SOURCE: Scotiabank

Scotiabank

June 24, 2015 10:00 ET

Dates, Location & Acts Announced for 16th Annual Toronto International BuskerFest for Epilepsy August 27-30, 2015

TORONTO, ON--(Marketwired - June 24, 2015) - Toronto International BuskerFest for Epilepsy, presented by Scotiabank, returns this summer for its 16th wacky, outlandish year and the 3rd time this wildly successful street performers festival takes residence up and down Yonge Street.

Epilepsy Toronto, in partnership with the Downtown Yonge Business Improvement Area (BIA), announced that the festival will run Thursday, August 27 to Sunday, August 30, 2015, in the Downtown Yonge Neighbourhood. Now a signature event for the area, the festival will see Yonge Street closed to cars from Queen Street to College Street.

BuskerFest is four days and four nights of non-stop, action-packed, fun-filled entertainment: comedians, contortionists, fire jugglers, acrobats, clowns, daredevils, magicians, and lots of music! Over 130 of the best street performers in more than 50 acts from Canada and around the world will excite and amaze Torontonians and tourists alike. And new this year is the Family Fun Zone, with great activities for the younger kids and performances by some of the festival's silliest buskers!

North America's largest busker festival, Toronto International BuskerFest for Epilepsy is also the largest epilepsy awareness event in the world! Last year, well over 1.5 million spectators attended the festival along Canada's most iconic street.

"The downtown Yonge Street corridor is a wonderful match for BuskerFest," said Geoff Bobb, Executive Director of Epilepsy Toronto. "The longest, most vibrant street in the world is the perfect stage for the largest, most spectacular epilepsy awareness event in the world."

The event raises money for Epilepsy Toronto, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping people with epilepsy and their families live well by providing counseling, employment support, advocacy and education. The charity collects donations at the gate. Buskers retain proceeds from "the hat" passed after their performances except for shows on the Scotiabank Stage in Yonge-Dundas Square, where each performing act will do a benefit performance over the weekend, with all proceeds going to Epilepsy Toronto.

"This is the 3rd year BuskerFest is on Yonge Street and we are seeing a significant growth in festival attendance and the role this event plays in Toronto's vitality," says Mark Garner, Executive Director of Downtown Yonge BIA.

"We are looking forward to the world's best street performers returning to Toronto for BuskerFest, which raises both awareness and much needed funding for a great cause, Epilepsy Toronto," said Rob Mattacott, District Vice President, Toronto Centre at Scotiabank. "We encourage everyone to come out to enjoy some fantastic performances and make a donation to Epilepsy Toronto."

Among the exciting new international acts appearing at Toronto BuskerFest for the first time ever are:

From Brazil

Funnykito Show - In his North American debut, Dan Marques' award-winning performance is a captivating and enchanting comedy magic and illusion show that has made audiences cry with laughter in over 30 countries.

From Ireland

Lords of Strut - Winner of the 2013 Street Performers World Championship, this high energy, comedy acrobatic show, with break dancing, contortion, acrobatic ladder, acrobalance and very original comedy, is a parody of celebrity culture. Sometimes subtle, sometimes brash, but always bright, tight and incredibly funny!

From Italy

Lulu's World - Appearing for the first time in North America, Lulu is a street artist who can't be contained in any gallery. Enter her world of make believe, where magic happens right in front of you with scenes pouring from Lulu's pen onto paper, turning the 2D world of sketching into a 3D experience for the child in all of us.

From Thailand

Mute - Making their North American debut, this "Romantic Comedy Clown-Mime" duo tell fun and easy-to-understand stories for all ages and nationalities. Their unique comedic performance is sure to touch your heart.

Other great new international acts include: Ola Muchin (Poland) - World-renowned magician and felt puppet, Osvaldo Drevno, surprises the audience with his outlandish and incredible illusions; and Catana's Colorful Chalk Art (U.S.) - Catana has spent the last 10 years creating artwork on paper, and the last two years creating artwork on pavement.

Returning international acts include:

Three returning Metro People's Choice Winners, all from Australia!

Alakazam - The "Human Knot" returns to comically contort his body and perform sky-high feats of danger and cheeky comedy.

Dream State Circus - This Aussie/English couple perform acrobalance, juggling and dynamic high skill fire manipulations; a fiery act with fiery chemistry!

Natural Wings - Find yourself mesmerized as Natural Wings goes high in the sky and performs a variety of aerial dances, filled with high skills, strength and grace.

Also from Australia

The Giant Seagulls - With working beaks, these pesky but lovable birds will be rummaging in bags and pockets, stealing food from plates and picnic baskets, causing chaos as usual.

From Japan

Witty Look - DAIKI, the former unicycle world champion, and his partner, the acrobat clown CHEEKY, have paired up to create a comic act that is a fusion of the cartoon world and high-level unicycle skills.

