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TransLink’s Got Talent!

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.

Busking guitarist

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!


  • By Chris, June 16, 2011 @ 12:47 pm

    May I suggest spell check? It’s “Steel” drum and “bass” guitar.

    Thanks a lot.

  • By Robert Willis - Buzzer Editor, June 16, 2011 @ 12:51 pm

    Right you are! A “steal drum” really is something different entirely.

  • By John, June 17, 2011 @ 8:34 pm

    Dunno if you could pass this along, but my friend is a musician and he is forced to compete with the guys who do not have a licence. I sometimes watch him play and we like it when transit security officers come by and check licences. More checks would be cool.

  • By Rick, June 19, 2011 @ 6:02 pm

    I approve of the accordion guy in the video above.

    There’s also a guy playing pan flutes i see at Burrard every once in a while. he’s great!

  • By Robert Willis - Buzzer Editor, June 20, 2011 @ 3:42 pm

    John: I’ll pass that info along np!
    Rick: I like that guy too! I feel so relaxed when I hear him playing.

  • By pat, July 27, 2011 @ 9:29 pm

    Well said! Obviously, this busker knows what he is talking about and has offered some excellent suggestions. I hope Translink will implement some of his suggestions. Don’t suppress music.

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