19 April 2023

Cooma moves to the beat of busking finals

| Gail Eastaway
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trio busking

Deep Water competing in the busking finals at Cooma on Saturday. Photo: Gail Eastaway.

The 2023 Cooma regional finals of the Australian National Busking Championships (ANBC), held in Cooma on Saturday (April 15), have been hailed as a resounding success.

Twenty-five acts competed for prizes totalling more than $8000.

With buskers coming from Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra and South East NSW, the standard of performance was excellent.

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ANBC founder and coordinator Allan Spencer from Cooma School of Music, said, “There was so much variety, with styles ranging from bagpipes to country music, and from classical music to rock.

“All ages were also represented, with a very strong showing in the junior primary and secondary categories.

“The public were treated to wonderful performances up and down Sharp Street all during the day and then a fantastic free concert in Centennial Park in the early afternoon.”

Local charity The Community Chest raised more than $1000 with the sale of busker tokens.

Bagpipers playing

The ACT ESA Pipes & Drums won two awards in the busking finals: Best Band or Group or Duo, and the Community Music Award. Photo: Gail Eastaway.

Cooma will again host the 2023 ANBC grand final on 25 November.

This will be the culmination of nine regional busking competitions throughout Australia.

The next regional finals will be held in 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).

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The winners in the Primary, Secondary, and Open categories all qualify for the national grand final.

The winners from Cooma’s final included:

  • Open Age Category (over 18 years), Charlotte Rose Thompson.
  • Secondary Age (13-17), Tulli Oayda.
  • Primary Age (up to 12), Bennie Spigelmyre.
  • People’s Choice (for most Busker Tokens), The K Brothers.

Special awards (all ages):

  • ACT ESA Pipes & Drums, Best Band or Group or Duo and Community Music Award.
  • Leah Irwin and Steve Jackson, The Cookie Award (for performers with a disability).
  • Mia Gardiner, Community Music Award.

Snowy Hydro was a sponsor of the Cooma event.

Mr Spencer said the competition had been 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 Mr Spencer’s goal of establishing an annual music and busking festival of major national significance in Cooma.

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