Super Bowl of Street Performers: Vancouver International Busker Festival, July 9-15

Photo credit: Mark Klotz | Flickr

Musicians.  Freaks.  Jugglers.  Acrobats.  And – just maybe – the sexiest man alive in Spandex.

This week the streets of downtown Vancouver come alive with street performances as part of the Vancouver International Busker Festival.  Top buskers from around the city and around the world will converge on Granville Street, the West End and multiple satellite locations for a week of world-class street entertainment.

So what’s on tap?  Organizers haven’t released a complete list of buskers yet, but we do know a few headliners.  There’s Chalkmaster Dave, who hails from Toronto and creates mammoth works of chalk art right on the pavement.  And the rowdy LOL Brothers, two hairy guys in white tank tops who juggle fire, swords and much more.   Not to mention the comic stylings of Basketball Jones, who comes from New Zealand, wears an afro wig and juggles basketballs.

All this out-of-town talent is of course supplemented by Vancouver’s own robust busking community – magicians, musicians, rope skippers, acrobats and more.

The action gets started on July 9-July 13 with daily performances in the West End (probably Davie and Denman Streets, though this hasn’t been confirmed) from 6 p.m.-10 p.m.  Gastown joins the act with live street theatre on July 12 and July 13.

The main event goes down on Granville Street over the weekend of July 14-July 15.  You can also catch performances on those dates around Canada Place.

But the big question on everyone’s mind (or at least mine) is what about Spandy Andy?  Andy, of course, is Vancouver’s reigning busking king.  Dressed in homemade, skin-tight Spandex suits (often with rainbow-coloured designs), Andy dances on the streets to disco, rock and pop classics blared from his signature boombox.

He’s got great moves but the real draw is his personality.  Wearing nothing but a huge smile and a little bit of Spandex, he can get even the shyest of crowds to bust a groove.  No word yet on whether Andy will be in town for the festival, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

Do you have a favourite Vancouver busker?  Give him/her some love below. 

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