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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Christchurch soon to be rocking with laughter

They have travelled the four corners of the globe to get here and now they're ready to perform.

The Stronger Christchurch World Buskers Festival starts on Thursday night, with daytime events kicking off on Friday 20 January.

Funny Bones are K-Bow and Crispy,
two independently travelled street performers
whose paths crossed in Japan and who
have been travelling the world making
audiences laugh ever since!

Sixty of the world's best street performers have gathered in Christchurch for the Stronger Christchurch World Buskers Festival and the stage is set for 10 days and 11 nights of brash, colourful and irreverent entertainment.

This year's festival will be the biggest in the event's 19-year history and will be staged almost entirely in North Hagley Park, or Busker Park, as it will be known for the duration of the festival.

"Christchurch has never deserved a good laugh and a bit of fun more than now and we're thrilled that after such a difficult 12 months we can bring Christchurch the biggest and best buskers' festival it's ever seen," says the festival's artistic director Jodi Wright.

"We've got 60 acts from 12 countries taking part in the festival and everyone is really excited about being here. A lot of the buskers specifically asked to be included in the line-up because they really want to see Christchurch smiling again and they can't wait to get up on stage and start performing."

This year's festival sees the return of many old favourites as well as the addition of some new venues and new shows.

Making its first appearance at the festival is Le Tigre Bleu – an European-style mini cabaret tent which can seat just 40. It will feature performances from The Daredevil Chicken Club, Devil Dan, Shep Huntly, Fraser Hooper, Rubberband Boy and some of the crown jewels of the festival.

A new strictly-for-the-adults show, the Christchurch Casino's Midnight Carnivale, has been added to the festival programme and will be staged following a 10pm Christchurch Casino Comedy Hour, both at the Casino's Grand Café. And each night leading New Zealand comedian Michele A'Court will host Nothing But Stand-Up: The Divas, which will feature an all-female line-up.

The saucy Back Up Dancers are back – this year with their own show at the bespoke Tui Birdcage Bar. And ever-popular Kiwi busker Sam Wills has his own show every night from 7.30pm.

Also back is The Tip Top Buskers Kid Pitch, in the Botanic Gardens, where there will be entertainment tailor-made for young children and their families every day of the festival from 11am. An added bonus this year are young performers competing for the Telecom Be A Busker competition.

"This year's festival has been set up so that people can come along to Hagley Park and spend from late morning till after midnight enjoying the buskers,'' says event director Jo Blair.

"There are shows on from 11am to midnight and you can easily move from stage to stage, as well as to the Christchurch Casino and down to a new venue, The Colombo in Sydenham. We're really hoping that people will get friends and family together and come in to the park and make it a day of it.

"For those who can't bike, bus or walk in, all day parking will be available in Hagley Park for $3 so there's no excuse for not coming in and having a laugh. After such a tough year we really want to see everyone down at the park enjoying themselves," Ms Blair says.

Among the acts not-to-be-missed at this year's festival include Australian acrobatic troupe The Controlled Falling Project by ThisSideUp Acrobatics, last year's winners of The Press Critics Choice Award, Funny Bones, Irish circus performers The Lords of Strut, and Australian comic daredevil Ernest the Magnifico.

For more information on who is performing at the festival and when check out

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The Expeditionist

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