available online at kamlopsbuskers.com.
Thousands enjoyed 2018 festival — including the performers
The inaugural Kamloops International Buskers Festival attracted between 5,000 and 10,000 people last year amid blistering heat.
The City of Kamloops spearheaded the event with help from an organizing committee that included Tourism Kamloops, Kamloops Arts Council and the business improvement associations. About 32 volunteers helped ensure the event was a success, with various performers complimenting the festival.
The Silver Starlets, a duo of aerial acrobats named Molly and Glory, told KTW at last year’s festival that they liked the park atmosphere.
“There’s no distractions down here,” Molly said. “When we’re in the city streets, there’s billboards, music … here we have this focused crowd and it’s lovely.”
Kimberly Craig from the Street Circus said the park was hotter than what she is accustomed to working in, but agreed that Riverside is a good, distraction-free venue.
“There’s very little ambient noise here, so you can create a lot of ambiance here in your shows and people have a really good attention span,” she said.
The forecast for this year’s Kamloops International Buskers Festival is encouraging. Environment Canada is calling for sunny skies and warm temperatures, with highs of 30 C on Thursday, 32 C on Friday, 28 on Saturday (with a 40 per cent chance of showers) and 30 C on Sunday.