Festival Report (2000)
Windsor International Buskers Fest, Windsor, ON
2) Marc Segal
4) Al & C-mo
5) Alex Elixir
6) Jerry Rowan
8) Steve Elve
9) Spring Action
10) Glenn Singer
11) Tom Comet
12) Silly People
14) Junkyard Symphony
15) Sean Bridges
It was like someone dumped a keg of red cordial at a playcenter. It was like
a well meaning shellfish trying to control a school of barracuda. It was like
a lot of performers had been saving their tantrum coupons for this very festival.
It was like John McEnroe had bled into the water supply.
Hissy-fits were had by the handful. High tension pitch politics prevailed.
Performers, using woman and children as human shields, would advance on one
another. Issues covered: weather, schedule, volume levels, schedule, angling
for the evenings perceived hotspot, politics in a fluid administrative environment,
too few people, too many performers, too hard.
There were in fact, lovely shows, lovely weather, lovely audiences and good
vibes to be had. Problem was; group dynamic fuckup. Normally everyone gives
the hosts of a festival a great deal of goodwill considering they're paying
the hotel bills and giving the chosen their audiences to bilk. Robert Nelson
was between the admin and the performers. How he got there was his own business.
The fact that egos and greed meant he had to play wetnurse before giving up
in the face of a flurry of futile temporary gratification via anger. (i.e.
I kick this chair- watch me roar) (i.e. its up for grabs to the highest tantrum.)
Apart from a handful of insular self-gratifing acts, everyone was out to prove
they could make as much noise as the other chap, literally--each act had a
PA and as they were competitively wound up, the venue descended into white
noise leaving children bewildered and parents nostalgic for Grateful Dead
concerts. Still enough of us had fun enough to make it a good festival. And
the angry acts made what they were worth, which was heaps, cos they mask it
while they work, their whole lives professional psychological elastoplast.
Still the valid point was made that we could have perhaps spread out more
in the settings of the stages. North America survives on festivals as there's
not a lot of street on offer as a career offering. Corporate crossovers, whose
major income is merely tickled by the high cred of street theater, should
perhaps, after defending the indefensible-their own importance- concentrate
on communicating with their audience as well as fleecing them and probably
more importantly focus on enjoying themselves.
Still you can't make an omelette, and this was one chunky, cheesy, bilious
omelette full of roughage, without breaking eggs, straining cordial relations
and generally acting like overcompensating bores. I enjoyed myself and my
thanks go to Ken Brandes for putting up with us. (Monitoring who got onto
the lifeboats on the Titanic would have been a doddle by comparison.)
Martin Ewen and his 3-meter-tall
stilt character 'Lurk' have been traversing the globe for the past ten years
observing the world from a slightly different perspective than the rest of