In David Kaye’s column in Genii Magazine this month he did an article about performing at fairs. He interviewed Jef Eaton, Alex Zander, Terry Godfrey and myself for the article.
It’s a great article with some solid nuts and bots information about performing at fairs and how to get into performing in that industry. If performing on the “fair circuit” is something you’ve though about doing, you should pick up the July 2023 issue of Genii!
One of the things I’ve started doing to “add value” for the fairs that book me is to make little sizzle reels of me performing at the fair.
Here’s this weeks video:
You’ll see me do my version of Sticker Kicker in this video. I’m still working out the flow of the trick. I like it and it’s such a strange visual when you peel the back off of the card. I really like it!
One thing that magicians frequently complain about is having a generic “magician” on a post and not their name. Here’s a 20 year old poster advertising a fair that I came across:
Look at the listing, at the bottom they list acts by name. There are specific titles and generic ones. For example, Scott Land Marionettes is the name of his show, so the full title ends up on the poster. Then there’s the generic Face Painter. Both of those titles tell the person going to the fair what will be there. A generic face painter may not do good for the face painter’s ego, but it is probably more exciting to a ticket buyer than “Shelby Winters”, unless that’s a prominent person from the community.
Let’s take a closer look at the listing, I circled an act:
I circled Grinn & Barrett, I know what what this act is and know the two people in the act, but 99% of the people going to the fair have no idea what it is. In that place a generic “comedy juggler” or “juggling show” would have gotten more people excited about than the name of the act.
This is something I’ve changed recently with my show. I used to bill it at fairs as Louie Foxx’s One Man Side Show, which is still the name of the show, but I don’t use that at events like fairs or festivals. It doesn’t really tell the audience what they are going to see. I’m now using The Magic of Louie Foxx and since I made that change, I’m seeing bigger starting audiences at my shows. This is nice, as I don’t have to build as hard as I did in the past.
Take a peek at how you’re being advertised in a program and think about if you didn’t know who you are and what you do, would you go see the show? Personally I’d rather be listed as a generic “magic show” in a program than just “Louie Foxx”.
Everyone things performing on the road is all fun and games. My current run is about 15 weeks long, sure there are some gaps in the schedule that I fly home, but 15 weeks is a long time on the road.
There are some things that I do to keep myself sane, like going for walks or to the gym. This particular trip I’m driving, so I was able to take some tools with me. Last night was a big night, I hunted down about 50 bottles for my Evaporation trick and then made them in my hotel room!
Later today I’ll be working on a couple of custom props in the hotel room after a full day of shows at the fair! The glamour of working on the road ever ends!
This week I’m performing at a fair and here’s the view of the audience from the stage:
The table and chairs are for the judges of the pageant which happens at the end of the day (after my shows). Also all of the chairs have notes that say “reserved on them”.
This particular fair has trouble getting audiences to watch shows at this stage.
Can you guess why?
If you answered there’s no where for the audience to sit, you are correct. Most people given the choice will choose to not sit on the grass.
For my first show, I told people they could sit on the chairs. Quickly I filled all of the chairs for my show. With the success of giving people somewhere to sit, for my second show I drug over a bench. That bench filled. For my final show I drug over two more benches and those benches filled.
The solution was soo simple, give the people somewhere to sit, and they’ll watch the show.