Archive for Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Performers to entertain on Downtown Lawrence streets during this week’s Busker Fest

The festival, the city's third, is expected to attract more than 30 street performers and will last Friday through Sunday.

August 18, 2010


El Gleno Grande will be doing a horse act without a horse. Mentoc the Mentalist will bend a spoon with nothing but his mind. And Mama Lou Strongwoman will rip through a phone book before you can tear even a single page.

It must be time for Busker Fest in Downtown Lawrence.

Street performers will take over many of downtown’s corners from Friday through Sunday for the third annual festival.

“People can expect some pretty unusual things going on all the time,” said Richard Renner, a Lawrence resident and vaudeville performer who organizes the event.

Expected performers include fire dancing, juggling, sword swallowing, magic, fire eating, musicians, hula hoop dancers, and chalk artists.

Renner anticipates at least 30 performers for the festival, up from about 25 last year. He said inquires from the public about the show also are on the rise.

“I think it is definitely adding to the culture of downtown and to the image that Lawrence is a unique place,” Renner said. “In essence, there are really only three or four organized busker festivals in the U.S., so this really adds to the idea that Lawrence is unique on a national scale.”

Buskers will perform from about 5:45 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. on Friday and from about noon to 10:30 p.m. on Saturday. Locations will be throughout the downtown, but stages will be at Ninth and New Hampshire, the breezeway in the 700 block of Massachusetts Street, along Eighth Street, at the Lawrence Arts Center, and at the Lawrence Public Library.

On Sunday, Buskers will perform from noon to 4 p.m. in South Park in conjunction with the Kansas State Fiddling and Picking Championships.

There’s no admission charged to attend the event, but buskers do expect audience members to make a donation following each show.

A full schedule for the festival can be found at


thelonious 7 years, 7 months ago

Lawrence must seem like paradise during "Busker Fest" to all of the local slackers, hipsters and hippies,

Now the busker I'd like to see - Glenn Beck doing his schtick right out on the street, say in front of US Bank. Now that'd be worth a donation, although we probably shouldn't encourage him!

Flap Doodle 7 years, 7 months ago

If you see a pack of lemurs doing The House of Bernado Alba, please give generously. They are raising money for a pilgrimage to Snooky Lanson's birthplace. He's their hero.

appleaday 7 years, 7 months ago

It's like the Ren Fest, only free. Some of the acts are boring and some are really pretty cool.

Mike Hatch 7 years, 7 months ago

Great. Not like downtown isn't already a big enough freak show already.

Clara Westphal 7 years, 7 months ago

It is unfortunate that this week-end was chosen for the Busker event. This is the commemoration week-end of the Lawrence massacre. It may have been more than a hundred years ago but Lawrence people try to honor those who died. Buskers is not a good fit.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 7 months ago

They are a coordinated lot. They can commemorate the massacre AND juggle multiple objects.

Danimal 7 years, 7 months ago

westcl, that's an excellent point that hadn't even occurred to me. Of course since they're going to build a gigantic building that will be packed with yuppie lofts on the sight where a group of Union enlistees were massacred during Quantrill's Raid I think we can conclude that Lawrence has all but forgotten its Civil War and abolitionist roots. I'm a big fan of Busker Fest, but maybe it should be moved to a different weekend.

Busker Fest is pretty cool, if we keep getting the right performers. It could pretty easily devolve into something awful if it isn't carefully developed. However, this is exactly the kind of thing that Lawrence needs to be doing to differentiate itself from everywhere else. Lawrence needs more downtown festivals in the spring, summer and fall.

I'm betting that most of the people complaining about Busker Fest are the same people that complain about Lawrence not having enough events.

Frederic Gutknecht IV 7 years, 7 months ago

I feel like I just heard millions of voices crying out... STAY OFF O'MY LAWN!~)

garyr 7 years, 7 months ago

Why in the world would the citizens invite a Husker Fest to come to Lawrence. Take your Husker Fest to Nebraska. You'll find plenty of business in that hole. Good riddance Huskers! Have fun getting your butt kicked in the Big Ten. I say a big fat NO to the Husker Fest!!!!

thelonious 7 years, 7 months ago

Chevy Chase to Emily Litella: "Emily, Emily, that's Busker Fest, not Husker Fest."

Emily Litella: "Busker Fest? Oh, that's different. Never mind!"

betti81 7 years, 7 months ago

wow what a bunch of grumps! This event is great cheap family entertainment. We had a blast last year and my neice and nephew enjoy all of the performers. Get over yourselves and have a little fun. Geez!

Kirk Larson 7 years, 7 months ago

Boy, we sure have some cranky old f@rts on this page. When did you forget how to have fun? I'll see all the rest of y'all downtown!

Verdad 7 years, 7 months ago

I enjoy Buskerfest. It and the Mad Greek are the only reasons to ever go downtown.

somedude20 7 years, 7 months ago

What what about Lawrence's OBs (original buskers) they can not be too happy. That maraca girl will be put out of a job for the weekend as will her evil jesus looking "friend". What about the overfed people who use their kids to extract sympathy dollars out of us, what will they do? This fest is going to severely affect our already homeless citizens as they will not be able to "work it" this weekend and that hurts my bleeding heart! Please, this weekend while your family enjoys "cheap" fun, remember the others who will go hungry and will be unable to collect enough money to get their cheap alcohol! Remember the Alamo, remember the Titans and please remember Lawrence's OBs

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 7 months ago

busk 1 |bəsk| verb [ intrans. ] play music or otherwise perform for voluntary donations in the street or in subways : the group began by busking on Philadelphia sidewalks | [as n. ] ( busking) busking was a real means of living. • ( busk it) informal improvise. DERIVATIVES busker noun

funkdog1 7 years, 7 months ago

You are really not worthy to use that photo.

townie79 7 years, 7 months ago

i loved the busker fest last year! the two man gentleman band were amazing...mama lou was very funny and she tore the crap outta that phone book. Even the living statues (while scary) were very entertaining. i can't wait to go this year!!

sad_lawrencian 7 years, 7 months ago

Hey, if Lawrence has to be known for something.......

Richard Renner 7 years, 6 months ago

The busker Festival was a ton of fun and we are looking forward to it again next year!

I know for a fact that these are professional entertainers, homeowners and family members NOT a homeless panhandler. To really make a living as a street performer you have to good at what you do and practice it daily. Just like any art or job.

I hope the folks who oppose this event take this into mind when they come down and see it someday.

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