Juggler Aaron Gregg has been a busker for more than 15 years.

Juggler Aaron Gregg has been a busker for more than 15 years.

Here come the buskers

Ten-day street performer festival kicks off Friday with more than 100 international and local acts ready to perform

  • Jul. 16, 2014 6:00 a.m.

Akron and Aaron Gregg are street workers.

For the two Victoria professional street performers, more commonly known as buskers, the Victoria International Buskers Festival opens a door of opportunity.

Both Gregg and Akron work regularly along the Inner Harbour in a rotation with other street performers through the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority.

With more people in town for the festival, the two expect their donation caps to be brimming with money over the next 10 days.

More than 100 professional street performers are expected to attend this year’s festival from July 18 to 27.

The free festival includes world-class break dancers, acrobatic spectacles, stage plays and mimes on seven stages throughout the downtown core, said executive director John Vickers.

“We’re presenting more than 1,000 hours of programming. It really is a spectacular amount of busker talent.”

Akron, 39, has been busking for more than 18 years, the last four in Victoria.

His act is full of comedy, juggling and fire.

“What I really like (about juggling) is the ability to pull people off the street and give them a theatre performance,” he said.

“A lot of what I do in Victoria is discovering what appeals to audiences.”

Akron works eight months of the year full-time as a busker and then takes some downtime. Last year he also performed on Pier 39 in San Franciso.

“The show has evolved over the last 18 years. I’ll keep some things, take away things and add new things.”

For Gregg, a Fernwood resident, his busking tricks are a door to comedy.

“The tricks are an excuse to tell jokes,” he said.

Gregg has been a busker for 15 years. He taught himself how to juggle while attending Saanich’s Mt. Doug High School.

Now, it seems, he can juggle almost everything from chainsaws (yes, chainsaws) to fire batons.

He performs in several arts and theatre festivals every year.

“I thought about becoming a comedian,” he said, “but it doesn’t pay unless you’re famous.”

Neither Akron or Gregg are on the official list of for the busker festival, but Vickers said that doesn’t matter. “Any street busker is encouraged to participate as long as they have a city busker licence. It’s one big celebration of busking.”

Events run until 10 p.m. daily through July 27. For more information, please go online to victoriabuskers.com.

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