The Borderland Busking Comp was a great success for 2017. The Final was held in The Borderland venue in FringeWorld at the National Folk Festival on Saturday 15 April. 5 Finalists competed for a spot in the Flute ’n’ Fiddle on Sunday 16 April and a programmed spot at Smiths Alternative.

2017 winner – Jess Baker

Jess BakerJess Baker was born in England and raised in New Zealand. At eighteen she moved to London to study Musical Theatre and did a three year BA at Italia Conti Academy of Performing Arts. Jess has always been involved with the arts through musical theatre, acting, singing, piano and guitar. Three years ago she moved to Canberra and has since done performances at Smiths Alternative, The Front Gallery and Cafe and Transit Bar. In 2016 Jess played at The Tamworth Country Music Festival and won the Canberra Sound Search Competition. She is super excited about recording an EP in 2017 with Studio 68.

We would like to thank everyone who was involved in the competition this year including Smith’s Alternative and all of the great acts we saw during the heats and the finals. It was extremely difficult to narrow the performers to 5 finalists as we were spoilt for choice from a range of great performers.


About the Borderland Busking Comp

The Borderland Busking Comp is new for the 2017 Festival to coincide with the introduction of the FringeWorld precinct in the Festival. The competition is the perfect platform for unsigned artists to showcase their talents to a national audience.

This competition is designed specifically to give unsigned artists a great opportunity by providing a key stepping stone for their career development! The prizes available include a stage position at National Folk Festival and a programmed gig at the Smith’s Alternative Anti-Folk Festival for the winner.

How does the competition work?

The heats for the Borderland Busking Comp are held prior to the commencement of the National Folk Festival at Smith’s Alternative Bookshop in Canberra. The finalists are then showcased in a Final to be held on Saturday 15 April at the National Folk Festival.

To be considered you are required to submit an application including a recent (recorded within the past 12months) YouTube or similar video sharing link of a ‘Live Original Performance’. After the application closing date, the footage you submitted is reviewed by representatives from the National Folk Festival. 16 artists are then selected to proceed to the Semi Final Heats. Semi-finalists perform 1 song in front of a representative from both the National Folk Festival and Smith’s Alternative as well as a live audience. From here 4 performers are selected to progress to the Finals for the final showdown!

All finalists will receive a day ticket to come to the Festival for the Final held on Saturday 15 April, 2017. This ticket is valid for entry to the Festival on the day of issue.

The Prize

All finalists receive

  • A day ticket to the National Folk Festival to compete in the Final to be held in The Borderland in FringeWorld.

The winner of the competition will receive

  • A programmed spot in the Flute ‘n’ Fiddle on Sunday 16 April at the National Folk Festival
  • A programmed spot at Smith’s Alternative on Monday 17 April as part of their Easter programming.

Terms and Conditions

Please read the terms and conditions of the competition very carefully.

Terms and Conditions (pdf)

Important Dates;

Applications open December 2016

Heat 1 (Smith’s Alternative) 3-5pm 19 February, 2017

Heat 2 (Smith’s Alternative) 3-5pm 26 February, 2017

Busking Finals (National Folk Festival) Midday 15th April, 2017

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