6 April 2023

All the world's a stage, and for buskers, the biggest stage is in Cooma

| Gail Eastaway
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woman with guitar on stage performing

The South East regional busking finals will be held in Cooma on 15 April. Photo: Gail Eastaway.

The streets of Cooma will be alive with music come 15 April when the South East regional busking finals are held as part of the Australian National Busking Championships (ANBC).

Busking has been part of the Cooma music scene for several years now, after instigator Allan Spencer set off the ukuleles and keyboards in what was originally a local event 11 years ago.

The ANBC celebrates the rich diversity of Australian music and street performance culture.

It is now held in nine locations around the country, culminating in the national finals in Cooma each year where the grand final winner is given the title of Australian National Busking Champion, along with substantial prize money.

In previous years, the finals were held on the same day after the Cooma regional event; however, with so many regional competitions producing finalists for the national competition, the organisers decided to separate the two events last year.

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The national finals will be held on 25 November in Cooma.

Regional finals have been, or will be held, in Stanthorpe (Qld); Peak Hill, NSW; Cooma, NSW (15 April); Kilmore, Victoria (22 April); Rutherglen, Victoria (13 May), Noosa, Queensland (8 July); Gladstone, Queensland (July, TBC); The Entrance, NSW (24 September) and Braddon, ACT (October, TBC).

Snowy Hydro is a proud sponsor of the Cooma event.

ANBC creator Allan Spencer said the competition was created to enrich communities culturally and economically around Australia by staging regional busking competitions as part of a national network.

It is also held to encourage, mentor, promote and develop career pathways for emerging musicians and performing artists of all ages and all music genres.

It has achieved Allan’s goal of establishing an annual music and busking festival of major national significance in Cooma.

The Cooma event is open to performers from around the southeast of NSW, there are no restrictions, but there will be special prizes for local performers. Stallholders are encouraged to set up shop in Centennial Park.

Performances will be from various locations around the Cooma CBD, with the winners announced in the afternoon.

More information is available at busking.com.au, including entry forms for upcoming competitions.

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