Performers arrive in Victoria for first annual Downtown Victoria Buskers Festival

Performers arrive in Victoria for first annual Downtown Victoria Buskers Festival

The creator behind Victoria’s original busker festival says the organizers of this year’s event copied his idea. Calvin To reports.

John Vickers, the creator behind the Victoria International Buskers Festival, says the organizers of this year’s Downtown Victoria Busker Festival copied his idea.

The festival, which began Tuesday and runs until Sunday, features 20 local and international performers doing everything from acrobatics to magic.

According to Vickers, plans for this year’s Victoria International Buskers Festival fell through after several sponsors pulled out, including Tourism Victoria, which accounted for nearly a quarter of his approximately $170,000 budget. 

Local leaders then chose to support a new event, the Downtown Victoria Buskers Festival, organized by the Downtown Victoria Business Association.

“It’s one thing to say, ‘Look, we don’t want to be your sponsor.’ But it’s another thing to rewrite history and say this is our event and it just goes to show the sense of ownership and entitlement these people have in our downtown,” Vickers said.

Neither Tourism Victoria, nor the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority, nor the Hotel Association of Greater Victoria, all sponsors of last year’s event, were available for an interview Tuesday. 

“There were some difficulties and I know the board tried to work with [Vickers] and then something happened that didn’t allow it,” Kerri Milton, executive director of the DVBA, said.

Vickers says his organization has been purchased by the City of Kelowna and a new busker festival will be taking place there next summer.

Calvin ToCalvin To

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