The beautifully scenic coastal town of Dundrum is an appropriate setting for The All Ireland Busking Competition, in the shadow of the Mourne Mountains, themselves so often celebrated in song.
Run as part of the Dundrum Festival, at the first
event in 2001 there were just twenty competitors,
the following year there were thirty. The 2003
event, which was held on a blistering hot summer
Saturday afternoon which turned out to be the
warmest day of the year, saw sixty seven official
entrants along with many other non-competitors
who were just there for the fun of it. Dundrum
was, for the day, a busker's Mecca.
It probably goes without saying that the crowd that attended had also increased from previous years and such was the interest that the main street of Dundrum was closed to traffic for the day to enable all the entrants to perform centrally. Increased also was the prize money on offer from £400 in the first year to £1600 - well worth performing your heart out for!
What was very noticeable was the great age range that had decided to come along and perform from young musicians of just 11 years old to senior persons of whom it would be indelicate to enquire of their ages. Nevertheless age was no bar to enthusiasm as the spectators were thrilled with some truly superb street acts.
The large diversity between the acts meant you were moving from traditional Irish musicians, past Middle Eastern belly dancers round the exciting samba-like rhythms of the all female Chidambaram drum-troop and on to the jazz band - outside the pub of course.
Some video clips of the day...