After being cut by its principal sponsor, North America’s largest festival for street performance is coming back with a new name and a move to a new venue.
The Toronto International BuskerFest for Epilepsy, previously Scotiabank BuskerFest, will take place at Woodbine Park over the Labour Day long weekend from Sept. 2 to 5.
Now in its 17th year running, the annual festival combines comedy, performance, spontaneity and a dash of the unbelievable. More than 100 buskers — acrobats and artists, comedians and contortionists, plus musicians, magicians, fire jugglers and daredevils — will be coming together for the largest epilepsy awareness event in the world.
The move to Woodbine Park will give the festival more area to spread out and will also feature a licensed beer garden.
“Woodbine Park provides the ideal space for our family areas, allows us to add a licensed beer garden, and offers far, far more green, grassy seating from which our audiences can relax and enjoy an eclectic mix of world class performers. We can’t wait to bring busking to The Beach, and the beach vibe, to the festival!” says Geoff Bobb., Epilepsy Toronto executive director.
New this year is the Be A Busker Zone, an interactive area for kids to get some hands-on experience in a few of the many busking arts. From aerial arts with the Circus Academy and hoola-hooping with Dispatch Talent, to balance and magic with The Magic of Balance, this area is meant for festival-goers to get involved.
The Family Fun Zone includes face-painting, balloon twisting and giant games, plus Bébe Station, an all-purpose tent for parents who need to nurse, bottle-feed, and change their little one while at an event. And for those seeking a little thrill ride, a midway with rides, games and bouncy castles will also be featured.
Festival admission is pay-what-you-can donation to Epilepsy Toronto.
BuskerFest runs Friday Sept. 2, noon to 11 p.m.; Saturday, Sept. 3, 11 a.m. – 11 p.m.; Sunday, Sept. 4 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Monday, Sept. 5 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Check out torontobuskerfest.com for full lineup, schedule and more details.