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Buskers take over downtown streets

Downtown Okotoks will be a destination for budding musicians and street performers for the second annual BuskerFest on June 28.

The event is an opportunity for emerging artists to showcase their talents.

“These are young, up-and-coming musicians that have taken the craft of performing and are looking for venues and audiences to perform to,” said Mark Doherty, Okotoks community events co-ordinator. “It’s an opportunity for them to get their name out there.”

The streets of the Olde Towne Okotoks area will be bustling as buskers of all types will line the sidewalks for the second annual competition.

Doherty estimates as many as 1,000 people walked the streets in the downtown area for the inaugural event in 2012 to take in 28 different and musical groups and performers to the Olde Towne area.

“We had guitar players, we had guitar and fiddle players, we had a jazz band, just a variety of different types of music,” he said.

The event is free for spectators, but bring some loonies and toonies to drop in the guitar and instrument cases that will line the sidewalks as the musicians perform.

Doherty said the event is growing for its third year and he hopes to more than double the number of people participating and the competition is being opened to include street performers of all types.

This year’s BuskerFest is being held in conjunction with the Summer Saturdays Festival, including a plenty of action at the Okotoks Art Gallery and bargains at Olde Towne Okotoks shops.

Judges will select the top performers for the day, handing out cash prizes for the first, second and third place acts. As well, the top three performers will also receive an invitation to return to future events in town to play on the main stage.

There is no cost of the buskers to register.

BuskerFest runs from noon to 3 p.m. The event is free to enter and pre-registration starts at 11:30 a.m. at the Okotoks Municipal Centre and winners will be announced at 3:30 p.m.

Watch www.okotoks.ca for more information.

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