Akron McKenzie

Plenty of laughs to be had at international buskers festival

Akron McKenzie isn't entirely sure how his show will unfold at the Victoria International Buskers Festival, but there's bound to be laughs.

He’s not entirely sure how his show will unfold when he steps in front of the audience at the Victoria International Buskers Festival later this week, but one thing Akron McKenzie is sure of is there’s bound to be plenty of laughs.

So far the plan is to start with a sheet over his head, stumbling around and bumping into people before unveiling his repertoire of comedy circus skills like juggling fire. The grand finale? A big fat batman riding a unicycle.

“It looks ridiculous, but people are going to laugh at it,” said McKenzie, also known as Akron the Bizarre. “I just try to get people to laugh at unusual behaviour.”

The 41-year-old Victoria resident has been a full-time street performer for the past 21 years and is one of 75 to 100 names from across Canada, Australia, the UK, USA, Sweden and the Netherlands on the roster for the sixth annual Victoria International Buskers Festival.

The 10-day festival includes free hourly shows at Bastion Square, the Bay Centre, the Victoria Public Market at the Hudson and Uptown. Included in this year’s line up is the return of 2014’s popular Flame Oz fire show from Australia along with multiple People’s Choice award winner, soccer ball juggler Victor Rubilar. New acts include the Flying Dutchmen duo from Amsterdam, Toronto’s Silver Starlets aerial team, Montreal’s Hand Me Down Circus and Kate Wright of Australia.

“I equate it to a circus themed cruise ship pulling into downtown with local buskers joining in to present 10 days of fun,” said John Vickers, the festival’s executive director. “It’s going to be as amazing as everyone has come to expect with truly awesome talent.”

This year marks the first time McKenzie will be performing in the festival. He usually does about 180 shows during the course of the summer, many of which take place in Victoria’s Inner Harbour. Half the year is spent overseas, performing at festivals and on the streets of various cities throughout Europe.

McKenzie’s interest in street performers began when he attended the Edmonton Fringe Festival at the age of 15. He soon learned how to juggle, picking up other circus tricks along the way, and has never looked back.

“I like the independence of it, being able to go out and making people laugh anywhere, any place. And I like the honesty of it too, which is why I think I’ve been doing it so long,” said McKenzie, adding sometimes it can take a while to gather a crowd. The direction of his shows often depend on the reaction he receives from the audience.

“You wonder should I quit or keep on going or what should I do? When you get on top of that and you conquer it, you feel like wow, I just did that, it came together.”

The International Buskers Festival runs from Friday, July 15 to Sunday, July 24. For more information about shows and locations visit victoriabuskers.com.

 

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Felix Townsin, shown here with his sister, Lexi, who died on Oct. 19, 2019. Felix is a big part of a family initiative aimed at finding a cure for Blau Syndrome. (Photo contributed by the Townsin family)
Quest to cure Blau syndrome a family affair

John Stubbs student produces film for late little sister Lexi

An untitled Emily Carr painting of Finlayson Point was donated to the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria by brothers Ian and Andrew Burchett. The painting had been in their family for several decades. (Courtesy of the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria)
Newly public Emily Carr painting depicts well-known Victoria view

Painting among several donated to Art Gallery of Greater Victoria

An incident on Sooke Road is slowing traffic Wednesday evening. (Courtesy of Mona Hazeldine)
Sooke Road incident snarls evening traffic

Witnesses report two-vehicle collision

Janet Austin, lieutenant governor of B.C., was presented with the first poppy of the Royal Canadian Legion’s 2020 Poppy Campaign on Wednesday. (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)
PHOTOS: B.C. Lieutenant Governor receives first poppy to kick off 2020 campaign

Janet Austin ‘honour and a privileged’ to receive the poppy

Soccer player Ethan Finnigan juggles the ball at Oak Bay High. The Grade 12 student was injured much of last year and was relying on his senior year to score a scholarship and play at university. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)
High school athletes remain on sidelines across B.C.

Recruiting for university on hiatus, future unknown

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, Oct. 26, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count jumps by 287, another senior home outbreak

Two more deaths recorded, community outbreak in Okanagan

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Oct. 27

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

MMFN First Nation has said that it will restrict access to portion of Highway 28 that passes through the Nation’s land until a road use agreement is reached. (Black Press file photo)
Vancouver Island First Nation blocks highway access to logging trucks in Gold River

Mowachaht/Muchalaht First Nation restricting access for Western Forest Products pending road deal

100 Mile Conservation officer Joel Kline gingerly holds an injured but very much alive bald eagle after extracting him from a motorist’s minivan. (Photo submitted)
Rescued bald eagle that came to life in B.C. man’s car had lead poisoning

Bird is on medication and recovering in rehab centre

The B.C. Centre for Disease control is telling people to keep an eye out for the poisonous death cap mushroom, which thrives in fall weather conditions. (Paul Kroeger/BCCDC)
Highly poisonous death cap mushroom discovered in Comox

This marks first discovery on Vancouver Island outside Greater Victoria area

Cowichan Search and Rescue set up near the Silver Bridge in Duncan on Wednesday morning, Oct. 28, 2020 to rescue a dog from the Cowichan River. (Citizen file)
Cowichan Search and Rescue save dog from icy Cowichan River

Search and Rescue’s swiftwater team was called in

Premier-elect John Horgan and cabinet ministers are sworn in for the first time at Government House in Victoria, July 18, 2017. (Arnold Lim/Black Press)
Pandemic payments have to wait for B.C. vote count, swearing-in

Small businesses advised to apply even if they don’t qualify

A raccoon paid a visit to a Toronto Tim Hortons on Oct. 22, 2020. (shecallsmedrew/Twitter)
Who are you calling a trash panda? Raccoon takes a shift at Toronto Tim Hortons

Tim Hortons said animal control was called as soon they saw the surprise visitor

Most Read