Busking event hits the right note

17-year-old singer songwriter Jasmine Jade delighted crowds at the inaugural Busking Rutherglen event last Saturday.

Rutherglen’s first busking event has been hailed as “a great success” with more than 1500 locals and visitors taking the opportunity to see a plethora of musical talent.

Between guitarists, singers, a bagpiper and more, there was something for everyone at the regional heat of the Australian National Busking Championships.

Around 45 buskers participated on the day rotating between 13 stations along Main Street, which was closed off to vehicular traffic.

Drizzly rain in the morning did not dampen the busker’s enthusiasm who were sheltered by shop fronts and balconies, while judges roamed the streets to score the performances ahead of the Finals Concert at The Star Hotel.

With $10,000 worth of prizemoney on offer, buskers gave it their all bringing the streets of Rutherglen to life.

Melbourne musician Wylie Miller’s undeniable charisma and talent had the crowds grooving. His performance also impressed the judges who crowned him winner of the Open Category worth $3000. Wylie also received third place in the People’s Choice Award.

Albury teenager Zac Spalding came first in the Secondary Category while Yackandandah’s favourite young country star Jack Gregory won the Primary Category. Jack later performed with Australian country music legend and five time Golden Guitar winner Pete Denahy.

Rutherglen’s own Lilly May Ciufici was another standout achieving second prize in the People’s Choice Award and a Judge’s Award.

Chair of Busking Rutherglen Damien Adams said for a first-time event he was very pleased with the turnout and feedback.

“For a new event, it was absolutely fantastic!” Mr Adams told The Free Press.

“Our estimate for crowd numbers on Saturday are between 1500 and 2000 people which is great. The weather potentially shaved off the number of visitors, but we were very pleased with the turn out.

“The feedback has been great from locals, shop owners and visitors. The buskers also loved it and were appreciative of having the street closed off. Visitors also enjoyed soaking in the music with the Main St façade the perfect backdrop.

“Friday night was fabulous with the sold-out Northern Folk concert. Saturday night, you could not move at the Star Hotel. There were many buskers who stayed for the presentations. It was just wonderful and there was a lot of love in the room.

“Sunday at the Rutherglen Convent was sensational with huge crowds flocking to see the historic building and enjoy some great entertainment.”

Mr Adams said the Rutherglen Busking Championships would return bigger and better in 2023.

“We will build on this year’s event and move onwards and upwards,” he said.

Now in its eleventh year, the ANBC is a national event which started exclusively in Cooma NSW and has grown to include eight towns in Queensland, NSW, ACT and Victoria. The winners from each of the regional finals will qualify for the National Championships at Cooma in November.


Open Catergory: First- Wylie Miller, Second- Presley Davis Junior, Third- Alejandro Aguanta.

Best Band: New Guise

People’s Choice Awards: First- J&S Music, Second- Lilly May Ciufici, Third- Wylie Miller

Secondary Category: First- Zac Spalding, Second- Jasmine Thompson, Third-Hamish Gasser

Primary Category: Jack Gregory

Special Judges Awards: Jessica Grant, Alicia Pope, Paul John Taplin, Anita Houldsworth, J&S Music

Judges Awards: Chris Wright, Lilly May Ciufici

The charismatic Wylie Miller draws a crowd.
Presley Davis Jr kept onlookers entertained with his banjo.
Local Lilly May Ciufici was a hit with the crowd, earning second place in the People’s Choice Award.
Who doesn’t love a saxophone? Chris Wright and his saxophone received a Judges Award.
Mia McEachern’s sweet tunes earned her much praise.
Winner of the Primary Category and country music talent Jack Gregory.