FLYING TORTILLAS, JOHNMAN, JACK WISE and More Set for Scotiabank BuskerFest 2014, Kicking Off Today
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!
Joining these outstanding performers are previously-announced returning acts:
- Art $ Fortune (Toronto), a one-of-a-kind fortune-telling, 'robotic' statue who stilt walks! Drop a coin into the booth and watch Art come to life!
- Bendy Em (Australia), a pint-sized former gymnast with a wicked wit who bends and contorts her body into freakily mind-boggling positions.
- Chalk Chick (Toronto) brings the streets of Toronto colourful sidewalks, love, and joy.
- Fireguy (Toronto), ever-popular with his sophisticated fire-breathing and world-class devil sticks.
- FlameOz (Australia), an incredible fire troupe with a perfectly choreographed, high-impact fire dance, skilful circus artistry and stunning imagery.
- Hercinia Arts Collective (Toronto) entertain with their hilarious act "Money Fish" - synchronized swimmers out of water and looking for audiences everywhere.
- Kamikaze Fireflies (United States), a triple Guinness World Record holding two-person vaudeville smack-down from Los Angeles that juggles, cracks whips and climbs on people, stacking chairs, German Wheels, and even shopping carts! They received four 'Yeses' from the judges of America's Got Talent this season!
- Mat Ricardo (United Kingdom), an award-winning performer with incredible showmanship, razor-sharp wit, unsurpassed sartorial elegance and the only one in the world to perform the classic "pull the table cloth off the set table" stunt - and then put it back on again!!!
- Mental Floss Side Show (Toronto), a vaudevillian duo that brings exhibits from the five corners of the globe - all with a little dash of snake oil.
- Oparty (Toronto) twists balloons into incredible creations - from one balloon dog to a 400+ balloon motorcycle!
- The Silent Violinist (Toronto) combines balloons and mime dressed in her visually stunning balloon dress with a gigantic wing spread.
- Stilt Guys (Toronto), with their HIGH energy, HIGH stamina, HIGHLY interactive roaming stilt performances.
- Stiltdancer & Friends (Toronto), dynamic stilt artists who dance and play, in a vibrant array of costumes on their gravity-defying stilts.
- The Twisted Ones (Toronto) have astonished audiences everywhere with their crazy gigantic balloon creatures - a giant spider hat, a beautiful butterfly costume anyone? Their balloon creations are incredible to see being made and a blast to see roaming around.
- Kate Mior (Toronto), internationally acclaimed living statue, returns to her home town as a coquettish Marie Antoinette to steal the hearts and charm the wallets from Toronto audiences.
- Max T. Oz (Toronto), a sleight-of-hand magic favourite who has been at every festival since its inception (ok, he may have missed one).
- And, of course, the festival would not be complete without veteran festival busker Silver Elvis (Toronto), a mechanical metal man who moves for money, honey - "thank you, thank you very much."
Epilepsy Toronto is a non-profit, charitable organization dedicated to helping more than 40,000 Torontonians with epilepsy, and their families, through counselling, employment support, advocacy and education.
"Last year's record number of visitors to Scotiabank BuskerFest, and their generous donations to Epilepsy Toronto when entering the festival, mean we are able to provide much needed support to the 1-in-100 people in Toronto living with epilepsy," says Geoff Bobb, Executive Director of Epilepsy Toronto. "This is one of the most electrifying festivals in Canada and we are incredibly excited about the new Scotiabank Stage in Yonge-Dundas Square as a way to showcase our amazing performers while giving visitors another way to show their support for Epilepsy Toronto."
"The 15th annual Scotiabank BuskerFest will bring some of the world's best street performers to Toronto, and more importantly, raise much needed awareness and funds for Epilepsy Toronto, " said Claude Norfolk, Scotiabank's Senior Vice President of Toronto Region. "This event has become a summer staple for Toronto and we're proud to continue lending our support to build a stronger and healthier community through our global philanthropic program, Bright Future."
15th Annual Scotiabank BuskerFest in support of Epilepsy Toronto Thursday, August 21 - Sunday, August 24, 2014 throughout the Downtown Yonge Neighbourhood: Yonge Street all the way from Queen to College and surrounding areas (including Trinity Square Park, Yonge-Dundas Square and Gould St.) Thursday noon - 11pm; Friday noon - 11pm; Saturday 11am - 11pm; Sunday 11am - 8pm Admission is by voluntary donation to Epilepsy Toronto.
About Scotiabank BuskerFest - Since its inception in 2000, Scotiabank BuskerFest has featured hundreds of the best street performers from around the world, hosted millions of amazed spectators and helped raise much-needed funds for Epilepsy Toronto, a charitable organization that provides services to those living with epilepsy and their families. Scotiabank BuskerFest is the largest street performers' festival in North America and is the largest Epilepsy awareness-raising event in the world.