The planet’s fiercest fringe talents will soon descend on Christchurch for what will be the best buskers festival of its kind in the world (yep, we said it!). The upcoming extravaganza will play host to a whopping 527 performances (!), including a smorgasbord of heavy-hitters on the entertainment scene such as; Piff the Magic Dragon; Hot Brown Honey, LIMBO, plus a whole lot more. If you’re completely overwhelmed with the First World problem of being spoilt for choice then fret not, we’ve done the hard yards and picked our faves. Best book quickly because these tickets will disappear faster than a sequin in the Spiegeltent.
1.Skeleton of Color
Using smoke grenades to produce psychedelic clouds of smoke, artist Butch Locsin aka Skeleton of Color revels in bringing colour to the darkness by incorporating Hispanic folklore into his performances, most notably his many Dia De Los Muertos skeleton masks, in a prismatic nod to the cultural celebration. The Insta-worthy smoke bomb performances by Skeleton of Color are a dazzling, hyperbolic assault on the senses that you won’t want to miss! Just follow the kaleidoscopic plumes of colour when he explodes onto Worcester Boulevard.
Jan 10 – Feb 3 | Worcester Boulevard
2. Hot Brown Honey
Image: Danika Yakina
Turning up the heat with plenty of colour, culture and controversy, Hot Brown Honey promises to make you ‘laugh until you cry, clap until your hands bleed, dance in the aisles and shake every part of what your mama gave you’ in this genre-defying show that’s packed with sass. Unapologetically fierce and turning tradition on its head, these soul sisters aren’t afraid to pack a punch with a generous dose of empowerment!
Jan 11 – Jan 20 | Assembly Hall – Christ’s College
3. Piff the Magic Dragon
Prepare yourself for some serious belly laughs and mind-bending madness courtesy of Piff the Magic Dragon. Clocking up over 100 million views online, sold-out shows in the US and Canada, a much-lauded appearance on America’s Got Talent and a supporting slot for country crooners Mumford & Sons on their latest tour, this entertainment phenomenon is guaranteed to leave your jaw on the floor. He will be accompanied by Mr Piffles, The World’s Only Magic Performing Chihuahua.
Jan 11 – Jan 20 | Assembly Hall – Christ’s College
Larger-than-life slapstick comedian Tom Flanagan’s award-winning family show is guaranteed to give you the giggles and feels in equal measure, as we see the clumsy ‘Mr Fixit’ take one step forward and two steps back in his lonely, dust-covered world. In what’s been described as utterly enchanting, hilariously funny and a beautifully poignant bit of madness, this silent slapstick acrobatic comedy show has wowed audiences the world over and is one not to miss!
Jan 11 – Jan 20 | The Backstage Social Club – Arts Centre
MulletMan has squeezed back into his stonewash jeans, splashed some diesel in his hair and returned (for the 13th time) to entertain crowds on the streets of Christchurch. As well as having a talent for juggling fire, knives and spanners on a ridiculously tall unicycle, the festival favourite and proud Cantabrian will serve up plenty of audience participation, genuine LOLs and circus stunts when he busks up a storm at the festival.
Jan 11 – Jan 20 | Cathedral Square Pitch; North Quad Pitch; Christchurch Art Gallery Pitch
6. Betty Grumble
Are you Betty to Grumble? The intoxicating cabaret performer who is part surreal showgirl, part obscene beauty queen, part wild woman will entertain audiences with killer dance moves, poetry, self-defence disco, drag, love and a fair bit of nudity. This sex clown is an experiment and testament who chooses to encapsulate the world of ridiculous. Buckle up, expect the unexpected and enjoy the ride with your eyes wide open.
Jan 11 – Jan 19 | The Old Boys’ Theatre – Christ’s College
Image: Tony Virgo
Prepare yourself for a show so mind-blowing that Madonna went to see it twice. With an intoxicating mix of cabaret, gut-churning contortion, breath-taking acrobatics and jaw-dropping stunts, prepare to be blown away by gravity-defying stunts and serenaded by the electrifying beats of New York’s Sxip Shirey. Sign us up!
Jan 10 – Feb 3 | The Spiegeltent
8. Modern Māori Quartet
Image: Josh Griggs Photography
Channelling the revival of ‘rat pack’ showband entertainment of bygone eras with a proud heritage of Māori traditions, this charismatic four-piece share their aroha (love) through waiata (song) paired with their signature comedy and soul-soothing harmonies. Expect Māori showband hits, Kiwi classics, original music, seriously impressive suits and a whole lotta irresistible old-skool charm. Prepare to be spellbound by the Modern Māori Quartet!
Jan 22 – Jan 23 | The Spiegeltent.
9. Pub Choir
In what looks to be the most fun you can have sans a karaoke machine, Pub Choir asks us to open your sound hole (your mouth), get out of your comfort zone, channel your inner rock star and get into the rowdy, wholesome fun. A phenomenon that started in Brisbane a year ago and has since experienced a huge upswing in popularity, this interactive experience will have participants learn a three-part harmony in 90 minutes, and by the end of it, Pub Choir promise you’ll surprise yourself silly with how good you sound.
Jan 11 | Sixty6 on Peterborough; Jan 12/Jan 13 | The Spiegeltent
10. Breaking Bread
Image: Malia Rose
Punters are invited to hit pause on the performances and break bread at the Backstage Social Club. Fan boy/girl with the international and local artists, established and emerging producers, facilitators and enthusiasts while revelling in the buzz of what is unquestionably the best buskers festival in the Southern Hemisphere. Free to enter, good chats guaranteed and d-floor participation encouraged.
Jan 15 | The Backstage Social Club, Arts Centre
Bread and Circus – World Buskers Festival
Jan 10 – Feb 3, Christchurch