Basking in buskers’ delight
17 January 2008
With year-on-year growth, the 15th World Buskers Festival in Christchurch starting this week is expected to bring in record levels of new money and visitors.
Last year the Buskers Festival attracted a quarter million to Christchurch's central city and generated $ 3.1 million to the economy.
The 2008 programme will feature 40 acts over 10 days, with many new acts joining the old favourites from Thursday night.
This year the Festival added new areas to cater for additional high-calibre acts from around the world. Victoria Square will offer more acrobat and circus type of acts including late nights shows.
"We expect it to be a bigger earner this year, especially since there is new content, a spectacular line-up and virtually non-stop performances in around Christchurch," says Jo Blair, Events Development Manager with the Christchurch City Council.
The Council is the major sponsor and facilitator of the Festival. Ms Blair says the Festival had increased its scope to directly contribute to Christchurch City’s growth strategy and had a synergistic relationship with the Council itself. Christchurch and Canterbury Tourism have also helped profile the event within the South Island to attract visitors to Christchurch.
After 15 years, the Buskers festival has developed a success formula, with rolling performances and increased number of venues. "It could be said that the event is now well and truly hard-wired for success", says Ms Blair.
The scope of co-ordinating the Festival and the number of international acts and visitors that they attract show that the City can step forward with full confidence into any major event, like the Ellerslie Flower Show which it recently acquired.
Ms Blair says the World Buskers Festival deeply reflected the City’s value – as a great place for fun, business and living. In 2006, residents voted it overwhelmingly their favourite event in Christchurch and the one that they saw as the most important to the city.
The estimated $3.1 million incurred in direct expenditure during the Festival not only gives us 10 days of unbridled fun; it adds hugely to our reputation as a destination city, a prime business centre and a particularly highly value lifestyle centre, she says.
Surveyed residents say they like the Festival because of the experience of sharing, its boost to the city image, its capacity to cater to a wide range of age groups and tastes and its accessibility (large number of venues around the city).
Programme details at http://www.worldbuskersfestival.com/
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