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Meet the global street band

What do you get if you mix one street busker from Poland with two buskers from the USA, one from Spain, one from Belgium, and one from Colombia?

The world’s best Global Street Band, according to Toyota’s Feeling the Street campaign. 

A group of six street buskers from around the world opened the American Express Queenstown Winter Festival last month. It was the very first time they had performed on stage together.

The talented street musicians all won their spot in the world’s best Global Street Band through Toyota’s Feeling the Street campaign. More than 300 entries from 49 countries worldwide were in the running, and after 17,221 votes the final team was picked.

Toyota Ambassador, Jason Kerrison, was with the team from start to finish. He orchestrated the band and pieced together their performances.

The aim he said was to give street music a “global platform that it hasn’t had before”.

After arriving in New Zealand, the group set off on a road trip travelling the length of the country, from Auckland to Queenstown, exploring the sights and jamming when they could.

Among the six musicians was Andrew Fisher, from Las Angeles. The keen guitar and harmonica player is used to busking on the street but had never performed on stage before this competition.

Since winning, he has performed a couple of times on stage but his performance at the Winter Festival was only his fourth live stage performance, and in front of 10,000-20,000 people. He was extremely excited to win his spot after lots of hard work and determination. Fisher handed out flyers and did lots of online marketing to make sure he had as much support as possible.

“I had a plan. I was working to get as many votes as I could,” said Fisher.

Through voting and participation in the online competition six extras also won spots as ‘roadies’. Their job was to help when they could and just be good company and share the experience with the rest of the team.

Sophia McCallum from London won her spot as a roadie after she voted for a friend of hers who had entered the competition.

“It’s been amazing, it really has. It’s very surreal, I still don’t think I’m aware of where I am. I’m literally halfway around the world,” said McCallum, 25. “This week is going to be life changing.”

The group flew back to their homes on the Saturday, after a well deserved night of performing and celebration.

Samantha-Jane Harding
Samantha-Jane is a multi-talented 27-year-old with a passion for communication, entertainment, and adventure. She graduated from the NZ Radio Training School in 2015 with a Diploma in Radio Journalism.
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