So I can finally say I’ve been to the Buskers Rendezvous. I enjoyed it. I really did. But it wasn’t quite what I envisioned. For one, I thought there would be way more people there. Now, this was a tricky weekend weather-wise, so unless you have somewhere to hang out during the rain, it might not be your first choice to spend the day downtown. For me it was an easy decision since I live downtown.
So I’ll give you the play by play. We headed out in the early afternoon on Saturday when it was just starting to get overcast (luckily the rain came much later). As we approached Princess Street there was a bit more traffic than usual but nothing really out of the ordinary. In fact, when we got to Princess and Bagot where the road block was, there was absolutely nothing going on in the blocked off section. Maybe we missed it. I thought that Saturday would be prime time and there would be people everywhere. All I saw was a couple teenagers with guitars arguing about which song to play next. I’m a musician who busks in this city and I was told specifically that there was to be no local busking during the festival. Considering the city doesn’t pay the buskers, I don’t see why Kingston musicians can’t play along pathways and in areas where nothing else is happening.
We made it to market square where some vendors had their booths set up. Again, I was expecting a lot more activity but it didn’t look much different than a normal Saturday afternoon. Once we hit Ontario Street we could finally see where the action was. There were about 4 acts going on at once. Two were clown-like juggler guys doing daring tricks and juggling things I would be afraid to use in the correct way, one was a funny acrobat duo who were doing some amazing things with their bodies. The show that blew me away was The Flash. This team of two young guys from New Hampshire performs incredible stunts that require amazing amounts of strength, balance and trust. The show was amazing to see and the best part was what great performers they were. Everything they said was well-timed and quite funny. I had no problem digging into my purse at the end.
On the way back through market square an hour later, we noticed that a lot of events had shut down. I assume this was just until after dinner. It was about 5:00pm at this point so we decided to test our luck at a restaurant, thinking for sure we’d never get in anywhere but we did! This is when I really started wondering if we had gotten the expected turn out. It’s almost impossible to get into a downtown restaurant on a regular basis, so how did we luck out during Buskers? As has been discussed in many a newspaper and talk show, North Americans are choosing to stay closer to home this summer with the sky rocketing gas prices. I figured this meant more tourism for Kingston from places within a few hours like Quebec, Ottawa, Toronto and New York but now I’m wondering if the gas prices are forcing people to cancel their regular outings like the Buskers Rendezvous. Only time will tell I suppose.
Either way, it wasn’t exactly what I expected but it wasn’t bad either. I have to admit, I’ve been really busy lately in my personal life so I may not have given it the chance it deserved. I’m happy to say I will definitely be back next year to take more of it in and I hope more people will join me on that.
So, if you missed it, check out our new flickr set. If you were there, check it out anyway! And tell me what you thought about the festival. Like I said, it was a new experience for me. If you’re someone who’s been many times, please share your thoughts on how it went. I’d love to hear from you!