Last Friday, a fourth floor meeting room in Metrotown Tower 2 was transformed into a battle of musicians. The event dubbed So You Think You Can Busk? was TransLink’s annual buskers contest. In fact, this is the 25th anniversary of the TransLink Musician Program! In total, 40 licenses were up for grabs for winning buskers to perform at a handful of SkyTrain stations. Musicians who win get a license valid for one year and are scheduled to perform at specific stations and times on a rotating schedule. Performances are 90 minutes in length with 15-minute intervals between each one.
One of many buskers that auditioned to perform at SkyTrain stations this year
Performers of every ilk showed up for the event. Each performer who applied to audition for free was asked to play for up to 5 minutes (although some performers needed some gentle persuading from the front of the room).
The day started off with a magician (which was curious since the call out was for musicians) who delighted the judges (Dawn Chubai from CityTV’s Breakfast Television, who’s also a jazz musician, and Drew Snider, TransLink Public Information Officer). There were a few acoustic and electric guitar players who accompanied their retro and classic rock numbers on vocals, a steel drum player, a saxophone and bass guitar duo and quite a few others I didn’t get a chance to see including a guy wearing a cowboy outfit complete with chaps and a couple of accordion players. One of these accordion players was Eric D’Onofrio who’s in the video.The event was a testament to the varied and talented buskers we have in Metro Vancouver. I wish I could have stayed and watched all day! Best of luck to the those who auditioned. Buskers will be notified of their results by the end of the week. The licenses take effect on July 1, 2011, so keep your eyes out for some brand new talent at SkyTrain stations.
If you have a favorite busker at a SkyTrain station leave a comment and tell everyone about it!