On Saturday, May 5, the second annual Busk-a-thon will grace the streets of downtown Cranbrook and provide the background soundtrack for the Downtown Business Association’s ‘Shop ’Til You Drop’ campaign, while simultaneously raising money for local charities.
The Busk-a-thon is put on by members of non-profit organization the Fisher Peak Performing Arts Society. They exist to provide support for local artists and musicians in the area. They are perhaps best known for their winter concerts with the Key City Theatre and their free Saturday-evening concerts in Rotary Park, which happen throughout the summer.
“We work very hard at getting good quality musicians out to play and we provide a very good sound system and stage management there so that we can give local musicians an ideal place for them to play,” said Bill Cleland, sponsorship director for the Society.
“And we do get very appreciative audiences out there as well.There’s lots of room in the park for people to come out and enjoy the music and dancing all summer long on Saturdays.”
Shop ’Til You Drop runs10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., with buskers providing music that will run during peak shopping times, through about 11:00 until 3:00.
This year, according to Cleland, the Society encountered a bit of a scheduling issue; one of their members is having a special birthday celebration and many of the local musicians, who normally are out supporting the event, will be out of town attending that.
“So we’re going to be a little thin on the ground, we’re going to have only two or three locations,” said Cleland. “But those of us that will be out there will be out there for a good three or four hours on the street and providing some musical entertainment on the street and doing our best there.”
Cleland himself has a family band that will be out performing. He has a group with his brother and his wife, that is sometimes joined by his brother’s kids, and occasionally even his grandkids. His brother’s kids, now 15 to 18 years of age, have a band of their own as well.
“So there will be lots of Clelands out on the street busking on Saturday, my whole family will be there, my brother, his kids, my grandkids and myself plus whatever other local musicians I can get out.”
Music will be primarily located on [Baker] Street, with a location in front of Just Music and The Choice, and then rotating amongst those as well as the The Bedroom and Soulfood.
Each busker collects money throughout the day, usually up to around $200 according to Cleland, and then donates that money to a charity of their choice. In Cleland’s case, as was the case last year, he will donate his money to the local SPCA branch.