A Batemans Bay duo and a Congo band have won top prizes at the inaugural River of Art busking festival.
Tyler Strucklak and Skye Armstrong on Saturday outperformed almost 60 other acts and win the open section in Narooma.
They now have the chance to compete in the grand final of the Australian National Busking Championships in Cooma in November, where the event began five years ago.
Congo outfit Kumera Patch was named best band.
Similar events are held in Ballarat, Victoria, and Noosa, Queensland, with winners from those events also heading to the Cooma showdown.
Second in the open section were Mariano Reggiani and Mike Jones of Fretz & Reedz, of Tilba
The Narooma Rhythm Hunters won the public’s heart, being named People’s Choice, with Kumera Patch second.
Narooma Rotary president Bob Antill said the club hoped to make it an annual event.
“It was a great day, with 57 buskers performing at the town’s 29 sponsored busking hot spots and literally filling the town with music,” a delighted Mr Antill said.
“But the event didn’t just happen.
“It was the result of a lot of work by a dedicated committee who did an amazing job, and with the support of the whole community.”
Rotary organised the event as a partnership with the River of Art.
It also formed part of the Australian National Busking Championships.
More than 500 people filled Narooma Golf Club auditorium on Saturday afternoon and evening for festival ambassadors, The String Family.
Then came the finalists’ concert and the presentation of prizes.
Three national championship judges were on duty during the day to determine the winners.
The audience had a say too, filling out voting cards to determine the People’s Choice winners.
Festival coordinator Sandra Doyle was delighted with the number of people who turned out to hear the music, many coming from Batemans Bay and Bega.
“It has been an awesome community event,” Mrs Doyle said.
“We want to thank everyone who took part – spectators, buskers, our sponsors especially our major sponsors and our team of volunteers from our own Rotary Club and from Lions, Quota, Probus, View, CWA and MACS.”
Mrs Doyle paid special tribute to her “dream team” of Rotarians Lynda Ord, Chris O’Brien and husband John, with assistance from her daughter Nadine Holland.
Asked at lunchtime on Saturday how the festival was progressing, the Doyles said the event had been a big success, with a great concert by The String Family at Club Narooma on Friday night and the three areas of Narooma buzzing on Saturday morning.
“We’re very pleased,” Mr Doyle said.
“The town is smiling and that is what we tried to do.”
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