York’s buskers have got a bad rap over the years. For years they were barely tolerated by many residents as one of the unfortunate by-products of living in a tourist city, and even put on a par with beggars.
To be fair, the standards haven’t always been so high. When anyone could pitch up with a badly-tuned guitar and hat full of pennies, often the right response was a quickened step and a pair of earplugs.
But since the city woke up to the potential life-enhancing qualities of good busking and started licensing street performers, al fresco entertainment has made York a much better place to live in.
And now we have Buskival – York’s first festival of busking, taking place on our footstreets on Saturday and Sunday. Here’s a taste of five of the best to watch out for…
From Australia, Mr Spin is described as a “highly skilled, comic vaudevillian style street/circus act”. His juggling skills are legendary, with diabolo, Chinese devil-sticking with baseball bats, one ball manipulation and an eight ball juggle. Also look out for his suicycal skills…
Faces Of Disco
TV talent show favourites Faces of Disco are a double act, Liam Collins and Richard Edmonds, who disco dance while wearing masks of various celebrities. In 2007 they finished runners up on BBC’s Let Me Entertain You, in 2009 became live-finalists on Britains Got Talent and now they’re in York. Be prepared to be entertained and slightly freaked out at the same time.
Eighties disco-dancing queen Felicity Footloose just loves to shake her thing. Oh, and to juggle knives while upside down. The alter ego of Londoner Natasha McGhie, Felicity has taken her show all over the world.
Ernest The Magnifico
Another Australian – well, they have the weather for street entertainment over there – Ernest The Magnifico is a stuntman who performs various feats of daredevilry, including a flying car jump and balloon popping on a high-powered pogo stick. Ernest is really Julian Bell, a contortionist, sword-swallower and circus all-rounder.
Rob Roy Collins
Get yourself out of this! And he will. Nothing can hold escapologist Rob Roy Collins. He even wriggled free from a strait jacket while hanging by his ankles from a helicopter in flight over a lake in Canada. He’s also very funny.