Ale in Autumn on Saturday in Medina will again include buskers

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 26 September 2023 at 10:26 pm

Provided photos: Rob Robinson, center, listens to a pair of buskers including Alex Feig at left playing next to Modern Mercantile on East Center Street during last year’s Ale in Autumn/Busker Festival.

Photo by Ginny Kropf: Rob Robinson poses in his busker T-shirt from last year’s Busker Festival during Ale in Autumn. The Busker Festival will again compliment Ale in Autumn on Saturday in Medina.

MEDINA – Medina Area Partnership will roll out the red carpet for 700 visitors on Saturday who have purchased tickets for Ale in Autumn and the second annual Busker Festival.

The Busker Festival was an idea of Rob Robinson, who said he has been trying for several years to bring the event to Medina. Last year during Ale in Autumn, 17 entertainers from all across the area came to Medina and were a big hit with participants of Ale in Autumn, he said.

Robinson explained a busker is someone who entertains in doorways or stairwells, hoping for tips. They are not necessarily all musicians, he said. Some are jugglers, dancers, street performers and magicians.

Busker performances will coincide with Ale in Autumn from 1 to 6 p.m. Twenty-one performers from throughout Western New York have committed to attend. They are from Medina, Lyndonville, Lockport and Niagara Falls.

Robinson has mapped out the appropriate sites for the buskers to entertain and said they are spaced far enough apart so one’s performance doesn’t interfere with the next one.

Robinson was a busker himself in Toronto during the 1970s and early 1980s, where he said it is more common than in the States. A pianist and guitar player, he comes by his musical talent naturally, as his mother Virginia Bishop was organist at the old Apple Grove for 30 years.

It was the Apple Grove that brought the family to Medina. He said his mother was playing organ throughout southern Ontario and Western New York, when her agent told her she needed to contact Walt Hilger at the Apple Grove. He told her if she did that, it would be the only gig she would ever need. Turns out, he was right.

The driving motivation for a busker is not making money, Robinson said. It’s being part of a festival and the hope of getting a gig out of it.

“The bottom line is, it’s fun,” he said.

A trio of buskers entertains on Main Street during last year’s Busker Festival, which coincided with Ale in Autumn.