Tara Dobson has been busking at Rouse Hill Town Centre for the past year. Playing the guitar since she was fourteen and singing since she could speak, the seventeen year old believes that her acoustic renditions of pop songs are the ideal form of entertainment for local shoppers. “It’s fun to give people some music to listen to. Would you walk around a shop with no music?” she said.
So when Rouse Hill Town Centre recently called for entrants for its fifth birthday Battle Of The Buskers competition, Tara was the first to register. The contest is “a good chance to showcase my talents and a great opportunity to see the other buskers around,” she said.
Since commencing on the 8th March, the competition has attracted approximately forty entries. Performances feature a combination of vocals and musical instruments including guitars, violins and flutes.
Local store Maxx Music has sponsored the event, providing over $3000 worth of prizes. Store manager Tim Walters said that celebrating the talent of budding musicians like Tara in a local context is very important. “The thing with music at the moment is that there is a big focus on music festivals but local talent is where everything starts.”
Rouse Hill Town Centre’s busking culture has seen one particular youth music act advance in its career following local performances. Western suburbs boy band 5 Seconds of Summer who busked at Rouse Hill during 2012 have recently been chosen as the supporting act for British boy band One Direction on its world tour.
17 year old Angelica Fajardo from Stanhope Gardens had the opportunity to sing with the band during one of its Rouse Hill busking sessions in February 2012. “Who knew that something so small like starting out busking could build up their confidence and that in a year they would end up supporting one of the most popular global boy bands?” she said.
Whilst the majority of entrants reflect a younger demographic, 52 year old William Thompson has also entered the competition. He has sung and played the guitar for Rouse Hill shoppers every six weeks over the past two years and has received positive reactions. “The response I get from all sorts of people is wonderful. I even do a little plug for the town centre’s name and sing ‘Welcome to Rouse Hill Town Centre’.”
This sense of community underlies the centre’s motive behind the campaign according to centre senior marketing manager Carly Xerri. “Rouse Hill Town Centre is the focal point of the community and we continually look for ways to support the local talent that we have,” she explained.
Registration for the competition takes place on the centre’s Facebook page facebook.com.rousetilltowncentre where buskers’ videos are showcased for voting. Winners will be announced on Sunday 7th April.