SUPPLIED | Apple & Grape Harvest Festival

STANTHORPE’S CBD will come alive Saturday March 4 when the South East Queensland finals of the National Australian Busking Championships return to the Granite Belt.

In the past six ‘Busking Stanthorpe’ South-East Queensland finals, the competition has produced five different winners who’ve gone on to win significant national awards including last year’s winner Matt (Shieldsy) Shields, a Stanthorpe police officer.

Matt took out the top prize in Stanthorpe last year and finished second overall at the national finals in Cooma, New South Wales.

Local students participating in the Busking Championships. IMAGE: Supplied

“We have some new judges lined-up this year, along with some special performances at the finals concert and let’s not forget we have a bigger prize pool on offer this year, in excess of $8000”, Apple & Grape Festival President, Russell Wantling said.

The National Championships were founded by Allan Spencer in the country NSW town of Cooma back in 2012.

Stanthorpe was the first town outside of Cooma to get involved in hosting a regional finals.

Buskers will return to the streets of Stanthorpe in March. IMAGE: Supplied

“Stanthorpe has discovered more than its fair share of Australian National Champion Buskers,” Spencer said.

“There is literally no limit to the potential for artists who make their start busking.  I followed with excitement as ‘Tones and I’ make her break as finalist in the Noosa Busking Championships, which led to an invitation play at the Gympie Music Muster and from there she was picked up by Triple J and on to International success.”

The competition is open to everyone, from primary school-aged performers to seasoned professionals.

Solo singers and musicians, duos, trios and groups of any genre, and non-musical street entertainers will compete for a share of $8000 in prize money over numerous categories including age categories, best band, judges’ awards and People’s Choice.

Spectators can purchase Busking Tokens for $1 and vote for their favourites to help choose the winner of the People’s Choice Award.

Entertainment can be enjoyed from 9am to 2.30pm at 16 busking stations across Stanthorpe’s CBD, followed by the Finalists Concert from 2.45pm.  

The finals concert will be at the Stanthorpe Civic Centre with entry by gold coin donation for charity.

Buskers interested in participating in the 2023 South East Queensland Busking Championships can enter online at

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