With a polka-dot umbrella held high above her head and flippers on her feet, Becky Hoops of Montreal will spin a stack of hula hoops around her waist as part of the 23rd annual Halifax International Busker Festival.
World famous performers will join her at the popular 11-day street theatre event which kicks off tomorrow and includes performers ranging from the human knot, Alakazam, to the dance crew with a motivational message, Illmask, to the acrobats with accents, The English Gents.
The popular festival has flown in each acrobat, comedian and artist from countries as far away as Australia. Their airfare is covered, but the festival doesn’t pay its performers. They rely on donations from local spectators.
Event promoter Leah Tarlao said crowds on average pay around $5 per person for each performance. Tarlao said free international flights stretched this year’s festival budget, and “we might not necessarily be able to bring everyone in.”
She said more Nova Scotian performers would have eased budget stress, but added local acts will be no-shows this year.
“This is actually one of the first years where we haven’t had any.”
Each year the festival tries to attract local talent in addition to national and international performers. In previous years, Tarlao said the festival sideshow “Maritimers Got Talent” attracted local acts, but this year almost no one applied.
“We may have had one or two local applications, but not very many,” Tarlao said, adding that if they had more applications they would accept local acts.
“We also have to consider putting the local in with the international acts. We can’t just choose anyone. We have to be really careful.”
Tomorrow’s official opener takes place at 5 p.m. at Sackville Landing, and includes the likes of The English Gents, the world renowned USA Breakdancers and Pogo Dudes. The remaining stages will open at 6 p.m.