At the Busker's festival in Christchurch © _andy_t_

Bread & Circus: taking back the streets

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If the title of this startling event has you thinking of folksy folk united and assembled in a be-sandalled mass in the city’s squares, well, you need to think again, friend.

Beards, beads and banjo-led renditions of ‘Time In A Bottle’ will not be found here, you hear? This is a mixed-up mash-up of comedy, art, music and dance, with some heavyweight local and international performers.

This festival has a massive following, and has nearly a quarter of a century of fire-eating under its belt, along with stand-up routines, and ‘how does he do that to a rabbit?’ magic shows and... well... they promise ‘chaos’ and ‘pandemonium’, a riotous array of street performers, musicians and ‘fringe artists’ (if you’re looking to realign your bob).

It’s like the old-style, pre-screen entertainment that used to bring a crowd together – vaudeville, burlesque, trapeze artists, acrobats. Someone juggles, no doubt, too.

The city truly does come alive, and there’s such a mass of things to choose from, many of them free, and most of them family-friendly.

It’s a great way to get to know the town, too, with a bunch of its most glorious locations put to good use, from the squares to the parks, to the Town Hall and Arts Centre. There is an added poignancy to the proceedings, with Christchurch still rebuilding after that dreadful brace of earthquakes at the beginning of the decade, so while much hilarity ensues, every event you attend and pint you purchase helps the city rejuvenate, spiritually and economically.

And really, how often can you say, hmmm, Jet Adore or Miss Behave... wrap your laughing gear around that!

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