I recently was lucky enough to perform at the Coffs Harbour Buskers Festival and it was probably the furthest I have needed to travel to perform. The event was quite spread out, I had to travel 2 hours west of Coffs to Armidale and an hour south to Macksville to do shows. I met some interesting people, performers who venture far and wide to entertain audiences around the World. There was an duo circus act called the Flying Dutchmen, although really one of them was French Canadian. They juggled an absurd number of balls and somehow managed to balance two spinning basketballs on top of each other among other juggling and uni-cycling stunts that were stressful just to watch. There was another Juggler called Kit Kaboodle who was also amazingly dexterous and coordinated. He also made huge elaborate balloon sculptures. One very impressive stunt of his was balancing two golf clubs with a golf ball between them on his nose, one club vertical on the tip of his nose, the ball above this and the other club horizontal on top in a T shape like a seesaw. Kaboodle doesn't seem to obey the laws of physics. Sports Suzie also had a great sports themed circus show that was very impressive and funny. For her finale she rode a 3 meter unicycle while skipping with a rope, bouncing the cycle like pogo stick. A clown called called Yoshinori from Japan did a hilarious silent comedy act with circus stunts. It used to be my goal, when I was a teenager, to have a silent comedy show, a very old art-form which has sadly grown quite uncommon since the days of silent film. I just found it much more difficult to make people laugh if I'm not verbally communicating with them. It is a rare talent to be able to create a comedy show that appeals across many cultures and is not restricted by language barriers. When I was younger I wanted to tour the world going to these sorts of festivals but now I feel I would get too lonely and I need to buy too many props and books for my show which would be very impractical to travel with unless I had some sort of entourage of assistants.
At Coffs, I heard stories from the other performers about their travels, The Flying Dutchmen have done shows in a huge number of countries, they went to about 8 states in Europe last year and were going to Japan soon after the buskers festival. They must have such exciting lives, I just don't think it would suite me, I'm not that bold and adventurous.
The people doing all the behind these scenes work for the Coffs Buskers festival are also very switched on, John Logan, the main organiser, seems to have quite a good reputation among the buskers I have spoken to about this festival. The audiences he was able to draw for us were large and very appreciative. Despite being called a buskers festival, I didn't really need to draw a crowd, there was always one waiting. My one complaint was that it was a bit of a pain travelling two hours to Armidale just to do one half hour show, but that's partly just because I get bad motion sickness when I'm a passenger in a car, although a nice man called Wayne generously drove us there in a bus. I felt very well taken care of during my trip at Coffs, the Pier Hotel provided comfortable accommodation to all the performers in exchange for a kind of sponsorship and the large numbers of customers that would be drawn to see the shows at their venue.
All in all, a pretty good week. If you are ever around the North Coast of New South Wales in early October, you should definitely go.