By Jess Baker
Stanthorpe’s Main Street will come alive this weekend for the 2021 South East Queensland Finals of the Australian National Busking Championships, which organisers say will be the biggest in its six year history.
A record number of music lovers and music makers will descend on the town this Saturday – 6 March – for a full day of entertainment and fun.
Solo buskers, duos, trios and groups will compete for a share of $6500 in prize money over numerous categories, including age categories, best band, judges’ awards and People’s Choice.
Organiser Russell Wantling said the event has drawn an overwhelming amount of support and interest so far, with nominations still coming in.
“We have more nominations this year than ever before, but we would like some more local performers,” he said.
“I encourage anyone with talent to register… nominating yourself only costs $20 and there are so many prizes up for grabs.”
The Stanthorpe regional finals have produced four national winners to date, which Russell said is a reflection of the standard of talent at the event.
“It’s a really diverse event,” he said.
“There’s something for everyone and it’s good to support up-and-coming talent.”
As in previous years, spectators will be able to vote for their favourite buskers at the event with $1 ‘Busking Tokens’ and, at the end of the day, the busker with the most tokens will win the People’s Choice Award and $700 cash.
The winners of all remaining categories will be chosen by a panel of judges and will receive cash awards of between $100 and $1000.
After the 9.00am to 2.30pm busking component of the day concludes, finalists will join special guests and 2020 South East Queensland Finals champion Nine Year Sister to perform a concert for spectators at the Civic Centre, with entry by gold coin donation.
Russell said close to 50 volunteers have invested countless hours organising the event.
“The Busking Committee, the Apple and Grape Committee and different people from the community… everyone has worked really hard,” he said.
“This is the first time I’ve been a part of it and I take my hat off to the team – it’s a real community event.”
All procedures are in place to ensure the Busking Championships will be a Covid-safe event. For more information, or to register your interest as a busker in the 2021 South East Queensland Championships, visit www.appleandgrape.org/busking or call 0427 670 150.