7 October 2023

Australian National Busking Championship returning to Cooma for its grand final

| James Day
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Spectators lined the streets of Cooma for the 2019 Australian National Busking Championships.

The ANBC is well known for helping propel the career of Tones and I at its 2018 event in Noosa where Oz was the judge, and asked her to perform at the 2019 Muster. Photo: Supplied.

The cold climate of Cooma won’t deter the thousands of people expected to descend upon its streets this year to hear some of our country’s best buskers. On Saturday 25 November, the Australian National Busking Championship (ANBC) will be holding its 12th ANBC Grand Final competition in the Snowy Mountains gateway town.

From 10 am the contestants will busk across the town in an effort to garner enough support from the judges to be crowned winners on the Centennial Park stage in the afternoon. Marking the musicians will be former Australian Idol judge, Ian ‘Dicko’ Dickson, rising country pop star, Taylor Moss, and Gympie Muster’s operations manager, Oz Balydon.

Up for grabs is the champion’s title, prize money, and a chance to perform at next year’s Gympie Muster. Dicko expects this year’s event to bring another crop of talent to the scene.

“Street performers are a crucial element of Australia’s musical ecosystem and busking is a fantastic method of honing the performance chops of any wannabe recording star. I’m really looking forward to seeing the quality and diversity of the talent.”

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Kicking off the festival on Friday night (24 November) will be a free-entry Latin Fiesta welcome party at the Alpine Hotel from 6 pm. Along with a band, percussion and samba dancers, headline act Taylor Moss will be performing songs from her new five-track EP The Heartland due to be released next Friday. Taylor is joining her manager Dicko as a judge on the Saturday.

“We are very different people. But we also have an artist/manager relationship and naturally don’t agree on a lot of things,” she said.

“So when we are judging, I dare say that’s going to come out and be very similar. He’ll be bad cop and I’ll be the good cop.”

Taylor Moss with red hair and a cowboy hat on the left, and Ian Dickson in a suit on the right.

Taylor says that one of the best pieces of advice Dicko ever gave her was “to make friends with Australia, one person at a time”. “I can’t wait for the day that I turn onto a commercial radio station and 40 per cent of the songs are country songs.” Photo: Manula Entertainment.

Taylor began her career with busking at the age of 15, after her dad refused to buy the guitar she asked him for.

“He said to me, ‘We’re gonna buy it for you and you’re not gonna play it. I don’t want to see that money go to waste. You go out there and busk on your $200 guitar, make your money, then buy your own guitar and prove to me that you really want to do this.'”

Over four weekends Taylor pumped out the jams on the streets of her hometown, Noosa, before going out to buy herself a new Cole Clark guitar with the $2000 she made.

“You’re not being paid to do a gig, but you’re trying to win people over into your music. I think busking shows massive courage and it’s super powerful. I take my hat off to anyone that does it,” she said.

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Taylor has only driven through Cooma before, but she’s keen to join the festivities and help raise the already growing profile of our nation’s country music.

“Australia is a completely different kettle of fish to the US. I personally think you can’t compare your hometown or people to what they have over in America.

“People say they don’t like country music, but as soon as you put Shania Twain or Kenny Rogers on, you’re all bloody singing along. We live in Australia, there’s a bit of country in all of us.”

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