The Buskers Festival takes place during the last week of August in the streets and piazza of Ferrara, Italy. Bringing together hundreds of street musicians from across the globe, the festival is primarily dedicated to music; but a street fair, with mimes, magicians, jugglers and fire-eaters accompanies the musicians, as Ferrara’s 200,000 square meters are transformed into a vibrant marketplace for world music.

The festival becomes an enormous sonic melting pot for different musical genres. Walking through the narrow medieval streets reveals the sounds and rhythms of African drums intermixed with a carefree swing of New Orleans Dixieland; the enchanting sounds of a Celtic harp weave through the labyrinth of alleyways, seducing the ears, coalescing into the soulful, melancholic notes of an Argentinean tango from in front of Ferrara’s Cathedral.

This year (2000) is the 13th anniversary of the festival, and the organizers have dedicated this edition to the music of Finland. But every kind of music has the right to call Ferrara home during the fest. Jazz, raggae, folk and pop music massage the ears and tickle the toes. Dancing is encouraged, and having a good time is paramount.

Considered the most important event of its kind in Europe, in 1999 the festival featured more than 700 performers from more than 20 nations performing to an audience of some 800,000 visitors from across Italy and Europe making it the second largest street festival in Italy.

This year featured groups include Duo Resonante from Denmark, Kronwerk Brass from Russia and the blues band Hell’s Kitchen from Switzerland. Other invited groups include a hillbilly/bluegrass band, a klezmer band (Yiddish folk music), and the funk and soul sounds of the band Emergency. Virtuoso performers can also be found playing some of the most basic instruments: saws, washboards, cow bells and tea chests are only a few of the strange musical apparati that have been spotted at the festival. Here, medium is of little importance; music overtakes the town, inviting all --regardless of their voice, instruments, or origin –to play their part in the polyphonic frenzy.

Ferrara Buskers Festival
Occurs every year during the final week in August

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