As a magician and other than performing, I don’t think there’s much I enjoy more than when I get to be an absolute unashamed geek and engross myself in magic. Whether it be for a half hour coffee with magic buddies talking tricks and new ideas, an hour or 2 in a magic shop checking out all the cool stuff I’ve never seen before or, best of all, a convention where I’m surrounded by 100s of guys (and nowadays an increasing number of girls) with the same magic affliction as me.
Since swapping from being a Lancashire Magician to a Yorkshire Magician about 15 years ago (I’m very proud to be from Lancashire though, sorry!) a great deal of my magical coffee chats and hours in magic shops are spent at Merlins Of Wakefield where I’ve made some fantastic friends including the owners Mark & Phil. In my opinion, Merlins is one of the finest bricks and mortar magic shops you can still actually visit in person in the UK and I can lose hours in there quite easily. As well as all the usual bits and bobs, they stock a large number of unique tricks and props, including my very own This Card Magician.
A couple of years ago, to celebrate their 21st Birthday, Merlins decided to tick the 3rd box on my magic geek list and host a one day magic convention at Unity Works in Wakefield, West Yorkshire. It was a fantastic Festival of Magic and a huge success with magicians and magic fans attending from all over the UK. We were treated to fantastic magic lecturers from home grown talent such as Darren Mac as well as other really useful seminars on building a character from Ali Cadabra and circus skills workshops from Michael Jordan. Lawrence Turner also gave a brilliant lecture on his speciality, no doubt the leading authority on this in the UK, if not the world.
The Gala show was another hi light of the day with death defying escapes from international illusionists Amethyst, world class stand up magic from Merlins Magic Academy Alumni Thomas Anthony and fast paced magic & variety act High Jinx.
The magic festival was such a success that Merlins decided to make it an annual event and last year we were treated to more top rated magic performers as well as the highest quality magic dealers, lecturers and curiosities. The show was another blinder, again showcasing home grown talent (we have so much here in Wakefield), Lee Stakes, Thomas Anthony & Darren Mac alongside Magic Castle favourite Mark James and an insight into the rather disturbing world of Dr. Diablo (aka. Michael Diamond) & Katie Trickett.
As I write this I’m looking forward to their 3rd Festival of Magic this coming Sunday and really excited about the change of venue to the Academy Theatre, Birdwell. The intimate theatre at the venue is a fantastic location for magic and will suit the dynamic of the day perfectly for lecturers and what promises to be another stand out gala show. Stars of the day include lectures from the legendary Grumbleweeds, highly skilled Alexander Wells and the one and only Harry Robson (somewhat of on idol for Tom and me).
Harry Robson will be joined in the dealers hall by Merlins themselves, Elixer Magic, Devine Gifts and Cards 4 Magic as well as the Peter Diamond Magic Company. Peter was my mentor who sadly passed away last year and Brian Berry keeps the company going strong, I will write an article about Peter & Brian sometime soon, I just need to get something sorted first.
Throughout the day there will be close up magic from four of the UK’s best close up magicians, entertaining demonstrations of fair ground scams from Sam The Scam, a card magician jam session and the return of Michael Jordan’s Juggling Workshop. Micheal has been busy touring all over Europe and has a residency at Viva Blackpool but he’s found the time to bringback his High Jinx Illusion Spectacular for the gala show. The show will also see the hilarious antics of Mr. Zip, the classic magic of Lorenzo and vaudeville spectacles from Alexander Wells. Darren Mac will also be back to compare the show so it really promises to be another not to be missed
I’ll let you know how we all got on after the weekend but for now, I better get my beauty sleep, I’m going to need it I can tell.