BuskerFest – Scotiabank

By Trent Scherer

Celebrating its 10th Anniversary, BuskerFest has brought hundred’s of the best street performers from around the world. Partnering with Scotiabank, BuskerFest has managed to bring in close to one million dollars for Epilepsy Toronto.

Over the years, I’ve managed to see some amazing performances from acrobats, fire breathers, and comedians. For those who don’t know what a busker is, a busker is someone who performs music or acts of entertainment in a public place usually while soliciting money.

You are asked to donate to Epilepsy Toronto which is a good cause. As well, you can donate to the performers and the performers will ask for a bit of change at the end of their acts. Please consider it. A large number of the performers are from out-of-country and are not paid to perform at the event.

Placed around the St. Lawrence Market, Front Street is closed down until Sunday night. A mix of stages – sectioned off areas of the street actually – food stands and merchandise vendors dot the street. With all the people crowded into the area, it looks nothing like a street at all.

This year my friend Joe and I saw a number of acts. We started at Stage 3 where we came across Matt James with Matt Aitchison accompanying him. Matt James is an amazing didgeridoo player having three different ones to play like they were extensions of his own mouth. It’s great. He is a returning performer so if you do not see him this year, you can hope he returns again.

We were lucky to see the last part of PopEyed. This duo (Rudi and Mark) is considered a hand balancing act but they are also a couple of funny guys. The way that these two work so closely together is an amazing thing to see. They are truly on par with any performer from Cirque du Soleil. My friend Joe enjoyed these two out of all the acts we managed to catch.

Next, came Senmaro & Yuki. This couple hails from Japan and they’ll tell you that often throughout their act. They are a balancing act such as PopEyed but they balance objects instead of themselves. They balance tops on tips of fans, blocks of wood on paper umbrellas, and even a spinning top between them on a thin bit of string. They ‘play’ the role of a bickering couple sometimes but you can tell they are more in sync than any bickering couple I know.

There is also BuskerPlay which is right in front of the Rainbow Cinema. A stage set up just for kids! We managed to see The Puppet Tamer – Tim Holland – all the way from Peterborough. He has a good number of puppets that he takes out of his trunk. My favorite was Julius the Turtle. There is also Teletoon on site as well. Your children can get a picture of themselves on a surfboard against a green screen and then pick a Teletoon background. Pretty cool!

We did not get to stay for all the performances that were going on at the time. That’s part of what BuskerFest is though. You can come and go as you please. If you don’t connect with a performer or an act then you can walk on to the next stage. Perhaps the next stage will have something more to your liking.


-Thursday, August 27th, 2009 12:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m
-Friday, August 28th, 2009 12:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m
-Saturday, August 29th, 2009 11:00 a.m. – 11:00 p.m
-Sunday, August 30th, 2009 11:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m
-Location is the St. Lawrence Market Neighbourhood on Front St between Church St and Jarvis St.
-Cost is by donation.