Port Credit Buskerfest has been a staple of Mississauga summer programming for over a decade. For three days each summer, the Port Credit village (along Lakeshore between Stavebank Road and Mohawk Street) is taken over by entertainers from all around the world and becomes a place where anything can happen. From fire breathing, to dancing, to juggling, to gravity defying circus acts, audience members young and old will find something unexpected to surprise and delight them at one of the six Busk Stops where the free festival takes place.
Free shows? How can this be? Busking might be the most accessible form of live presentation. With no cost for accessing and enjoying the events, and the flexibility of the artists to perform almost anywhere and anytime, you are guaranteed to attract many audience members who would not usually get to see more traditional ticketed live shows. These outdoor public events also encourage audiences to interact with the performers and with each other, which brings folks together and builds community through that shared experience. It is recommended to bring a roll of toonies or loonies, or some five dollar bills, since the organisers encourage the audience to tip the performers who made you gasp, smile and laugh during the Buskerfest, to show your support. With the help of generous sponsors, and incredible volunteers they are able to provide such quality entertainment and fun activities to the public each and every year.
In 2006, Buskerfest launched, bringing in talented buskers from all around the world to Mississauga. Each year, the weekend- long event has grown and attracted more people to the Port Credit Village. It is organized by a committee in the Port Credit BIA and its effect on local business and community has become apparent. In 2016, after 10 incredibly successful years, the city of Mississauga launched a pilot project to encourage busking around the city year round. In 2018, after a successful trial run, seven permanent busking locations were implemented and have provided entertainment, life and vibrancy to the city. You will see many sorts of performances, all year long, from emerging artists exploring their craft, to more established artists performing a polished act for the entertainment of those passing by, families out and about, friends spending time together and local businesses. Since the 2020 festival has been cancelled, like many other events, I imagine that this festival will return in full force in 2021, with buskers itching to get out and spread laughter and joy through their shows to audiences around the world.
This festival is easy to get to. If you are using Miway transit, take the Lakeshore #23 to Lakeshore Road East and Hurontario St. South. There is parking available in the area and a complimentary shuttle bus that brings you from one Busk stop to the next. Do not forget to check out the Buskerkids Zone at the center of it all with crafts, activities, and shows specifically for the little ones.
The live performance world may have ground to a halt when the pandemic hit, however, events such as the Buskerfest will be easily adapted for people to attend at a distance and while keeping their family members and the community safe. Outdoor live performances have the advantage of a very large space for the audience to fill, which allows them to come and go as they please, and maintain a safe distance from others attending the event.
If you are looking for something to do with your family, your friends, or by yourself, be sure to check out the Port Credit BuskerFest, and support some local businesses while you are there. You will experience the top notch international entertainment they bring in, enjoy the great food and drinks available around the Busk Stops, and meet lots of friendly faces waiting to help you. Spend the week-end outdoors, make some memories and see some unforgettable acts. Who knows, you might even end up on stage?
For more information on programming and events, and to get updates on when the next Port Credit Buskerfest is happening, check out their facebook page https://www.facebook.com/PCBUSKERFEST.