The sounds of laughter will return to the streets of White Rock in a big way this Friday and Saturday (Sept. 9 and 10).
The Five Corners Buskers and Comedy Festival – presented by the White Rock BIA – is back in town for the first time after two years of COVID-prompted cancellation.
Be prepared to be surprised as free entertainment at outdoor venues brings a mix of busking musicians, circus-style acts and magicians to the streets of uptown White Rock and the Five Corners neighborhood (Johnston Road at Pacific Avenue and Buena Vista Avenue) throughout the day on Saturday (Sept. 10).
For fans of stand-up comedy, these performances will be joined by night-time ticketed shows on both Friday (Sept. 9) and Saturday (Sept. 10) featuring some of Canada’s best-known talents.
“After the past two years, we all need a laugh,” said BIA executive director Alex Nixon in a media release.
“With this amazing lineup of talent, you’re guaranteed to get a bellyful of them!”
Headliners for the ticketed shows include Charlie Demers, a Juno-nominated stand-up comedian, BC Prize-nominated author and star of two Emmy-winning Netflix animated series; touring comedian Dino Archie, winner of the 36th annual International Seattle Comedy Competition; and Julie Kim, who has been featured on national TV and radio many times and recently returned from touring with Ronny Chieng, of Daily Show with Trevor Noah fame.
Among other headliners, John Cullen is a well-known Canadian Comedy Award nominee who has performed at both the Just for Laughs festival and the Halifax Comedy Festival, and is a regular on CBC radio’s ’s The Debaters. Erica Sigurdson, also a regular on The Debaters, has been twice nominated for the Canadian Comedy Award, and is also a Leo Award-winning comedy writer, while Yumi Nagashima has been featured as a part of Just For Laughs North West, and was a finalist in the 2016 and 2017 Yuk Off Competition.
Festival comedy programmer Eric Lapointe told Peace Arch News his major emphasis this year has been showcasing top Vancouver talent to White Rock audiences.
“Some of the best acts are from Vancouver – it’s one of the best (comedy) markets in all of Canada,” he said.
“I think Toronto and Vancouver are neck-and-neck in that. And our idea is to bring it to the City of White Rock, so people don’t have to drive all the way to Vancouver.”
Lapointe, who also worked on the last festival in 2019, says he traces his love of stand-up comedy back to years as senior director of international TV sales for the Montreal-based Just For Laughs franchise.
“When I moved out here I wanted to keep involved in comedy,” he said.
“In helping develop the Five Corners festival I’m inspired by fringe festivals I’ve seen and enjoyed where the entertainment is well within walking distance for most residents, and where it’s presented at unusual performance venues, such as coffee shops and bakeries.”
The Landmark Pop-Uptown Gallery at 15140 North Bluff Rd. (Central Plaza) will present both a 7 p.m. and a 9 p.m. show Friday featuring Sigurdson and Cullen, while Islands Cafe at 1237 Johnston Rd. will present a 7 p.m. show Friday featuring Andrea Jin and Gina Harms, followed by a 9 p.m. show with the same performers at the White Rock Beach Beer Company, at 15181 Russell Ave. (tickets for these shows at eventbrite.com).
On Saturday, Blue Frog Studios at 1328 Johnston Ave. will present a 7 p.m. and a 9:15 p.m. show featuring Demers, Archie and Kim (tickets at bluefrogstudios.ca)
On Saturday, Laura’s Coffee Corner, 15259 Pacific Ave., will present a 7 p.m. show featuring Jacob Samuel and Nagashima, which will move to the Landmark Pop-Uptown Gallery for a 9 p.m. show. Also at 7 p.m., Hillcrest Bakery and Deli, 15231 Thrift Ave. will host a show featuring Chris Griffin, Matty Vu and Sophia Johnson. which will move to White Rock Beach Beer Company for a second show at 9 p.m. (tickets for these shows at eventbrite.com).
Major sponsors for the Five Corners Buskers and Comedy Festival are the Grant Residential Group and the Government of B.C.
For more information, and links to ticket sites, visit 5cornersfestival.com