Edmonton International Street Performers Festival heads to the screen during COVID-19

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Edmonton International Street Performers Festival going digital to deal with pandemic
WATCH ABOVE: A popular Edmonton festival is heading off the street and into your home this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Morgan Black explains – Jul 3, 2020

You don’t have to go far to catch this year’s Edmonton International Street Performers Festival.

“A street performer doing a show for no audience is a rehearsal,” said artistic producer Shelley Switzer. “So we wanted to bring the festival to you.”

Each day until July 12, an online variety show will feature Street Fest artists from near and far.

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“It’s called the ‘Troupe Zone,’ where you can see newly curated things as well as a really incredible trip down memory lane. I think the oldest archive is from 1993.”

Switzer said you may even notice a familiar face in the crowd.

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“We pulled all of this past footage of artists. You’re going to maybe even see you in the footage. Grandparents may see themselves as parents. Mayor Don Iveson said he went to the festival as a kid.”

If you do spot yourself, you can enter into a contest on the “Share Zone.”

“You can win prizes there. We want to hear from you and we want you to share your favourite memories,” said Switzer. “There’s a prize where we bring an artist to your home to have a backyard party to watch a great performance.”

There is also a section on the website called the “Play Zone,” where kids can learn hands-on activities like balloon-artistry or magic.

“We know how many families, camps and daycares come to our festival for all of those fun things. Every day in the Play Zone we will be adding a few themed workshops you can participate in.”

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Organizers said they realized early on that it was important for the festival to continue, even if it looked different.

“It’s the essence and spirit of the festival that’s an essential service to get out to the public,” said Switzer. “It’s not the same festival experience, but it will be the same festival spirit.”

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New content will appear until July 12, but Switzer said the videos will stay online for you to enjoy.

“We’re not stopping. That interweb is crazy that way. Our lives will need fun and silly for many, many days to come.”

The festival is free to enjoy. You can watch a show here.

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