From Hungary

Bence Sarkadi - This grand puppeteer's "The Budapest Marionettes" show features a range of uniquely different marionettes in a cycle of short stories accompanied by music.

From The Netherlands

The Sauruses - All the way from the Cretaceous Period by way of modern-day Holland, these beautiful, larger-than-life sized dinosaurs return with their absolutely thrilling performance -- just watch out for snapping dino jaws! They fascinated and awed audiences at previous BuskerFests and are back to once again roam the Downtown Yonge terrain.

From the United States

YoYo People - Holders of four Guinness World Records and a World Yo-Yo Champion title, this comedy duo specializing in yo-yos, hula hoops and unicycles have performed in 26 countries and have appeared on the Late Show with David Letterman.

Among the exciting new local GTA performersare:

Bex In Motion - With fire, swirls and hoops, Bex takes you on a journey through motion. She amazes her audience with acrobatic tricks, fire poi, double staff and multiple fire hoops.

Mighty Mike - The Strongman Juggler with fantastic feats to flabbergast you and daring displays of dexterity to dazzle you. Watch as he hammers a nail in a board with his bare hand!

Jenny Jupiter - Jenny performs her living statue act combining mime and movement technique, unique and spectacular costumes, music and a dash of clowning.

Great returning local performers from the GTA include:

Chalk Chick - Brings the streets of Toronto colourful sidewalks, love and joy.

Fireguy - Ever-popular entertainer who mixes skateboard tricks and fire stunts.

Hercinia Arts Collective - With two performances: Gargoyles, part guerilla aerial, part human statue and part theatrical character and their new aerial show, The Flying Machine, the story of a quirky inventor who is constantly creating new machines to propel movement in all directions.

Isabella Hoops - A circus performer whose charm, flirtatious energy and quirky humour are unforgettable.

Lacey Lucidity - Leaves audiences mesmerized by the beauty of crystal balls as they are tossed gracefully and rolled magically along her body.

MaracaTall - A high energy, high impact troupe of stilt drummers with choreographed moves and colourful costumes.

Mental Floss Side Show - A vaudevillian duo with exhibits from the five corners of the globe.

Mr. Twister - A young man who delights thousands with amazing balloon creations.

Nathanial Rankin - International award-winning circus artist who combines state-of-the-art modern magic, juggling, mind reading, comedy, audience participation, dangerous stunts and a sharp wit.

The Silent Violinist - Combines balloons and mime dressed in her visually stunning balloon dress with a gigantic wingspread.

The Twisted Ones - Led by three-time World Champion Balloon Twister Debbie Stevens, this incredible family creates awesome balloon creations, from the tiniest ladybug to a Giant Gorilla.

Kate Mior - Internationally acclaimed living statue with a stunning array of characters and personalities.

Max T. Oz - Sleight-of-hand magic favourite.

Yo-K - Kohel Mintz, the yo-tastic teenager who amazes people with his mind-boggling yo-yo skills.

Silver Elvis - Veteran festival busker, a mechanical metal man who moves for money, honey -- "thank you, thank you very much."

In addition, children can also enjoy the new Family Fun Zone, an area with face painting, balloon-twisting, free workshops and more family fun. Dan Marques, Lulu's World, Mute, Witty Look and Toronto's Kiki the Clown will all play there especially for kids.

And even more buskers to be announced in the coming weeks -- including fantastic musicians from Canada and around the world!

Donate at the gate to Epilepsy Toronto, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping more than 40,000 Torontonians with epilepsy, and their families, through counselling, employment support, advocacy and education.

16th Annual Toronto International BuskerFest for Epilepsy
presented by Scotiabank
Thursday, August 27 - Sunday, August 30, 2015
throughout the Downtown Yonge Neighbourhood:
Yonge Street all the way from Queen to College and surrounding areas (including Yonge-Dundas Square).

Thursday, noon - 11 p.m.; Friday, noon - 11 p.m.; Saturday, 11 a.m. - 11 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m. - 8 p.m.
Donate at the gate to Epilepsy Toronto

For information, visit: www.torontobuskerfest.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/BuskerFestToronto, Instagram & Twitter: @BuskerFestTO #BuskerFestTO

About Toronto International BuskerFest for Epilepsy
Since its inception in 2000, Toronto International BuskerFest for Epilepsy has featured hundreds of the best street performers from around the world, hosted millions of amazed spectators and helped raise much-needed funds for Epilepsy Toronto. BuskerFest is the largest street performers' festival in North America and is the largest Epilepsy awareness-raising event in the world.

Interviews on request. For photo downloads - login: media; password: epilepsy
2015 BuskerFest Acts: http://www.torontobuskerfest.com/mediaresources/1
2014 BuskerFest Highlights: http://www.torontobuskerfest.com/mediaresources/23

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