Buskers bring diverse life to Surfers Paradise

10 Mar

David wk 8.pngBy David D’Antonio, Bond University Journalism Student

Buskers are sharing a part of themselves with multicultural crowds daily at Cavill Avenue by using their talents as they earn extra income.

On the busiest street of Surfers Paradise, the performers have given entertainment to both locals and tourists for decades, some having discovered a greater joy in seeing the cheerful crowds rather than receiving big payments.

Gold Coast citizen Carolyn Graham said the role buskers play on the famous street is crucial for keeping it alive and generating public interest.

“No matter whether they’re singers, dancers, or statues, it gives the people that come to the mall every night a sort of entertainment to look at,” she said.

“It would be too quiet otherwise, everybody would just walk through.”

After running the Ezy-Mart at Cavill Avenue for over three-and-a-half years, Manager Ash Swan said he’s seen the buskers as a good asset to the street.

“It’s really good to have them; they keep the street busy, especially for people that come from overseas,” he said.

“Cavill Avenue helps the buskers themselves do business; it’s a full-time job for some of them.”

The buskers’ performances have entertained many, but have also inspired others to take a step forward in their careers.

Due to depression caused by a divorce and a family loss, busker James Diamond, 43, hadn’t touched his guitar for six years until he met fellow performer Joel Fenton at the busy street, changing his life in the process.

“He inspired me to give busking a go; this led me to get my love for music back,” said Mr Diamond.

“I’ve been busking here for almost seven years now; I ended up becoming a music lecturer at Griffith University and I’m on my masters and then going for my doctorate.”

Operating on Cavill Avenue for more than 20 years, busker Joel Fenton, 31, who specialises in circus-like performances, says he ran his first show at the age of 11.

Having enjoyed the diversity of culture the crowds would bring to him and the pleasure he’s experienced in entertaining them throughout the years, Joel said he found the crowd’s happiness more rewarding than the money he’d get out of his performances.

“I like the dynamic of it; everyone comes here – old, young – it’s got a reasonable amount of culture,” he said.

“If they can’t afford it, then that’s fine; it’s a good cross-section of every type of person possible – they enjoy the show even if they don’t have the money to be there.”

Although Mr Fenton also performs in other venues, he said he’s always preferred the busking side of his career more than any other means, mainly due to its convenience both for him and random audiences.

“You’re always guaranteed the crowd at the street; you just come out there and you do your performance, enjoy what you’re doing and people share laughs and have a good time,” he said.

“They expect to see a show, they pay you if they want, then you pack up your gear, nobody then knows you’ve been there – I like the spontaneity of it all.”


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