Bangkok’s International Street Show promises as much fun as in past years, this December 12–14.
by Dave Stamboulis.
This December, the International Street Show – www.bangkokstreetshow.com returns to Bangkok and, for those who haven’t been before, it is one of Bangkok’s best public, fun, and free performance days.
Following the success of busking and performance competitions in Asia and Oceania—such as the Daidogei World Cup in Shizuoka, Japan, and the World Buskers Festival in Christchurch, New Zealand—, the International Street Show came to Bangkok for the first time in 2008. The first show featured clowns, mimes, jugglers, acrobats, magicians, stilt walkers, trapeze artists, unicyclists, fire-eaters, sword swallowers, balloon artists, contortionists, and more. The crown-pleasers hailed from Japan, Korea, the U.S., Canada, Europe, and Thailand, and they entertained huge crowds in Lumpini Park during the weekend-long event.
The show came back the following year, winning critical acclaim and big media write-ups and, by 2010, the Lumpini shows were jammed-packed with thousands of people showing up to watch the performances. With this success, the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration along with Workpoint Entertainment, the enterprise that sponsored the festival, decided to make it an annual December event for the city, attracting almost 100 acts from around the globe, making for one of the most entertaining weekends available to Bangkokians.
The fantastic thing about many of the performances is that they rely heavily on audience interaction and participation. While busking and street performances might be considered, by some, to be on the bottom rung of the art performance ladder, they are actually tremendously down-to- earth and allow performers to get close to their audience. Due to the available space, the shows take place in a tight environment, that is set outdoors and is somewhat freeing. They bring spectators quickly and intensely together and, outside of the high wire acts, the shows are all performed at ground level without fences, creating a special bond between the crowd and the performer.
Most of the acts are either talented or funny enough that they completely transcend any race, language or cultural barriers, and these days it is rare to see so many people in Bangkok, both foreigners and Thais, smiling, laughing, and truly enjoying themselves.
While the show is completely free, it is highly advisable to bring lots of coins or THB 20 notes to put in the tip hats that the performers put out after their routines. They highly deserve it, and this is one bit of entertainment absolutely worth every last baht!
The International Bangkok Street Show will take place this year from December 12–14 in Lumpini Park.