FLYING TORTILLAS, JOHNMAN, JACK WISE and More Set for Scotiabank BuskerFest 2014, Kicking Off Today
Toronto's Downtown Yonge Neighbourhood will welcome even more amazing entertainment - and a healthy dose of silliness - as Epilepsy Toronto, in partnership with the Downtown Yonge BIA, announces more new and returning acts at its signature fundraising event, Scotiabank BuskerFest. The 15th edition of Toronto's international street performers festival runs today, August 21 to Sunday, August 24 throughout the Yonge Street corridor, from Queen to College Streets (which will be closed to traffic) and surrounding areas (including Trinity Square Park, Yonge-Dundas Square and Gould Street).
Last year, an estimated one-and-a-half million spectators enjoyed dare-devil stunts, fire manipulations, acrobatics, aerial, music, magic, comedy, contortion, dance, balloon creations, mime and some acts that defied description at North America's largest street performers festival (and the largest epilepsy support event on the planet).
More entertainers than ever before - over 160 world-class buskers in over 65 acts from across Canada and around the globe - promise to make this year's Scotiabank BuskerFest even bigger and better. And it's all in support of a great cause: admission is by donation to Epilepsy Toronto.
As always, buskers retain proceeds from "the hat" passed after their performances, but for the first time ever, each performing act will be doing one benefit performance on the Scotiabank Stage in Yonge-Dundas Square over the course of the festival, with all proceeds going to Epilepsy Toronto.
Among the terrific new acts coming for their first time ever to Scotiabank BuskerFest are:
- The Famous Rubberband Boy (New Zealand): The freakiest boy in show business makes his Toronto debut. This double Guinness World Record Holder has acts of facial contortion that have been admired in 26 countries throughout the world and performs the most outrageous straightjacket pogo stick escape you'll ever see. Man or Monster? You decide!
- Flying Tortillas (USA): This group of young, athletic performers from Huntington Beach, California incorporate acrobatics, stunts, tumbling, break dancing and comedy into one thrilling performance!
- JOHNman (Germany): Two-time winner of the World Living Statues Competition in the Netherlands (the only one in the world to do so), returns with two NEW acts to the festival: WOODY, a wooden figure that carves himself from a tree trunk, and his award winning BLANKO, a white figure on a white pedestal, designed in colour by the audience itself.
- MaracaTall (Toronto): This high energy, high impact troupe of stilt drummers with choreographed moves and colourful costumes play Maracatu and other afro-Brazilian rhythms on oversized traditional drums.
- Throw2Catch (Québec): Their high skill acrobatics, juggling, Russian Bar, Cyr Wheel and Teeterboard make this troupe - without a doubt - one of the most impressive skill acts on the street circuit!
And some of the fabulous newly-announced returning acts include:
- Bence Sarkadi (Hungary): This grand puppeteer's "The Budapest Marionettes" show features a range of uniquely different marionettes in a cycle of short stories accompanied by music.
- Jack Wise (Ireland): The 2010 winner of the Street Performer World Championship, this show is a Molotov cocktail of comedy, magic and ventriloquism, including swallowing a real 24" steel sword. Think Harry Potter's delinquent older brother and you've got the right idea.
- The Mr Spin Show (Australia): this former professional ballet dancer now turned zany street performer presents a highly skilled, comic vaudevillian style street/circus act. Likely the ONLY street show to include an eight-ball juggle, his show culminates with him jumping on to an eight-foot zigzag unicycle, juggling three baseball bats while balancing a glass of water on his head!
Previously-announced first-time acts from Canada and around the world are:
- Ale Risorio (Spain), an eccentric, absurd clown with a bag full of unusual and unexpected props.
- Billy Kidd (United Kingdom), one of the few female magicians in the world who hosts Discovery Channel's Breaking Magic: the Magic of Science. She reads people's minds, turns paper to money and produces the most unsuspecting things out of nowhere.
- Chasseurs de Rêves (Québec), a tribe of larger-than-life stilt puppets shines in colours and movements, with an elegant bird and majestic elephant - watch for this parade of 11 performers!
- CiRcO LoCo (Québec), Argentine tango dancers, circus artists, knife thrower and tribal belly dancing!
- Ikeda Yosuke (Japan), a unique style of performance blending mime with graphic and acoustic arts - the lyrics of a song appear in many different ways with the music.
- Les Frères Taquins (Belgium), an outstandingly funny, exceptionally visual and truly unique show from an amazing duo that has spent the last 30 years performing on every continent on the planet.
- Les Vitamines (Québec), a colourful, high-energy duo that dazzles with acrobatic feats punctuated by improvised acts during which the public is invited to join in the fun.
- NoMaD Cirquel (Austria), a Mexican-Austrian duo, voted best show at the International Street ART Festival in Switzerland, bring their spectacular version of The Prophesies to the street with high-energy acrobatics, a lot of fire, and almost extinct traditions from many different unique cultures.
- Reuben DotDotDot (Australia), a Chinese Pole specialist, formerly with Cirque du Soleil, who spins one-handed while balancing 20 feet up in the air. In 2013 he won "Peoples Choice" at the Vancouver, Victoria, Halifax and Port Credit Busker Festivals and in 2012 he placed 2nd at the Street Performer World Championship in Dublin, Ireland!