The Halifax Busker Festival spotlights local talents and street performers from around the globe
Death-defying feats, mind-boggling illusions, side-splitting comedy, and acrobatic grace—showcasing street performers from around the world, the Halifax Busker Festival is one of the city’s most beloved summer celebrations. From August 2 to 7, five Halifax waterfront stages, from the Historic Properties to Bishop’s Landing, host free shows daily.
Drawing throngs of locals and visitors alike, these shows provide rollicking entertainment for the whole family. This year, the lineup includes American “acrobat stooges” Throw2Catch. Veterans of the acclaimed Montreal Circus Festival, they combine zany comedy with high-energy acrobatics. Expect “outstanding performances, ingenious conjuring tricks, extravagant dance steps, and memorable interventions with the public.”
Always a BuskerFest favourite, Australian contortionist Bendy Em returns to Halifax this month. Originally from the U.K., Emma Kerger is a former competitive gymnast and dancer, who contorts her body into “freakily mindboggling positions.” The highlight is when she squeezes herself into a tiny Perspex box, balanced atop a 2-metre rig. You have to see it to believe it.
FlameOz is another muchloved Aussie export. The pyromaniacal troupe marries dance, juggling, acrobatics, hula hooping, and a whole lot of fire into a combustible high-energy show. They’re one of the festival’s most popular acts every summer.
Regular festival-goers also hold a special place in their hearts for Silver Elvis. The chromatic King brings Presley to life like no other impersonator. He dances for donations, he poses for selfies, he sings “Hound Dog.” It’s cheesy, nostalgic, and just plain fun.
Living statue Jenny Jupiter taps a similar vein of silliness. The interactive character artist combines mime and clowning to bring her retro-futurist (think Buck Rogers) character to life.
Sharon From Canada delights homegrown fans. The hilarious character clown and selfappointed ambassador for the Great White North skewers Canadian stereotypes, wooing audiences with patriotism, politeness, political correctness, and extreme passive aggression. Canadians will roar; international visitors will furrow their brows and say “I don’t get it.”
If you’re the sort of person who watches magic shows and says “They’re not tricks! They’re illusions…” make sure you see Diogo Alvares. The Brazilian “Master Manipulator” performs a silent show with a musical backdrop, performing illusions with cards, billiard balls, cigarettes, and other ungimmicked items. As the show builds, he offers audiences a spectacle of illusionism that you can usually only see in a theatre show.
Finally, don’t miss local star Mighty Mike. At age 14, he sat in the front row at BuskerFest and vowed to perform there some day. As he grew up, Haligonians could see him juggling oranges outside a local grocery store. From those beginnings, he built a classic vaudeville routine and set a Guinness World Record for juggling. Equally impressive are his feats of strength: see him juggle sledgehammers, drive nails with his bare hands, and more.