Bread and Circus World Buskers Festival returns to Christchurch


Bread and Circus, one of the most anticipated summer events for Christchurch (Image Supplied)

Praneeta Mahajan
Hamilton, December 11, 2023

One of the most highly anticipated and attended events on Christchurch’s summer calendar, ‘Bread & Circus – World Buskers Festival’ will return from January 19 to January 28, 2024, for 10 jam-packed days of fun and frolics for the young, the old and the young at heart.

Christchurch’s favourite summer street celebration, now entering its 31st year, launched the 2024 festival programme recently.

The event is organised by Strut & Fret NZ, known for creating world-class events in dynamic environments which engage, enthral and excite audiences globally. The team has over 40 years of experience including creating and delivering events for the Auckland Festival, New Zealand Arts Festival, Sydney Festival, Brisbane Festival, Melbourne Festival, Christchurch Arts Festival, Melbourne International Comedy Festival, Adelaide Fringe, Edinburgh Fringe, Southbank Centre London and many more prestigious events.

City comes alive with an impressive lineup

After being announced the winner of the ‘Best Arts or Cultural Event’ in the 2023 New Zealand Events Awards, the event aims to get bigger and better. Visitors will see central Christchurch transformed into an interactive and imaginative playground set across multiple open-air busking pitches and some of the city’s best-loved landmarks.

“ChristchurchNZ is incredibly excited to announce the return of the World Buskers Festival in January. As a city that makes time and space for play, and embraces balance in everything we do, this quintessential Ōtautahi Christchurch event embodies our city’s spirit, embraces our love of the outdoors in summer, and energises our streets with colour, fun and excitement. After 30 years, this event has an incredible legacy and diversity, culturally rich in performances. Events like this provide both residents and our visitors an incredible array of experiences across the year,” said Karena Finnie, ChristchurchNZ Head of Major Events.

Architects of Air Arborialis Luminarium will bring a unique sensory experience to town (Image Supplied)

Architects of Air to create a magical experience

In 2024, the festival finally returns to Cathedral Square, with the global phenomenon ‘Arborialis luminarium by Architects of Air’ in which audiences wander through a 1000m2 inflatable artwork, with tunnels and cavernous domes, experiencing a mesmerising sensory-drive experience of colour, light and sound.

Festival Director Scott Maidment said, “The Buskers Festival has always been about combining fun and fan favourites with escape and surprise. We cannot wait to open the doors to our exciting new headline event for 2024 from England-born, now international phenomenon, Architects of Air. Their immersive ‘Arborialis Luminiarium’ offers the ultimate escape from the every day inside their captivating Luminarium structure. Expect to feel like you are lost in an ethereal forest, immersed in a world of natural sounds.”

Award Winning Comedy

Taking over Christchurch’s hottest new venue, The Church, for opening weekend, Bread & Circus is bringing back the fabulous Buskers’ Comedy Club full of adults-only shenanigans and party tricks.

Award-winning comedian magician Jarred Fell will drop by for a special one-off performance of his brand new show BELIEF, and opening weekend closes with the ever-fabulous Trevor Jones in ‘Bread & Circus – SING IT’, the loudest sing-along of the festival, in which audiences vote for their favourite songs and join in with a full live band and special guests.

Guru Dudu’s Silent Disco Walking Tours will be a highlight for many in Christchurch (Image Supplied)

New Buskers coming to town

There is a stellar lineup of shiny new buskers making their New Zealand debut at the 2024 festival, including Gaku ‘The Juggling Drummer’ who boasts over four million TikTok followers, Estupido Compania from Argentina and Uruguay with their freakshow physical comedy, comedy and stunt circus performer Sam Goodburn complete with unicycle and tightwire, Chicago-born Leah Orleans, who blends contortion and acrobatics in her ‘Tiny Girl Big Show’ and Gracie B’s hula-hooping lifesaving adventures with A Day At The Beach.

Korea’s Jisu Park performs Music Hall-inspired stage magic in The Charming Jay. The Circus Firemen, a dynamic duo with a blazing blend of high-energy acrobatics, red-hot juggling and searing Australian comedy, return to New Zealand, and Ireland’s one and only Paul Currie brings his absurd humour to the streets of Christchurch.

Australian Jason Maher’s Street Magician Dude will be back in 2024 and returning local legends include crowd favourites MulletMan & MiM, and Louise Kerr with her Punk The Clown.

Annual Gala

Long-adored as a cornerstone event for lovers of performance and comedy alike, the annual sell-out Festival Gala will be hosted by one of New Zealand’s most iconic comedians and TV presenters, Guy Williams, plus the Kids Comedy Gala is back to cater for the youngest festival audiences.

The Aborialis Luminarium will also host another new event, Happy Yoga, offering visitors a chance to detach and unwind in a multi-sensory, other-worldly setting. And 2023 festival favourite Guru Dudu is back with Silent Disco Walking tours to get people dropping their inhibitions and dancing through the streets of Christchurch.

Keep your eyes peeled for Bread & Circus’s iconic space-man around Christchurch CBD today for a chance to with festival tickets.

Praneeta Mahajan is an Indian Newslink reporter for Hamilton.

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