Blackpool Magic Festival 2016 Review – Thomas Anthony

Blackpool Magic Festival 2016 Review
This is probably my favourite weekend of the year. From the 19th – 21st of February, 3500 magicians descend on the Blackpool Winter Gardens for the annual magicians convention. The weekend is made up of lectures from the best in the business, workshops, hundreds of trade stands with magicians selling their latest miracles and all capped up with 3 evening gala shows in the theatre.
The build up to the convention always gets the juices flowing, so as we, (myself and a friend) head over on the Thursday to set up camp for the weekend we always discuss what we are looking forward too and try form a plan of attack for the next few days.
This year, we were treated to a jumbo magic auction on the Thursday night, not as if we weren’t going to spend enough this weekend! I managed to walk away with some magic memorabilia and a random suit bag?!?
The first event on the Friday is the dealers showcase, all the companies that sell magic all over the world are allowed 5 minutes or so to show their latest effects and special offers. The rest of the day is made up with lectures with magicians from all over the world showing their unique concepts and routines. These lectures often clash with other events hence why we try and make a plan of attack, to make sure we don’t miss anything.
At the end of Friday we move to the first of three gala shows, they are notoriously hit and miss on the quality of the Friday night show, sadly this year was a big let down. Speaking to several magicians over the weekend, it appears it was a consensus across the board. Not much originality and lots of repeated acts from previous years equals a poorly received show.
After a few drinks on the Friday, we woke up nice and early to head for the Childrens Entertainer of the year award. Couple of nice acts, the winner was Gordon Drayson. Good use of music and enthusiasm appeared to win the audience over.
Onto Saturday, many lectures and more spending of my hard earned cash, it was then time for the second gala show of the weekend. The Saturday show has always had a good reputation and this year it didn’t disappoint. Highlights for me personally, a gentleman named Otto Wessely from Austria, a weird visual comedy act and he had the audience in the palm of his hand the whole time.
The last day of the convention is always a busy one for me personally as I tend to save all my purchases till then, mainly as a lot of the dealers don’t want to take as much stock back home. (who doesn’t love a bargain!) The format is still the same with workshops/shows and lectures and is all capped off with the main Sunday night gala show. Lots of big names from the business (not household names) take to the stage and perform their act. A few people complained at the use of dogs in the show, both appearing and disappearing. Aside from that, it was a great show and I cant wait till the convention in 2017
Thomas Anthony
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