THE sound of music came to Basingstoke town centre as buskers and entertainers delighted Basingstoke shoppers.

A total of 29 acts registered to play on the town’s streets last Saturday and Sunday for Top Hat Weekend – a new feature of this year’s Basingstoke Festival.

Buskers played at five “busk stops” – two at the Top of The Town, one in Wote Street near the Halifax bank, and two in The Malls.

Other street entertainers included The Whizzers, a dance troupe of imp-like characters, and the Fairly Famous Family’s The Lifeguards, who cajoled shoppers from high chairs in Wote Street.

Ed Campbell, from Sherborne St John, sang and played guitar at the Top of The Town – his first go at busking. The 66-year-old, a former coach of the Basingstoke Buffalo ice hockey team, said: “I used to have a band and we folded about a year ago. I saw this event on Facebook and I thought I would have a go. I really enjoyed it.”

Louis Burrows, a 21-year-old from Evesham, Worcestershire, played guitar, having been spotted by Basingstoke Festival director Julia Tymukas busking in Guildford.

He said: “It has been really good, really well organised, and it’s been good to have a bit of company when you are busking.”

Acts on each day were judged on their performances by organisers, and the winners received a cash prize.

Ms Tymukas said she hoped the Top Hat Weekend would continue as a way of showcasing talented musicians that could then be snapped up for Basingstoke Live, which takes place this weekend.

She added: “I am really pleased with the people who have turned up and sung, and the reaction from everyone who watched was positive so that’s really great.”

Sam Jones won for the best act award on Saturday, while Steel Strum, made up of musicians Alex Clifton and Simon Stewart, won on Sunday.