After an incredible 25th anniversary celebration in 2013 featuring former busker and Bare Naked Ladies Steven Page and a lineup of busker favourites from over the years, how do you keep the momentum going at the 26th annual carnival from August 21st to 24th in 2014?
The idea of bringing first time buskers to the carnival was top of the list. So the hunt was on and 9 First Timers were lined up to appear for the very first time in Waterloo. It wasnt easy. One group from overseas went off the radar after indicating they were interested while another act was waiting to see if their contract was going to be extended. It made for an interesting spring as the other buskers including three Fan Favourites were gradually announced heading towards the carnival. In the end, two different acts were signed on and ended up being crowd favourites! Youll find complete list of the 2014 busker lineup below.
CHALKMASTER DAVE, Toronto
Chalk - Street Artistry Chalkmaster Dave is a Toronto born artist whose specialty is chalk art. This unique art form has won him numerous awards across Canada and around the world. In addition to his incredible 3D chalk creations, Chalkmaster Dave artwork also extends to murals and paintings on canvas, walls, and ceilings. He's definitely a favourite of busker fans in Waterloo Region.
COPPER COWGIRL, Victoria
Mime, Human Statue Sweet and sassy, the Copper Cowgirl is a human statue with a unique blend of visual performance, comedy, and character. Taking inspiration from such great women of the Wild West as Calamity Jane, and Annie Oakley, the Copper Cowgirl is friendly yet trigger happy as she dazzles you with part performance art and part Wild West clown.
DEREK DEREK, Boulder, Colorado
Chinese Pole Acrobatics, Silent Clowning, Dancing, Comedy, Juggling Take a fantastically funny combination of chinese pole acrobatics, audience participation, nerdy dancing, clowning, and a family friendly striptease and what do you get? A love story of course busker style and all without saying a word! Its Derek Derek at his bumbling best as he frantically woos his intended with a flurry of last minute feats on a 20 foot Chinese pole.
DREAM STATE CIRCUS, Australia
Acrobatics, Juggling, Fire Dance, Equilibrium, Comedy This internationally renowned Aussie/English duo have delighted audiences in over 30 countries around the world. Featuring hand balancing, juggling, and equilibrium, Dream State Circus presents a brilliant balance between comedy and danger. Their night shows feature fire manipulation combined with acro and dance to create one fiery act.
FUNNY BONES, Tokyo, Japan
Juggling, Fire Eating, Magic, Comedy, Acrobatics For over a decade, this world class busker act has delivered hilarious, ad-lib comedy with forever changing routines involving giant puppetry, acrobatics, slapstick, voice percussion, dance, magic, hat juggling and much more. Not a word is spoken as this non verbal act astounds you with performance originality that will leave you wanting more.
JONATHAN BURNS, Philadelphia
Contortions, Stunts, Comedy It started with crazy stunts for his family and now, Jonathan Burns wows audiences around the world. His pretzel-like contortions have been featured on the Tonight Show and the Late Show with David Letterman. Defying both logic and gravity, Jonathan will keep you laughing as he bends his body into near impossible positions.
KILTED COLIN, Boston
Bagpipe, Unicycle, Comedy, Dance Kilted Colin has wowed audiences across the globe with his unique, high energy comedy show. His antics landed him a stint on Comedy Central and he's currently part of Faneuil Hall's world renowned Street Performer Program in Boston. He bagpipes, he dances, he juggles, he unicycles, and he does it all amazingly enough in a kilt.
LISA LOTTIE, The Netherlands
Contortions, Hoola Hoops, Comedy Stunningly agile and unbelievably flexible, Lisa Lottie's beauty, charm, and pure athletic ability will captivate you. Her contortions are world class and her hula hoop tricks are outstanding including one of the most complicated stunts ever attempted. The sky is the limit as she bends and balances with hoola hoops virtually everywhere!
MARIO - QUEEN OF THE CIRCUS, New York City
Juggling, unicycle, comedy, showmanship A born showman and expert in both circus artistry and comedy, Mario is one of the most sought after busker acts in the world. He will rock you with his unique mix of complex juggling tricks and legendary anthems of his favourite super group, Queen. From body surfing to the ultimate in showmanship and entertainment, don't miss Mario - Queen of the Circus.
PYROMANCER, The Netherlands
Fire Breathing Even dragons cant breathe fire as long as the Pyromancer. Fire roars from his mouth not once but several times as bursts of flame stretch out in unbelievable bursts. His spectacular fire show is world class while his humour and charm burn brighter than the flames in his hands. Day or night, his searing performance is guaranteed to delight all ages.
THE RED TROUSER SHOW, Boston
Acrobatics, Fire Juggling, Extreme Ladder Stunts, Comedy A Fan Favourite from 2009 (Do you remember their name back then? Check PAST BUSKERS on waterloobuskers.com), The Red Trouser Show performs a never-before-seen combination of precision acrobatics and juggling that ends high in the air with extreme ladder stunts. There's never a dull moment with non-stop action and fun-filled comedy from start to finish.
Rob Roy Collins, England
Escapology, Comedy, Acrobatics World renowned for escapology, comedy, and acrobatics, Rob Roy Collins is a Fan Favourite who combines the perfect blend of laughter, danger, and excitement. Improvisation, quick witted wise cracks, and crowd participation create a unique atmosphere that will leave you in amazement and hysterics. This highly polished show is a favourite of all ages.
How do you top the Steven Page concert to open the carnival? He absolutely packed Waterloo Public Square and even did an unplanned encore much to the delight of everyone in attendance. Perhaps, someone daring enough to hang upside down in a straight jacket would be an exciting way to open the 26th carnival. Rob Roy Collins, one of the carnivals top Fan Favourites said he would do just that but this time, he would escape while dangling high above Waterloo Public Square from a crane.
The planning for this stunt took months to plan and coordinate. Thanks to Rob Roy (from overseas in England), his rigging specialist Tyler Burke from Suspended Animation Circus in Toronto, Luca Torossi and crane operators from United Rentals, City of Waterloo staff, and Busker committee members, The Great Escape launched the 2014 carnival with a thrilling, up close and personal, stunt from high above the crowd. Our video from that day including a camera angle from up on top of the crane captures the buzz of the crowd that day as MCs George and Tara from radio media sponsor CHYM-FM helped out from down below.
Despite chances of rain, the carnival went on without a hitch and up to 80 thousand busker fans converged on UpTown Waterloo to enjoy 4 days of fabulous busker fun!