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The Australian National Busking Championships™ (ANBC) is now in its fourth year. For the first three years, the ANBC has been held exclusively in Cooma NSW, the picturesque and historic capital of Australia’s Snowy Mountains.
We have planned these early years as the first stage in the ANBC vision for the future. The next stage is to make this event a truly National Championship by holding Preliminary Championships in various regional towns around Australia. The winners from these regional events will then be invited to compete in the Grand Final back in Cooma on the first weekend in November of each year.
This event has been a great success from day one. As the years have gone by, we have developed a template for this festival that, we feel, can work in any town with the right kind support, know-how and enthusiasm.
A Unique Music Festival:
The Australian National Busking Championships is a different sort of music festival for Australia. Music festivals in Australia have typically been based on a particular style of music, e.g. Tamworth Country Music Festival, Woodford Folk Festival, Byron Bay Blues Festival. The ANBC is a celebration of all styles of music because the buskers that perform in this festival bring a huge variety of music to the event. Whether that be Blues, Jazz, Pop, Rock, Folk, Country, Bluegrass, Indigenous, Multicultural or Classical, the Australian National Busking Championships™ reflects the rich diversity that is Australian music culture.
Tickets for most music festivals are expensive; in the ANBC all the street entertainment is provided free of charge. The audience can, of course, tip the busker but that is their choice. All this wonderful music is performed literally feet away from them.
Although there are buskers at many music festivals in Australia, busking is typically relegated to a fringe activity. However, in this festival the buskers take pride of place. This festival brings music back to the people, back to the streets.
How Much Does It Cost To Be A Busker?
There is a registration fee of just $15 per busker. If you are in a group the maximum fee will be $50 for a group registration. All fees will be remitted to the Rotary Club of Cooma.
How Does This Work?
The buskers are assigned special locations (Busking Hot Spots) at various times around the central business district of the participating town. A timetable will be emailed to all the registered buskers. Roaming judges assess these performances during the day. The buskers get to choose how many sets they would like to perform. However, all buskers must be available to perform in the Finals Concert at 5pm in Cooma Centennial Park. The prize winners for all categories will be selected by a panel of judges at the Finals Concert.
What Are The Prizes?
This year we are aiming for a total prize pool of over $10,000. The final amount will depend on the amount sponsorship that’s pledged this year. It is within the rules of the ANBC that contestants may be able to win multiple prizes. For instance the Open Champion may also win a People’s Choice Award.
- Open Champion – $2,000
- Second Place – $1,000
- Third Place – $500
- Secondary Champion – $500
- Second Place – $300
- Third Place – $200
Primary Category (for primary school aged children):
- Primary Champion – $300
- Second Place – $200
- Third Place – $100
Best Band Award (for bands/groups of 3 or more) – $1,000
- People’s Choice Champion – $1,000
- Second Place – $700
- Third Place – $300
Special Judges Awards – $200 each. These awards covers numerous categories including non-musical street performances, indigenous, multicultural, dance, classical, jazz, blues, innovative etc. Last year there were 10 Special Judges Awards.
A Worthwhile Community Event.
In Cooma, we have found that from its first year the Australian National Busking Championships™ has helped local not-for-profit groups raise money through fund raising activities on the day. Organisations such as the Cooma District Hospital Auxiliary, Cooma Rotary Club, Cooma Railway, 2MNO Community Radio, Cooma Swimming Club, St Patrick’s Parish School, to name a few, have raised thousands of dollars through this event. In fact, the main reason why the Australian National Busking Championships™ came into existence was through the wonderful work of the “Snowy Ride”. The ANBC was originally conceived to provide entertainment and fun for the 4,000 or so Snowy Riders as they pass through Cooma. Since its beginning in 2001, this annual motorcycle event has raised over $5 million towards childhood cancer research. The Snowy Ride is organised by the Steven Walter Children’s Cancer Foundation. So we at the Australian National Busking Championships are pleased to support the Snowy Ride. For more information about the Snowy Ride go to:https://www.snowyride.org.au/
The ANBC has also generated a much needed financial boost to the businesses of our country town. Coffee shops, restaurants, hotels, motels, clubs, retail shops and service stations have all benefited over the years. For Cooma, the ANBC comes at a normally “lean time” well after the winter ski season and before the start of Christmas trading. To their credit, local businesses have got behind this event by generously sponsoring prizes for the winners of the Championships.
The Australian National Busking Championships™ has the unique ability to provide significant benefits to the performers, the venue hosts, local businesses, community organisations and the general public. We hope you can join us for a fantastic day of fun on Saturday 7th November 2015.