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Buskers By The Lake Festival Cancelled, Promoters & Council Respond

20 July 2023 | 1:32 pm | Mary Varvaris

While the main, two-day event has been cancelled, Buskers By The Lake’s side street events will continue.

Buskers By The Lake Festival 2021

Buskers By The Lake Festival 2021 (Source: Supplied)

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This year’s Buskers By The Lake festival has been cancelled, with promoters blaming the Sunshine Coast Council for the cancellation of its two-day event.

2023 marks the 10th anniversary of Buskers By The Lake, an event that showcases local music, skateboarders, and acts such as “The Basketball Man”, “Handstand Happiness”, “Flying High”, “Curious Acro On Fire”, and more.

206 performers were booked for next month's picturesque Lake Kawana festival. While the main, two-day event has been cancelled, Buskers By The Lake’s side street events will continue, with organisers planning a re-imagined celebration.

“Most would jump to the conclusion in this environment that the cancellation is due to lack of ticket sales or funds, but this simply isn’t the case,” Buskers By The Lake Founder and Event Director Cindy Jensen said in a statement.

A representative for the Sunshine Coast Council told The Music that they have “not received any advice directly from the Promoter that the event or a part of it has been cancelled”.

Jensen blames the Sunshine Coast Council for the cancellation, citing “integrity, principal, and moral standards” after recent meetings with the council, where she alleges she was offered “hush money” in an offer of financial support.”

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Jensen added, “I am taking this cancellation stance and calling for a full investigation into Sunshine Coast Council, its representatives, budgets, and reporting and operations of their own major events - someone needs to hold them accountable.

“From my own experiences and through discussions with other industry members and operators, the evidence indicates that Buskers by the Lake provides a competitive edge to other events held by Council and because of that, it seems that they are working against us and had intended to either take control of or eradicate the event. They only appear interested in events that they can control, directly profit from, or put their Council badge on.”

In addition to the cancellation and damning allegations towards the Sunshine Coast, Jensen started a petition to investigate the Sunshine Coast Council.

Jensen claimed that the Sunshine Coast “tried their best to eradicate me or, at very least, keep me quiet”.

Jensen said she’s “devastated” by the call to cancel the beloved festival but assures the Lake Kawana community that “Ticket sales were exceeding expectations and our ‘Gypsyland’ event was gearing up to be a highly successful celebration of the art of busking and community.”

Jensen’s thoughts are with the “performers, stall-holders, suppliers, ticket holders, those who have booked accommodation and travel, volunteers, community and more.”

“I just couldn’t deal with a Council who shows complete and utter disrespect for me a minute longer.”

Ticketholders for the main two-day event will be fully refunded. You can find tickets to the side-street events here.

The representative for Sunshine Coast Council told The Music that the council is supporting the 2023 Buskers By The Lake festival by providing a Community Grants Program and supplying venue hire for the Sunshine Coast Stadium.

The representative added, “Major Events Sponsorship funding was highly contested, in particular for the 2022/23 financial year.

“The independent Sunshine Coast Events board considered 22 applications over the period July 2022-January 2023, including one from Buskers By The Lake event organisers for their proposed August 2023 event.”

The representative for the Sunshine Coast Council explained, “In December 2022, there was a unanimous recommendation by the Sunshine Coast Events Board (SCEB) not to fund Buskers By The Lake event. This was based on an assessment of the projected economic impact the applicant had forecast, combined with two years of previous event data.

“Sunshine Coast Council staff have provided support and advice to the event organisers to review their event model, location within the region and budget.

“Event organisers were given the opportunity resubmit a revised application for the SCEB to consider at their January 2023 meeting.

“The event organisers advised they would not re-scope the event from its original format, and the Board, therefore, upheld their original recommendation.”