The Kamloops International Buskers Festival will return for its third year this summer and event organizers are hoping to promote regional appeal.
Event co-ordinator Ali Webster appeared as a delegate during Thursday’s Thompson-Nicola Regional District meeting, requesting $5,000 in financial support for the event, which draws international acrobats, jugglers, musicians and also provides a platform for local talent.
Webster told the board last year’s event featured more than 70 performers (seven internationally renowned acts, as well as local buskers), had an economic impact valued at more than $250,000 and drew more than 12,000 attendees over the four-day festival.
“The calibre of performers we’re bringing is really incredible,” Webster said, calling the results "impressive."
This year’s event will take place from July 23 to July 26. It is free, but attendees are asked to support performers by way of tips, as that is how they are paid. One element from last year’s festival remains in Riverside Park, a mural painted as part of an interactive art installation. Webster said this year’s festival will include another interactive art element — not necessarily a painting, but perhaps a wood carving or some other creation.
In soliciting the $5,000 sponsorship from the TNRD board, Webster said international performers are paid to travel and stay in Kamloops for the event. Those performers essentially anchor the event. Last year's festival featured a Guinness World Record-breaking act, as well as the winner of Sweden's Got Talent program.
Asked by directors how the event benefits the region as a whole, rather than only Kamloops, Webster said it has economic spinoff in the region and provides a platform for regional artists to be paid for their work. She said feedback from previous event's boasted about beauty of the region.
“It really is developing as a signature event for our region,” she said.
Those who are interested in performing at the festival must apply online and can do so leading up to the event. On-site registration will also be provided for those who may be travelling through, due to the nature of busking.
The TNRD board will make its decision on the funding request at a future meeting.