What do Macedonia, Portugal, the Netherlands, Norway, and Fort Wayne have in common? They all held some form of busker celebration in June and can be referenced on Busker Central, which provides a calendar of events starring buskers and street performers all around the world. Although not an international event, it is locally renowned and hosted by the The Downtown Improvement District (DID). This year marked the fifth-annual celebration of Fort Wayne's BuskerFest, a celebration of street performers with all kinds of quirky live art, including "musicians, jugglers, living statues, stilt walkers, and pyrotechnics."
What exactly is a busker? A busker is "a person who performs art in public places for donations of money. They are also referred to as street performers, traveling musicians, street entertainers, circle acts, street musicians, street theater, sidewalk, subway, and street-corner performers, minstrels, troubadours, and bards of Shakespearean decent." The professional buskers at BuskerFest were from T.A.G. Art, the Cincinnati Circus, and Joy Unspeakable.
One Summit Square and parts of Wayne and Calhoun streets were taken over on the last Saturday of the month, and enlivened with staged acts, mimes, face painters, balloon artists, and more to entertain the hundreds who gathered to watch. A festival of the unexpected, entrance was free and the whole scene was very family friendly. 15 scheduled acts took center stage, including a three-round dance-off between between River City Breakers and B-Boy Break, Pogo Fred, and local group, the Wickersham Brothers.
Observers also had the option of perusing the Art Market for unique items crafted by local artists, visiting Downtown restaurants and food trucks, or partaking in JK O’Donnell’s beer tent along Wayne Street. All in all, everyone had a good time. Check out a few of our photos and see for yourself:
Photos by Tony Frantz