Plenty of jokes in loo of cash
The top of Trafalgar St turned into centre stage for a fire-spinning, sword-swallowing, pink toilet seat-squeezing busker.
Irishman Murray Molloy performed to more than 200 passers-by who had stopped and formed a crowd at the opening Buskerburgoo gig in central Nelson yesterday.
The Nelson busker and street theatre series features five professional street performers who have worked crowds around the world.
The street performers were busking outside the Nelson Provincial Museum on Trafalgar St today and will be back tomorrow between 10.30am and 2pm.
Watching the public shows was free, but Molloy did encourage the crowd to cough up by showing them a "magic trick", holding out a hat and magically turning the audience's money into his own.
An R18 cabaret show, When buskers Go Bad, is on again at the Boathouse tonight, as well as two family friendly performances at Fairfield Park on Saturday and Sunday, at 6pm.
Nelson City Council festivals marketing co-ordinator Cam Woods said the family shows were traditionally held at the Church Steps, but a move to the park was trialled a few years ago and worked really well. "People can sit back on a rug, bring a picnic, and have fun with the family," Mr Woods said.
"There is no charge for that. Just bring a couple of coins along for a donation for the buskers."
The one Kiwi performer, Toni Smith a.k.a. Minnie Maniac, was glad to be back in New Zealand after some well-deserved time away from the limelight relaxing on a beach in Fiji.
The Christchurch-based hula-hoop expert said festivals such as Buskerburgoo were better than random street performances because people were more likely to pay the performers.
"I used to be terrified of being in front of people," Smith said.
"But I believe in overcoming your fear and not letting it hold you back."
Smith said she joined the circus school to beat her fear of heights, then started street performing to conquer her fear of public speaking.
"There is no harder way to work than going out onto the street, gathering people who didn't know they were going to stay, and getting them to stop and watch," she said.
She said the performers all shared a passion for fun times despite the pressures of performing.
"None of us have forgotten how to play."
The Nelson Mail