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Kingston Buskers Rendezvous

Gary

by Festival Nomad, Gary McWilliams

Off To The Kingston Buskers Rendezvous

It’s another Saturday morning and we are traveling east to Kingston. The Buskers Rendezvous is on the horizon. The skies are overcast and the forecast is for rain it the afternoon. As we travel further east, the skies brighten and the sun peaks through the clouds. I think we are going to be in luck as far as the weather is concerned. When we arrive in Kingston, the sun is fully out. We start looking for a place to park. The festival is taking place throughout downtown Kingston, but most activities are on Princess Street and at the harbour front. As we drive along Princess Street, we come to a closed off area at the corner of Princess and Clergy. We decide to park on Clergy and walk down to the harbour front. The reason Princess Street is blocked off is that the organizer have set up a performance area on the street. Band-Aid the Clown is performing before a large crowd of bystanders. The kids love him. We watch for a while and then leave to continue our journey east on Princess. Part ways down we come across 3 musicians play in front of one of the downtown stores. The music is fun so we stop and listen and then move on. We reached the bottom of the street and turned south. In front of us was the farmer market. This is a very interesting historic area the draws people from all over the region and beyond. In addition to the farmers market, there are plenty of great restaurants to tempt most palates. We were close to the harbour front so we moved on. It was now time for us to investigate the main stage area…

Action at Confederation Park…

We walked from the Market to Confederation Park. This is where most of the Buskers action was taking place. Buskers were performing all over the park. We started our walk along the western perimeter of the park. As we walked, we passed a booth that was surrounded by children. They were waiting to have their faces painted. A little further along an artist was painting the sidewalk, and I mean painting the sidewalk! We passed other booths as we walk. Two radio stations were there, a couple of food concessions and a booth selling Buskers Rendezvous souvenirs. There was an antique trolley bus waiting on the side of the road to take riders on a tour of the downtown. Unfortunately we didn’t see every Busker perform, so the following blog will tell you about what we saw. To really appreciate the talent of these wonderful performers, you have to see them in person. Remember these artists are true entrepreneurs. They perform with no assurances of being paid. Only by their hard work and skill can they hope to earn their pay. Make sure when you enjoy a Busker’s show you reward them with kind words and a generous donation.

The Performers…

At the south end of the park, in front of an old steam engine, we watched The Dan Show. Daniel Craig showed us an amazing array of stunts, juggling, magic, balancing and fire eating, all with his unusual brand of humour. When he was through we walked towards the water. Just east of Dan another performance area was set up. There were a number of seat set up in a semi circle. Blackpool had hypnotized a number of people and was introducing them to the power of suggestion. Walking further we came to the harbour. Boats were lined up, moored at their docks. Waterfowl were taking full advantage of this lagoon area lazing in the sun, on the boats. One boat in particular housed about 5 birds. Just as we arrived at the water, a ferry boat from Wolfe Island was charging into the wharf area. I was amazed how quickly the pilot slowed his boat and glided gently into his mooring spot. As I looked out across the bay, I could clearly see the Royal Military College historic building complex. The whole scene, the boats, the historic buildings, the wildlife and the people wondering the park ground was very surreal. I was aroused out of my daydreams by the sweet sounds of El Indio. They were playing in the middle of the park to a large crowd. El Indio is made up of three very talented musicians. The lead musician played the flute and several sizes of panpipes. There music was mesmerizing. We stayed to listen for quite a while and left reluctantly to explore other parts of the park.

Walking Through the Park…

Walking west, away fro the waterfront and El Indio, we came to a green double-decker bus belonging to The Sprockets. This group is on a world tour all the way from Australia. Unfortunately they weren’t performing when we were at the park. The next Busker we passed was Dr. Kaboom who was busy making unique creations out of balloons. Again moving across the park we came to an artist who was demonstrating her artist skills. We then took a path to the park’s fountain. Here a girl was offering free “hugs”! After receiving my free hugs we moved towards the “Kid's Tent”. In the tent they were selling “Jester” hat kits. The staff showed the kids (and adults) how to assemble the hats. We bought 3 for our grandchildren. Behind the hats making table was a Thomas the Train that children could sit on and ride around on the track. Just outside the tent were The Barefoot Players. They were presenting a play for the children about “Princess Lenore and her stomach ache”. The children loved it. The sky was growing dark, so we decide to head back to our vehicle. Along the way we encountered more entertainers…

Busking on Princess Street…

Kingston is a beautiful historic city. The architecture is stunting. Restored heritage buildings dominate the downtown core. As we walk back from Confederation Park, we pass Kingston’s City Hall, a fine example of Kingston’s heritage buildings. Further down the street we pass one of the many tour buses that have come to Kingston to tour the city and attend the Kingston Buskers Rendezvous. Finally we reach Princess Street and start the long uphill walk to our car. Part way up the street we come to a closed off area. A large crowd has gathered around a performance square. The USA Breakdancers were preparing to entertain the crowd. They start off with limbering exercises, graduating into more difficult routines. They build up to individual and duo performance. I didn’t know the body could do what they did. I have seen Breakdancing on TV, but to see it live is unbelievable. To watch these men perform made coming to Kingston even more worthwhile. The performance closed with one of the USA Breakdancers leaping head first over 4 people. All too soon their show was over. We waded through the disbursing crowd, continuing our uphill walk. A short distance from the USA Breakdancers, another performance square was set up and Dynamike was beginning his performance. As with the USA Breakdancers, a large crowd had gathered to see Dynamike. He was trying to get onto his unicycle with the assistance of a rather fearful young woman. With a great deal of humour he finally managed to seat himself on the unicycle. With further assistance he performed a number of other tricks. The crowd loved him. It was getting late and a light rain has started to fall. We made for our car, just in time to avoid becoming drenched! We needed to get home and conserve our strength!

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