14 Jan 2016

World's best buskers hit Christchurch

8:33 pm on 14 January 2016

Dozens of performers are converging on Christchurch for the World Buskers Festival, which organisers say is fast becoming one of the best internationally.

Sixty-seven acts from 13 countries including tap dancing clowns, musicians, comedians and visual artists are preparing for the 22nd annual show.

Organiser Glen Pickering said the festival is one of the biggest in the world and is improving every year.

Between 500 to 600 acts applied to take part this year.

Festival organiser Glen Pickering.

Festival organiser Glen Pickering. Photo: RNZ / Sally Murphy

"In terms of buskers festivals and street performance festivals, it's one of the top five. It's really highly regarded ... and the reputation we have amongst the performers and producers and promoters is really amazing."

Welsh comedian Lloyd Langford said he loved performing in front of New Zealanders.

"They're laid back - I guess if I lived in such a beautiful country I would be as well.

"I find them receptive audiences and I think they can laugh at themselves which is always important."

Langford has spent a week in Auckland and a few days in Christchurch to prepare for his standup.

"I'm hoping to talk about New Zealand and I think I might be a little bit rude as well - not about New Zealand about other things."

Korean mime group Ongals.

Korean mime group Ongals. Photo: SUPPLIED / World Buskers Festival

Audiences can also look forward to seeing South Korean mime group the Ongals combining an hour of circus and beatboxing skills which Glen Pickering said was guaranteed to have get crowd laughing.

The event is hosted by Rolleston comedian Shay Horay's alter ego Keith Preene - is the epitome of the true Kiwi bloke.

"To kick it all off I will probably get everyone on their feet and make them do the hokey cokey - that always loosens the crowd up a bit.

"It's going to be a hoot ... post-earthquake the festival has kept going and cheering everyone up."

Hospitality Canterbury president Peter Morrison said the festival brought in a lot of money for local businesses and most restaurants and bars rostered on extra staff.

"People make a night of it, they head into town early, have dinner before a show and a lot of people head into town for a few drinks after, so it is a great time for the new restaurants and bars which have opened."

The festival starts tonight and runs until 24 January.