For three nights and two days, a part of Walkerville, known normally as Argyle Road, became Buskerville. Although it doesn’t have a postal code, without question, letter carriers could easily find it during the inaugural Buskerville Festival just by listening for the laughter children. And in the end, buskers are really about children of all ages.
To show how important the youngsters are, Wacky Chad put out what he claimed was a $400 VIP balloon couch to create a front row seat for a few children. Chad himself is no shrinking violet when it comes to tricks and stunts, at times riding a bicycle – so small even tiny children, who had a chance, could barely make it move – skipping rope on a pogo stick and balancing on a tall unicycle. He needed the help of three strong men from the audience just to climb on board, much to the delight of an impromptu audience numbering in the hundreds.
Mind you, it was a small audience for Everett, Massachusetts-based Chad who has appeared with distinction on the Gong Show, America’s Got Talent and even a Superbowl.
Not that Chad brags about where he’s been, the real story is the quality of his work and that of all the entertaining buskers, six acts in total, who showed up as planned on Argyle. They performed in two pitches. In between, a music pitch brought some real excitement to the city. Toronto’s The Old Salts took to the stage on Saturday to reveal six new songs scheduled for their upcoming release this fall in an EP titled “Fisherman Jake.” The band has a refreshing solid rock and roll style backed with the drumming skills of Harrow’s Jeff Harrison.
If there is one thing to know about the life of a busker, it is if you make it to the top and become a headline act, you can do quite well. Peterborough’s Kalen Davidson, known professionally as PyRomeo, has been combing hilarious one liners and fire for over 20 years. Now a father, he prefers to perform mostly in Canada and found Buskerville, which was run to perfection, fully satisfying.
After Walkerville’s Buskerville Festival he heads to the Canadian National Exhibition in Toronto for an extended stay. Travel, out of necessity, is something all the buskers do, moving around to bring their brand of entertainment whenever a crowd forms.
For former Windsorite, and University of Guelph physics lecturer Burnaby Q. Orbax, one half of the Monsters of Schlock, it will mean a month in Texas as part of October Haunted House events. Buskers, it turns out are quite flexible, both in the materials in their act and where they perform and who they perform with.
Orbax has formed a partnership with his “brother” Niagara Falls native Sweet Pepper Klopek, the lead singer of the punk band The Legendary Klopeks and a genuine busker in his own right.
Sometimes buskers can be a little deceptive. In fact, at one point Orbax claimed Sweet Pepper could drink a can of beer while standing on one hand. It turned out to be not that hard. He drank while he stood on his partner’s hand.
Despite this, Orbax is known for real daring feats of strength. One of his penchants is to hang chains from his bottom eyelids to lift things.
Placed around the site where signs with the hash tag “Be Like Mark,” reminders of the Festival’s founder, Mark Boscariol. The local restauranteur and active community supporter tragically died suddenly at the age of 51. To his honour, proceeds from Sunday’s group show were directed to one of his favourite projects – the little things matter program: http://www.dwcc.ca/littlethingsmatter
Augmenting the Festival was a bit of evening entertainment, not suitable for children. Busk at the Brewery ran Friday and Saturday nights with more mature busker entertainment at the Walkerville Brewery which itself is a fixture of Argyle. It was also one of the Buskerville sponsors along with Liuna 625 and Motor City Community Credit Union, to name a few.
Article by Robert Tuomi
For over a decade, Robert has covered local news and community events. Initially as a contributor to CBC Radio’s local morning show and then as the long-time producer and host of CJAM’s The Rest of the News and as a journalist at the Windsor Square. A graduate of the Nikon School of Photography he enjoys illustrating his reports with what he sees through his camera’s lens.