And since the earthquakes the festival has had a special place in the hearts of Christchurch residents, because when the buildings and streets were cracked and broken, the buskers came anyway and performed wherever a space could be found and brought fun and laughter to our city.
To all the artists and performers who’ll be entertaining us over the next ten days, thank you and for those of you who have travelled thank you for coming. We admire your skill, your wit, your dedication to your craft and - and speaking in my capacity as Mayor - your ability to make money appear out of thin air.
The council has some budget meetings scheduled next week and depending on how it goes you may well see a range of councillors shaking down passers-by for loose change.
Taking Back the Streets is this year’s theme. And it’s great to see.
I need to acknowledge the effort that’s been put in by so many people. Thanks to the sponsors, friends and funders of the festival, thanks to the trustees who have overseen its organisation, and thank you to all the workers and volunteers who make it run smoothly.
To everyone here, thank you for attending tonight and please encourage your family and friends to come along to the festival, there really is something for everyone.
And again to the performers, thank you once again for making this one of the world’s favourite events.
May you all break a leg, may your acts be met with gasps and oohs and aahs and laughs in all the right places, and may the hats you pass around clink and rustle to the sound of well-earned coins and bank-notes.
Last year I went looking for a Busker joke and could only find one so I’m forced to tell it again. How do you kill a busker? Go for the Juggler.
Yes you’ll laugh and cry; you’ll laugh until you cry.
And on that note I formally declare the 2017 World Buskers Festival open.