Surrounded by hundreds of expectant faces, Victor Rubilar has the calm disposition of a seasoned professional.
And a professional he is – one that plies his trade juggling soccer balls with his feet, spinning and bouncing them on his forehead, stalling them on his back and juggling five of them at a time.
The guy’s got a way with soccer balls.
Hailing from Sweden, Rubilar holds four Guiness World Records. Last year, he performed at 251 shows and this year, before making his way to the inaugural Victoria International Buskers Festival, he’ll spend a few weeks in Qatar, at the Asian Football Cup.
He’s one of more than 15 acts coming to the festival, organized by John Vickers.
“I hail from the Maritimes originally,” Vickers said, referencing the successful Halifax International Buskers Festival. “It struck me that Victoria has such a picturesque downtown and we seem to be lacking when it comes to free-to-attend family-oriented festivals.”
After taking in the East Coast version of the event, Vickers teamed up with Sharon Mahoney, who goes by the performer’s name Tallulah.
“John and I worked together to create as much of a diverse lineup (as we could),” Mahoney said in an email from Ireland, where she was performing.
The range of acts at the festival, which takes to six stages between July 15 and 24 span from the goofy (“contemporary clown” Fraser Hooper from the U.K.) to the awe-inspiring (the U.S.-based Aerial Angels, who dangle overhead from bright pink ribbons) to the shocking (New Zealand’s Bendy Em can fit herself inside a 40-centimetre box).
Those are just the visiting acts. Plenty of local buskers will perform during the week-long event as well, including the lower causeway’s one-man band, Dave Harris.
Vickers said he’s looking forward to Flame Oz, a group of dancers and performers whose props include fire.
“They’ve won people’s choice awards at other international festivals around the world,” Vickers said.
For more information, pick up the festival booklet for $2 at the Bay Centre’s lower level kiosk. Proceeds go to the Victoria Youth Clinic.
Did you know?
Performances happen on six stages:
• Two at Ship Point
• Lower causeway of the Inner Harbour
• The Fairmont Empress lawn
• Bastion Square
• The Bay Centre’s centre court (from noon to 2 p.m. only)