Get out your rain gear! Busker festival is coming

On Sunday, Sept. 19, the Market will take on an unusual vibrance and color as Seattle-area street performers convene on Pike Place for the third annual Buskers' Festival, presented by the Pike Place Markets Performer's Guild.

The three-stage, all-day extravaganza, a fortnight after Bumbershoot, is scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. and go until around 5 p.m. Each stage will showcase a new performer every half hour. Applications to play were reviewed months ago, and the Pike Place Market's Performers Guild, event sponsors, thought long and hard about which 36 performers to include in this year's special event. Guild members are predicting and looking forward to another memorable day of voluptuous music and fun.

The fun will center around the three stages and involve the entire Market. The South Stage will be set up under the clock (over by where they throw the fish). The Acoustic Stage will be in Post Alley in the courtyard near The Made in Washington store. The North Stage, sponsored by Taxi-Dog, will be on the northern bricks of Pike Place, between the hot-dog stand and Virginia Street.

The PDA, the management arm of the Pike Place Market, donated $3,000 toward staging the festival.

Our Market buskers, or street performers, are not "the gaggers of London" mentioned in literature, although they evolved from that. This performers in this diverse collection are unique and talented in their own way. They bring the street to life.

Many have CDs and compilations they have created so enthusiasts can take a bit of the magic home. Others are featured in glossy, techno-color photographs in Market guidebooks. They plan and prepare. They perform. They play, sing and engage the audience in a constant process, creating something new nearly every day. There is no safety net; it's live street theater. Someone is always trying to think up the next thing.

That is why the Buskers' Festival is so special. It showcases the performance art going on in the Market regularly, and it is a chance to celebrate it.

Talents the Guild plans to include in this year's festival range from Emery "Bootboy" Carl, who hula-hoops while playing the guitar and the harmonica (sometimes the guitar is behind his back!), to the artist and poet Artis the Spoon Man, to the furry sounds of the Dog Mafia, to magicians and a variety of what the Guild refers to as "the Northwest's finest street acts"... and maybe one of the Market's four balloon artists will make an appearance.

This year the "outlaw busker," Marve "the Harp Man" Brost, unfortunately won't be performing, but he will work at the merchandise booth, so pop by to say hello. The Guild plans to sell shirts with this year's "Singing on the Bricks" design and a few collectable posters. Melody Bostad, of One Eye Designs, designed the graphics for this year's poster.

The official line-up and schedule of performers for all three stages will be announced after Aug. 31. To view the performer line-up or for more information go to the Guild's Web site go to

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