Street acts earn pretty penny

CHARLIE GATES
Last updated 05:00 23/01/2014
Queen of the Circus
JOHN KIRK-ANDERSON/Fairfax NZ

SEASONED PERFORMER: Mario, Queen of the Circus entertains a crowd at Re:Start mall as part of the World Buskers Festival.

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World Buskers Festival

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A performer can make about $4000 from audience donations for entertaining thousands of Christchurch people over the duration of the World Buskers Festival.

A busker who pulls a big crowd for a daytime show could expect to attract about $300 to $400 in donations, which would translate to between $3000 and $4000 over ten days of shows, it is understood.

The festival runs for 10 days in Christchurch and features 55 acts from ten countries putting on about 600 performances.

Money donated by audience members at the end of daytime and evening shows, known as the hat, goes straight to the performer.

For an evening show featuring more than one performer, the donations are split between all the acts involved.

The suggested donation for evening show tickets is split between the performer and the festival, which uses it to cover venue costs.

Before the earthquakes, one act that pulled a big crowd in Cathedral Square attracted $1500 in audience donations, but that was unusually high.

Festival director Jodi Wright said she did not know what buskers made in audience donations.

"We don't ask how much it is. It is up to them. The festival doesn't have anything to do with the performer's hats.

"We try to make sure that the whole community is doing OK. If they weren't making enough money, it would not be worth their while to come out here."

Flights and accommodation for the buskers are covered by the festival.

The World Buskers Festival in Christchurch is one of about half a dozen events in the world that showcases street performers. It is one of the only festivals in the world that is mainly focused on street shows.

Prime Minister John Key yesterday donated money to busker Asher Treleaven, popping at least one bank note into his hat.

It can take up to six years for a busker to create an act good enough to be included in the buskers festival, which brings an estimated $1.5 to $3 million in new spending to the city every year.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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