Leon Conway performs with his accordion at the 2019 Kilmore Regional Busking Championships.

THE Kilmore Regional Busking Championships are set to return bigger and better for their second iteration on April 17.

The championships started in 2019 but were cancelled last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Championships coordinator Rose King said the Rotary Club of Southern Mitchell, which started the competition, was thrilled to see it return.

“Originally it was conceived as a way of bringing a different demographic to town for the Kilmore Art Expo, which is on the same weekend, but it has taken on a life of its own, which is really good in my view,” she said.

“We’ve got three categories – open, secondary school and primary school – which means that younger performers will be competing against their peers and helps make it a bit more of a level playing field.

“We also have a people’s choice category, where spectators get to vote for their favourite acts during the day.

“It all happens on Sydney Street on both sides of the street. We could have anything up to 10 performers on at the same time dotted between the library and Union Street.”

The competition forms part of the Australian National Busking Championships, an umbrella group that supports 12 other busking championships throughout Queensland, NSW and Victoria.

The winners of each regional busking championships get to compete at the nationals, held in Cooma, NSW, in November of each year.

The Kilmore competition will kick off at 10am, with three guest judges assessing each performance. Street performances will conclude at 3pm, with three finalists in each category selected to perform at the John Kelly Pavilion at Kilmore Racing Club between 4pm and 6pm, where the champions will be crowned.

Ms King said a few fan favourites from the 2019 competition would return.

“We’ve got a couple of really talented singer-songwriters, and in the open category we’ve got the lovely Aleesha Oriental who is a belly dancer who performed in 2019. She brings lots of colour and fun to the street,” she said.

“We also have a classical guitarist, Alejandro Aguenta, who took out first place in the open section in 2019, and he is also performing at the preview night for the art expo.”

More than $8000 in prize money will be up for grabs at the competition, with businesses including the Review sponsoring encouragement awards of between $50 and $200 for young performers.

Entries for the championships close on April 14, and people can enter by visiting www.coomamusic.com.au or emailing buskingkilmore@gmail.com.