ambulance sans-serif;”>Last Saturday saw the return of the enormously popular Australian National Busking Championships™ to the CBD of Cooma. Over 170 musicians played their hearts out to compete for over $8,000 in prizes and the coveted title of Australian National Busking Champion. The buskers commenced their street performances at 9.00am and played all day until 5.00 pm – the start of the Finals Concert in Centennial Park. At the Finals Concert five judges, Gunther Gorman, Marian Budos, Graham French, Donna Smith and ABC Radio presenter, Michael Cavanagh decided which buskers would receive the 23 awards on offer.
Singer-guitarist Guyy Lilleyman won the Open Champion for the second year running. He won a cash prize of $2,000. After winning last year’s Open Champion, Guyy has been enjoying an enormous boost to his music career. He has just returned from a highly successful tour of South Africa where he and his duo partner, violinist Amelia Gibson, played for thousands of new fans throughout that country. Guyy advertised on his South African tour posters that he was the “Australian National Busking Champion”.
Second place in the open section went to Vendulka Wichta. She won a cash prize of $300. Vendulka is, of course, Cooma’s very own X Factor girl and very much a crowd favourite in this event. Vendulka and Guyy are great friends so although they took this competition very seriously, they still managed to stay friends. They drove down together from Canberra for the day. Third place in the open section went to a fabulous folk group called “The Button Collective”. They received a cash prize of $200. Originally formed in Lismore, The Button
Collective is now a Sydney-based band. They are in huge demand – they are constantly on the road performing in folk festivals all over Australia. The band is lead by guitarist, mandolin player and singer, Brodie Buttons aka Brodie Nossiter who was born and raised in Cooma, with piano accordion player Quinton Trembath and double bassist Jacob Pember.
This year’s People’s Choice Award was Olivia Cakarun a talented 13 year old singer-guitarist from Sydney. She won $1,000. The second place winners were the Button Collective, earning themselves $700 to add to their booty. The third place People’s Choice Award was Harry Cleverdon, winning himself $300.
In the secondary section, Josh Maynard, a singer-guitarist from Cowra took out the first prize and $500. The second prize went to another singer-guitarist, Lucy Sugerman. Lucy is from Canberra and she also received $300. The third prize of $200 went to the three-piece group Raising Cain. This is a group of local musicians: Sarah Nicholson, Rory Maclean and Ehlana Wright. In the primary age section, which was sponsored by the Cooma-Monaro Express, Harry
Cleverdon came first. Harry is a singer and keyboard player. He came down from Young with his family for the day. His prize was $300. The second prize of $200 was awarded to the brother and sister singing duo “Kick It”. They are Ted and Lucia Stewart from Canberra. The third place went to Tomas Carton. Tomas, who won $100, is a piano player from Cooma.
This year there were also 10 Special Judges Awards of $200 each. These were for buskers that the judges thought deserving of special recognition. They were: The Brademann Brothers (from Cooma), The Browne Sisters (from Tanja), Connor Ross (from Cobargo), Cooma Public School Choir, Dab Three (from Woodbine), Marco Solo (from Cobargo), Roger McCulloch (from Cooma), Rowena Evans (from Cooma), Tessa Divine (from Canberra), and Undertow (from Canberra). There was also a special “Farthest Traveller Award” of $100 that went to the busker that had to travel the longest distance to perform in the Championships. This award was donated by Michael Hutchesson. Michael, who is from South Australia, is a huge fan of the Championships. He couldn’t make it to this year’s event but still wanted to be part of the excitement. This year’s third annual Australian National Busking Championships™ was by any measure a huge success, but it could not have happened without the generous support of the Rotary Club of Cooma, the Cooma-Monaro Shire Council, Cooma School of Music and these local businesses and organizations: Alpine Hotel Cooma, Cooma Hotel, Cooma-Monaro Express, Roses Restaurant, Mark Kenmir & Co, Eucumbene Trout Farm, Cooma Little Theatre, Cooma Lions Club, Cooma Family Dental, Snowy Monaro Arts Council, P D Murphy’s Cafe, Moontree Health Foods, The Monaro Post, ABC Local Radio, Radio 2XL, Snow FM Radio, 2MNO Community Radio, Cooma Cafe, 40 Cafe, Never Ending Memories, Mainstreet, Snowy Camping World, Cooma Trophy & Gift Centre, Pizza House Food Factory, Bush Basics, Kettle and Seed, The Two Vaults Restaurant and The Lott Foodstore. ABC Radio National – Bush Telegraph – Podcast: