From fiddlers to guitar players, jugglers to magicians, downtown Langley will be awash in live entertainment every Saturday afternoon from now until Labour Day.
All summer long, the one-way section of Fraser Highway will be home to a weekly buskers festival.
Organized by Peter Baxter, who has been co-ordinating the annual Arts Alive festival in downtown Langley for the past several years, the festival, which began last weekend (July 2) will feature a range of entertainment, not just music, he said.
“We’re looking for all sorts (of performers) jugglers — anything that’s got to do with entertainment that we can ramp up and spread around.”
With the help of entertainment co-ordinator Doug Carmichael and the sponsorship of the Downtown Langley Merchants Association, Baxter has lined up a minimum of four or five acts to take to the streets and lane ways each Saturday between noon and 4 p.m., weather permitting.
The buskers will be paid a $75 stipend, and anything else they can earn through tokens of appreciation tossed into a hat or guitar case by the crowd.
“Maybe they won’t make anything or maybe they’ll make a ton of money,” said Baxter.
In order to locate potential talent, organizers scoured music schools and music stores and put up posters asking for participants.
“We got a good response,” he said.
In all, they’ve arranged for about 30 different performers to take turns entertaining shoppers throughout the summer. Artists will set up at McBurney Square, Salt Lane, Fenton Lane and the lot next to Tribal Spirit Gallery.
The City’s one-way strip is a natural fit for buskers, Baxter said.
“It’s an older town, it’s an artsy town. That area has great restaurants.”
There are about a dozen eateries located in the immediate area, ranging from family to fine dining, coffee house sandwich shops and delis.
But they aren’t the only businesses that hope to benefit from the weekly shows.
A number of downtown merchants have been calling for something like this for several years, said DLMA executive director and City of Langley Councillor Teri James.
The challenge, she said, was finding the manpower — specifically, someone with musical knowledge to take on the project.
“Peter was the obvious choice,” she said, noting that Baxter has co-ordinated the annual Arts Alive Festival in the same area for the past nine years.
“He said he would love to take it on and, in a reasonable and professional fashion, he went about doing it.
“He’s also an accomplished musician himself.”
Baxter plays guitar and harmonica and sings, but unless a space comes up unexpectedly, he doesn’t expect to perform.
For the first Saturday, Baxter had booked Irish dancers, a Fiddler and magician and a singer.
“It’s good scope for the first week,” he said.
“I think it’s going to be an exciting summer for Langley.”