The Coffs Harbour International Buskers and Comedy Festival has been running since 2002.
The Coffs Harbour International Buskers and Comedy Festival has been running since 2002.

Time ticking to make tough calls on popular events

One of the Coffs Coast's most loved events will need to make some tough decisions in the coming weeks.

By the end of August, organisers of the iconic Coffs Harbour International Buskers and Comedy Festival will have to review all options and decide if it can go ahead this year.

Scheduled for the first week in October, it's run every year since 2002, and although organisers have faced many challenges along the way, none compare to what 2020 has thrown their way.

"Yes this year has definitely been hardest," organiser John Logan said.

"We just missed the fires last year and thought we were lucky, but earlier this year when all major events and entertainment across the entire country were forced to completely shut down due to Covid, we knew we had a real fight on our hands."

The Coffs Harbour International Buskers and Comedy Festival has been running since 2002. Photo Frank Redward
The Coffs Harbour International Buskers and Comedy Festival has been running since 2002. Photo Frank Redward

Mr Logan is watching events unfold daily and hoping restriction will be relaxed enough by mid August to allow them to go ahead.

"I get asked, every day 'will the Buskers Festival go ahead in 2020?'

"With what's happened in Victoria, it doesn't look promising, but we have a number of factors on our side.

"We can wait until as late as mid August to make the decision because we've been working hard and planning so that the whole event is ready to go if we are allowed."

The Flying Dutchmen performing at The Coffs Harbour International Buskers and Comedy Festival.
The Flying Dutchmen performing at The Coffs Harbour International Buskers and Comedy Festival.

Organisers are considering what arrangements would need to be put in place to enable it to proceed, while maintaining the fun factor for every audience.

"Artists are on hold and really keen to perform. While obviously international travel is an issue, some artists are stuck in or have remained in Australia since before the travel bans. There is also the possible long shot option of a trans Tasman bubble and a number of acts live right here in Coffs Harbour."

The fact it's a regular event on the calendar helps and people know the format so well.

"We're doing everything humanly possible to make it happen and locals and visitors are keen to support it.

"Most importantly, all decisions are made here in Coffs so we can get it up and running quickly if we have to."

The Coffs Harbour International Buskers and Comedy Festival has been running since 2002.
The Coffs Harbour International Buskers and Comedy Festival has been running since 2002.

As far as a plan B goes, Mr Logan is right on it.

"Yes we can put it back to late October or late November. It would most likely be a scaled down event but at least we could bring it to the coast.

"It's taken us twenty years to get this festival going and we aren't going to let it go too easily."

For real time updates, including key decisions and news, watch the Buskers Facebook page.