Ottawa International Buskerfest kicks off

By Jake Munro 

With over 175,000 people expected to attend and over 20 performers, Ottawa’s International Buskerfest is ready to blow the doors off of Sparks Street this coming long weekend from August 2-5. 

The star-studded festival lineup features performers of more than 20 nationalities, including Australia’s Zap Circus, a group that specializes in high-flying acrobatics and pyrotechnics; America’s Magic Brian, a magician who blends his conjurations with comedy to stellar results; and the United Kingdom’s Mat Ricardo, the man who has delivered a TEDx talk on street performance. 


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Thank you for making this year’s Busker Fest the best one yet! We hope to see you all back next year @sparks_street!

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“I’m really looking forward to seeing Mat Ricardo again. He’s touted as the world’s greatest variety performer,” said Brian Wilson, a producer of the Ottawa International Buskerfest. “But, all the performers are my favourites. They’re all really good.” 

To Wilson, part of what makes the street festival so amazing is how many people are able to attend. 

“It’s Ottawa’s most accessible festival. Shows are open to the public, they are pay what you can, and they’re right at street level right on Sparks Street. So, anyone can go and check them out,” Wilson explained. 

While the big ticket performers will of course be a wonder to witness, the street festival will also be chock-full of smaller acts. Balloon artists, face painters, and henna artists will be plying their craft all over Sparks Street, while acts such as stilt-walkers, jugglers, and clowns will be wandering around the festival for everyone’s entertainment. 

“We’re also going to have a circus school on-site, where people can come in and learn how to juggle and do other circus tricks,” said Wilson. 

Buskers are forced to hone their craft on the street, where an uncontrolled audience always has to be taken into account. In most cases, a performer has to be so captivating that a person will literally stop in their tracks to watch the show. So, because of this, Wilson can’t stress enough how much talent is on display at this festival. 

“It’s a once in a lifetime chance to see these shows. These are world class performers and they don’t get a chance to come to Ottawa very often,” said Wilson. “Some of them have never been here, so it’s a chance to see these amazing, international-level shows at street level.” 

Don’t miss this incredible festival! The festival kicked off on Friday afternoon and its grand finale is August 5 at 5:30 p.m. so make this a weekend you’ll never forget! 

Make sure to check out the Ottawa International Buskerfest website here, and all of their social media to make sure you don’t miss a performance. #GetFestive #SoyeDeLaFete

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