World Buskers Festival and loads more

If you're suffering from back-to-work blues after the holiday season you'll be pleased to discover a number of fun events and initiatives happening in January around Christchurch. 

New Zealand's largest outdoor festival, the eagerly anticipated SCIRT World Buskers Festival, kicks off today. This hugely popular festival on Christchurch's events calendar will celebrate its 20th birthday this year with yet another colourful array of acts scheduled. Headlining acts include Le Gateau Chocolat, billed as being a larger than life operatic diva with a penchant for lycra, the popular Buskers Burlesque line-up, the SCIRT Busker Comedy Club and a stand-up comedy show entitled Hirepool Nothing But Stand Up. The main venue for the Festival is Busker Park, with other shows at venues in the city including Christchurch Casino, the Pallet Pavilion and The Big Top. Tickets are available from the World Buskers Festival Booking Office located in Busker Park in Hagley Park North or the venue on the day. The talented performers are bound to impress you with their tricks, witty banter and often amazingly flexible acrobatic skill.

In December last year creative mastermind Gapfiller opened it's Summer Pallet Pavilion on the corner of Durham and Kilmore Street on the former Crowne Plaza site. An impressive structure made of around 3000 pallets, the pavilion was intended as a community and events space and since opening it has been the scene of an outdoor cinema, live music performances and even a Teddy Bear's Picnic.  The creation of the pavilion was in response to the loss of a number of small and medium size performance venues in the city post-quakes, as well as being an effort to attract more people back into the city centre. Built by an army of volunteers who contributed over 2,500 hours to the project and with the help of a number of  Christchurch companies who sponsored the project and provided materials.

Open daily as a public space, the focus is on community and providing a place for everyone to enjoy. Have a look around or grab a coffee and relax in the secret garden during the day or head along at night to enjoy one of the many organised events. Each week from Thursday to Sunday there's now a bar open from 6 to 10.30pm for drinks. For information on upcoming events in the Pavilion or hiring the space check out the Pallet Pavilion website.

Another awesome initiative inspired by the ingenuity of Gapfiller is the sand-pitch at Elmwood Bowling Club. The bowling green, which was destroyed by the September 2010 and February 2011 earthquakes was given its new lease of life late last year by an ambitious project undertaken by dedicated club members. 900 tonne of sand was trucked in, made possible with the help of a number of sponsors who provided around $10,000 towards the project. Having been left abandoned and unused prior to its opening as a sand-pitch, the Club is now in demand for children’s birthday parties, work functions and use by sports clubs. The pitch has had enquiries from people wanting to use the pitch for beach volleyball, beach football, handball, korfball and even making sandcastles. If you are keen for more information or would like to book the pitch to play in the sand, contact Elmwood Bowling Club manager Rick Jones on 021992065.