Contortionist Jonathan Burns of Pennsylvania balances a ball on his forehead while bent into an unbelievable position at the International Busker’s Festival in July 2012.

Flame-throwers, jugglers and acrobats – oh, my

Buskers ready to entertain at annual downtown festival

Final preparations are underway for Victoria’s most attended festival of the year when dozens of street performers wow tens of thousands of onlookers in downtown Victoria.

The 10-day Victoria International Buskers Festival takes over Government Street, Bastion Square, Ship Point and – new this year – the lower Wharf Street parking lot and the Royal B.C. Museum grounds to showcase jugglers, acrobats, musicians and francophone culture starting July 18.

“People are usually surprised when I tell them there’s around 400 hours of programming that goes into this, when you consider all the stages and busker stops,” said John Vickers, executive director of the festival.

Buskers include magicians, acrobats, jugglers, flame throwers, musicians and actors, as well as headlining all-stars like Australia-based fire troupe Flame Oz, five-time Guinness world record holder Victor Rubilar (Argentina) and hula hoop queen Becky Hoops (Montreal).

“We feel we had around 200,000 attendees last year,” Vickers said. “Deuce Days was here, and that helped, but it just seemed full-on non-stop for 10 days. I think this year if we can hold our own as good as last year, we’ll be ecstatic.”

Vickers said the festival is a collaboration between tourism partners, as the Hotel Association of Greater Victoria provides more than 200 room nights at no charge to house buskers each year.

“We do a lot of surveys with audiences and last year, over 60 per cent of U.S. residents said they’d come back this year. That’s a great sign,” he said.

Capping off the festival is an all-stars performance on the lawns of the Fairmont Empress Hotel, July 27 at 5 p.m.

Vickers teased it as an hour and a half extravaganza of favourite performers from years past and present.

For a full schedule, visit or pick up a copy at the festival office at 1113 Langley St.


Just Posted

Esquimalt requests public feedback as it plans for plastic bag ban

An online survey aims to gather information before the ban comes into effect in January 2020

Unattended cooking causes fire in Songhees Nation home

Two people treated for injuries, one transported to hospital Monday evening

Busy Tuesday for BC Ferries passengers

First sailings to and from Swartz Bay sold out

Rain with a high of 16 C for Tuesday

Plus your weekly forecast

Canada Women’s Rugby 7s Team land at home after series triumph

Next stop at Langford offers Olympic qualification

Easter bombings a response to New Zealand attacks, says Sri Lanka minister

The Islamic State group asserted it was responsible for the nine bombings

New commemorative loonie marking ‘progress’ for LGBTQ2 people to be unveiled today

But advocates say it mistakenly suggests equality has been achieved largely as a result of government actions

B.C. VIEWS: NDP’s lawyer show is turning into a horror movie

Court actions pile up over pipelines, car insurance, care aides

United Way opens grants to help charities tackle social issues

Charities north of the Malahat can apply for grants $2,000 to $20,000

POLL: How often does your family use BC Ferries?

Navigating the lineups for BC Ferries is a way of life for… Continue reading

Crime Stoppers most wanted for Greater Victoria for the week of April 16

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

Sri Lanka invokes war-time military powers after nearly 300 killed in Easter bombings

Sri Lanka’s minister of tourism says 39 foreign tourists were killed in the Easter Sunday attacks

Man’s body found in popular Cowichan Valley hiking area

Police say death not suspicious after discovery in Stoney Hill area overlooking Saltspring Island

Most Read