Catania, Ursino Buskers Festival 2018: the realm of street artists, with clowns, children and giant hats

In the last weeks a video became viral on social networks: a curly-haired clown rides a bike carrying a huge papier-mâché headdress to raise some funds. A policeman stops him and eventually decides to make a gift to the charity to help him restart his vehicle. An original and strongly communicative way to push citizens to support an event that comes from below and enhances forgotten urban areas

The message that the activists of the cultural association “Gammazita” wanted to convey is simple and direct: if each of us makes a small contribution to the same cause, the outcome is assured. And they know it well, as every year they organize with their own forces the “Ursino Buskers Festival”, an international festival of street artists that this year began on September 21 in Piazza Federico di Svevia, in Catania, and lasted until Sunday, 23 September.

«Why should you support this Festival? – asks Fabrizio, activist and volunteer of the festival, who played the clown in the promotional video – Because it is a free event that comes from below, and because we work day after day (and not just for the festival) in the popular neighbourhood of San Cristoforo, which you will find cleaned and well decorated for the occasion».

«Also, because one of the goals of this event – he adds – is to focus people’s attention on these areas, which are enchanting and full of cultural areas forgotten not only by the city of Catania, but also by citizens themselves. That’s why we want to invite you to join our festival and ask you to support us through the big hat you find at the info point, or through the online fundraising that will be available until September 30».

A picture of 2017 edition

They organize it year after year with so much passion and many sacrifices, because they strongly believe in it and hope that it will become more and more a festival of all citizens. And for the fifth edition, despite the little help they got from the Region, the activists were able to invite a large number of artists and organize various activities for the occasion. On an area of ​​almost 2 million feet closed to traffic, forty buskers’ companies from Latin America, Africa and Italy performed in various disciplines, such as contemporary circus, acrobatic air, fire games, clowning and juggling. Moreover, they set up markets and art exhibitions along the streets of the historic centre of Catania, full of lights and colours.

In addition to this, they paid particular attention to children, as the association “Gammazita” always carries out many different activities with them throughout the year.

In fact, on Saturday the Ursino Kids organized two puppet theatre shows by the “Manomagia theatre” and the “Zig Zag theatre”, while on Sunday there was a cabaret show by the young students of the Popular School of Social Circus GAPA/Gammazita/Midulla, in addition to the Opera Dei Pupi (a marionette theatrical representation of Frankish romantic poems that is one of the characteristic cultural traditions of Sicily) in Piazza Maravigna.

«I was particularly interested in the presence of a large audience on Sunday afternoon at 6pm –says Fabrizio, who works closely with kids – when the children of the social circus performed. They had trained a lot on the performances to bring to the festival and on the tools to use, with a great passion and the desire to feel as they were the true protagonists of those days».



Translated into English by Eva Luna Mascolino

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