Busking champs take to streets this weekend

Renowned as a grape-stomping good time, Stanthorpe’s Apple and Grape Festival also promises festival-goers a toe-tapping good time when the town hosts the Australian National Busking Championships South East Queensland Regional Finals this Saturday 29 February 2020.

Buskers from around South East Queensland will converge on Stanthorpe, filling the streets with music and complimenting a range of family entertainment on offer during the first weekend of the Festival.

“We love hosting the regional Busking Championships as part of Apple and Grape and we’re always excited to see who comes out of the woodwork to sing and play up a storm,” Greg Thouard, Festival Vice President said.

This year 2020 marks Stanthorpe’s fifth year of hosting the popular regional busking championships, which provide competitors a stepping-stone to a career in the music industry.

The Stanthorpe regional finals have produced four national Busking Championship winners – Mat Brooker, Felicity Kircher, Haystack Mountain Hermits and the Inadequates, so audiences can expect a very high standard of entertainment.

“With the past four winners here having gone on to become Australian National Champions, we know we’re in for some top quality performances – and from a visitor’s point of view, strolling the street between buskers is the perfect way to enjoy the shopping and dining in central Stanthorpe,” Greg Thouard said.

The 2020 event will provide the perfect mix of music with busking all day from 8am this Saturday in Stanthorpe’s CBD, culminating with the finalists performing a free concert at Stanthorpe Civic Centre at 4pm.

The concert also includes a special treat performance by great friends of Stanthorpe, 2015 Australian Busking Champions The String Family, who are returning for a number of gigs throughout festival week.

The competition is open to everyone, from primary school-aged performers to seasoned professionals. Solo singers and musicians, duos, trios and groups of any genre, and non-musical street entertainers will compete for a share of $6000 in prize money over numerous categories including age categories, best band, judges’ awards and People’s Choice.

Spectators can purchase Busker Dollars for $1 each and give them to their favourite busker, with the busker receiving the most Busker Dollars named as winner of the People’s Choice Award.


• Buskers interested in participating in the 2020 South East Queensland Busking Championships should email buskingp2019@gmail.con or call 0427 670 150. Additional information can be obtained from the festival website appleandgrape.org.


The Apple & Grape Festival came to be in 1966, renamed from The Apple Blossom Festival, which itself was born from the Back to Stanthorpe Week celebrations of 1954. The event had run its course by the mid 1960′s and hence a superstar was born!

In 1965, the Apple Blossom Festival was not held due to insufficient public support. Representatives of the DSGC and Chamber of Commerce and Industry saw an opportunity for a new event, to be combined with the successful “Eat an Apple Week” campaign and a committee was formed under the leadership of Max McMahon to plan the event.

The success of the 1966 Apple Harvest Festival which included a Grand Ball, Street Procession, Athletics Carnival & Sports, tours of orchards, vineyards and packing sheds encouraged the committee to plan a biennial event.

In the meantime, a new name the Apple & Grape Harvest Festival was adopted to include more of the fruits grown on the Granite Belt.

Events at the 1968 Apple & Grape Festival included the Miss Delicious Quest, grand ball and raceday, a ten-mile race from Amiens to Stanthorpe, and a Festival Art Show. Between 5000 and 6000 people crammed a quarter mile strip of Stanthorpe’s main street for the street carnival. Mr Gordon Chalk, Deputy Premier of Queensland, described the Festival’s success as indicative of the high appreciation of people for the district.

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