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Buskerfest 2013

Posted by on September 13, 2013

I have tried to have few “destinations” in mind, particularly date specific ones. Once you’ve got an event to attend, everything you do, every place you go —and for how long you stay— then begins to revolve around getting “there” on time. Because of this additional pressure, you convince yourself, and anyone else you’ve stressed out, that the extra effort will be well worth it.

Halifax Busker Festival

Halifax Busker Festival

That said, it should have come as no surprise that my desire to see the Busker Festival in Halifax between July 31 and August 5 pretty much ruled every aspect of our trip from Philadelphia starting July 20. It also created great, unrealistic expectations.

With eager anticipation, we boarded the ferry in Dartmouth so that we could approach the Halifax wharf by boat as we had done in Quebec City last summer. Although not as spectacular as Quebec, arriving anywhere by boat feels special and so it was that hot July day.

In my vision of a Busker Festival, I had seen entertainers all over the city playing and performing in their natural habitat: on street corners, courtyards and plazas, in parks, subways and doorways, hoping to attract an audience to fill their hats and guitar cases. That is what we experienced with Quebec’s Buskers last year. Some were great and some only mediocre, but all put themselves out there and in doing so endeared us to them.

The organizers of the Halifax Busker Festival evidently had a different vision in mind. When we inquired at the visitors’ bureau, we were handed a map and a schedule of Busker performances. Yes, you heard right: schedule; and yes, acts performed on stages.  There were five stages, each with three acts rotating every three hours for the six-day event.  At the Bell Aliant stage, you could watch Reuben dotdotdot, formerly with Cirque de Soleil , do acrobatics on a 15 ft. pole at noon. At 2:00 you might segue over to the Summit Stage to hear Brother, whose ethereal rock music combined the unlikely trio of didgeridoo, bagpipes and drums. At 5:00 you could be part of the crowd at the WestJet stage where double-jointed Lisa Lottie whirled her battalion of hoola hoops while contorting her lovely body into a myriad of pretzel shapes. The 8:00 finale might find you watching Men in Coats, a busker team who has actually made it to late night TV.

My point is that this wasn’t a bunch of itinerant performers traveling from place to place, guided by the weather and life’s serendipity. This was a polished, invitation-only showcase of talent. And although the Halifax Busker Festival lacked the spontaneity I had expected, it ensured that the audience saw only the best of the best.

14 Responses to Buskerfest 2013

  1. Manny & Roz

    Email from Laurie Gibson:

    I love what you’re doing! What a fun and exciting adventure! Will you
    get to California at some point??? I know Mary Ann, Margie and Jim
    would love to see you and so would I!!!

    All the best – Laurie

    P.S. – keep the good travel posts coming…they are very enjoyable!!!

  2. R. Michael Ritter

    Even though these were not spontaneous shows as in Quebec I am sure you enjoyed the acts.
    There is though nothing more exciting than traveling without an itinerary.
    I have done that before and that is how you find gems like the Rocks Rocked.

  3. Manny & Roz

    Email from Eva María:

    I’m glad you’re having fun.

  4. Manny & Roz

    Email from Mike Webber:

    Hi guys. I have been following your story for a while now. I intend to
    follow in your footsteps one day, maybe in a Unity 🙂

    I was wondering what happened to your plans to head over to Europe.
    Have you delayed, or changed your minds ?

    Love your site here. You must be very talented !!

  5. Peter Liller

    Great posting, seems like it was a great choice. Thanks.

  6. Roger Olson

    I still think you need pontoons on that thing so you can visit me in Panama. However, you can drive you know. Many do!

  7. Manny & Roz

    Email from Joan Adams:

    Thank you. Enjoyed your adventure. Hope to do the same!

  8. Mo

    It is always nice to follow your travels. I learned a new word too ~ “busker”. Thank you and it was nice to hear from you guys. Have fun and be safe. Always, Mo & Paul

  9. Ron Siscoe

    Wow the festival has changed a lot since I lived in Halifax. It use to be all over the city on street corners. It was much more authentic. I am disappointed to hear they changed the format. Part of the appeal was to find and be surprised at what you saw or discovered. Hope you enjoy the rest of your trip. Ron

  10. Kathy

    Sounds like you are having wonderful travels again this year.

  11. Elwood H. Buskington 3rd

    Kool…. Busking is good…… I’ve been Busking my hump here…. 🙂

  12. Gene holcomb

    Sounds like great fun, enjoy your travels.

  13. Jessica Maris

    Even though there was a schedule im sure it was a fun time 🙂 Sounds like there was at least a lot going on. Worth a viewing to say the very least!

  14. reclaimingjill

    I loved the video! What a nice touch. If your descriptions didn’t make me feel like I was there (which they do), then the video certainly would. Another thing to add to my list.

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