Busker makes return to festival

What a difference a year makes.

Dunedin resident David Barton performed with his family group, the Barton Groove, at the South Dunedin Busking Festival in February last year.

And he was happily back in action again at this year's festival on Saturday, playing the guitar and singing with daughters and fellow musicians Hannah (13) and Abi Barton (18), as if nothing had changed.

But in September last year, everything did change, for the worse, when Mr Barton,who had always been physically active and had tried to eat the right foods, was diagnosed with an advanced form of a blood cancer, non-Hodgkins lymphoma.

The Barton Groove - comprising David  Barton and daughters Hannah (13) and Abi Barton (18) - back...
The Barton Groove - comprising David Barton and daughters Hannah (13) and Abi Barton (18) - back in action during the busking festival.
By October 2018 he was unable to walk, and had to use a wheelchair to get about after a tumour was found on his spine, and cancer spread to his stomach.

"It was a very close call," he said.

"It was at stage four. I was on my way.

"There was just a couple of months [to catch it in time] and it would have been over for me."

After the diagnosis, his wife, Ruan Barton, had also feared the worst.

"That did go through my head."

"It was a big shock," she said.

However, she was now delighted that successful treatment at Dunedin Hospital meant her husband had been cleared of the cancer, and could spend a sunny morning singing again in King Edward St.

South Dunedin Business Association president Craig Waterhouse said the event had attracted 36 acts, up from 32 in the previous year, and provided "good family fun".

The Barton Groove was second in a competition section at the festival last year.

There were no awards for the family group this year, but just being alive in the sun, "that's a reward in itself", Mr Barton said.

"It really does make me feel good when I'm playing music."

For Mrs Barton to watch him perform with their daughters was to reflect on an "amazing" change for the better, considering his health.

"I just feel joy," she said.

"Just the fact that he's walking and standing there.

"It's just really special. It's incredible. It's a positive change.

Khamzin Tribe Belly Dancers leader Stefanie Kalmakoff (at front), Cath Smith, at left, and, at...
Khamzin Tribe Belly Dancers leader Stefanie Kalmakoff (at front), Cath Smith, at left, and, at rear, Laura Morrison, in white headwear, and Jeanne Hutchison perform at the South Dunedin Busking Festival on Saturday. PHOTOS: GERARD O'BRIEN

"This time last year he was in a wheelchair.

"He had to learn to walk again."

And how do Mr Barton (48) and his two daughters feel about playing music together?

"I think they just find it's soothing, it's therapeutic," Mrs Barton says.

"It was a great day. I really enjoyed it," Mr Barton added.

Busking festival prize winners

Music individual under 13 years: Lochie Ing-Aram, 1;   Dancing Queens  Stasa Tucker & Lucia Morey, 2;   Brodie and  Sylvie Harper, equal 3.

Music individual 13-18 years:  Oscar Tobeck, 1; Quinn Hardie, 2;  Paige Milburn, 3.

Music individual over 18 years:  Chestar Dextar as ‘‘Kiwi Gorilla’’, 1;  Shelley J and  Ollie Crooks, equal 2.

Music Group under 18 years:  ‘‘M&Ms’’ — Mariah Taungapeau & Makayla Houpapa, 1;   Samuel & Rosalie (Leaper), 2;  Charlotte & Katherine (Robinson), 3.

Music Group over 18 years:  ‘‘Ellie Jackson Duo’’  Ellie & Richard Jackson, 1;    Diversity Quartet, 2;    Khamzin Tribe Bellydancers, 3.

Khamzin Tribe Belly Dancers leader Stefanie Kalmakoff (at front), Cath Smith, at left, and, at...
Khamzin Tribe Belly Dancers leader Stefanie Kalmakoff (at front), Cath Smith, at left, and, at rear, Laura Morrison, in white headwear, and Jeanne Hutchison perform at the South Dunedin Busking Festival on Saturday. PHOTOS: GERARD O'BRIEN

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