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magic4u02
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Eternal Order
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Hey Steve,

It is great to know you did so well. I knew that you would. I hope that some of my advice you found out was not only true but may have helped you a great deal while at the fair. Let me know how that went. I would be curious to know what you applied that you learned here that worked for you. That way everyone can learn from your experience as well.

It is also good to know that you are taking mental notes of what works and what does not while at the event. That is critical as working outdoors at festivals you start to really realize that you have to adapt a lot all the time to the changing conditions of both weather and crowd control. It seems like you had a great first outing.

Also, I am glad you found out one thing that I said to be dead truwe. Nothing builds a crowd like a crowd. =) If you cvan stop 5 people just out of curiosity, others will come over naturally to just find out what is going on. I use that all the time. In fact I had a large strolling gig yesterday for a large fair and I got such a huge crowd 9using some of my crowd management techniques) that I also got on TV as well. They will be ruinning my 5 minute spot all weel several times a day. not bad for just knowing how to gain a crowd to watch what I do. =)

I really am glad that it went so well for you. Let us know what you applied and used and how things worked or did not work.

Kyle
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kosmoshiva
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A related comment - has anyone else noticed how there seems to be traditional areas for a successful 'pitch'? There are just some places that work well, be it a geographic quirk, the way the traffic flows through an area, etc, and there are other areas that are just plain duds, no matter what you do. Like the store in your neighbourhood that's always changing hands every few months as if there's some bad mojo connected to the joint ...
Don't forget to breathe.
magic4u02
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I do agree with you but I think you may be referring more to busking then working strolling at a fair o9r a festival style market. However, even at a festival or fair, you will find this same situation happens from time to time. You start to see trends as to what locations at the festival are sure winners and which areas to stay away from. You really start to learn through the act of doing. For example I stay away from the rides or midways cause the noice is just too much and the crowds and traffic to closed in for me to really work it well. However, performing in an area where people sit to eat is a perfect location as it gives you an audience eager to watch as they enjoy their food and it is usually more of an open area.

Kyle
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keithmagic
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Over the years, I have learned that LOCATION LOCATION LOCATION can be CRUCIAL to the success of a fair or festival event.

I went into a lot of detail on this in my festival book, but basically, the most succesful one man shows at a festival should be presented much in the same manner as a street/circle show.

I'm not sure I agree totally about wanting to be near food areas. It can be difficult to compete with carny food! Walk around it maybe an OK area, just don't be surprised if you get people with a lot of gooey sticky cotton candy and elephant ear grease fingers all over your cards or sponge balls!

And thanks Danny for the kind words about my book, The Festival Entertainer. I really put years of experience, blood, sweat, and tears into it, and I am glad it has helped people get in the biz.

Keith
Author of "The Festival Entertainer" The Professional Entertainer's Guide to Booking and Working Outdoor Fairs, Festivals, and Events.
Available at http://www.howtobookfestivals.com
magic4u02
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Keith,

great information my friend. Thanks for chiming in here. What I meant by the food area was more for stroling performances or for situations where you can perform as they watch you. Kind of a nice way to warm up and get your pacing right. You always have an audience eager to watch as they sit and east. For myself, when I am strolling around, I can often start in this area and just warm up with some visual magic that the audience can watch from their seats.

If I want to start to draw a crowd and to really treat it more like a street or bucking style show, then I will move away from the food areas for sure. I do not need greesy chicken fingers or fries on my stuff when I am going into my interactive routine. When I do this, I move to a different location.

As you stated it is indeed all about location at a festival or fair. You also have to be very aware of where you are setting up to perform your show. You need to have enbough area to be able to draw a crowd (half circle) while not interfering with any vendors (people paying to have a booth spot) or without blocking the traffic flow that needs to occur.

A good rule of thumb is to get there early and just walk the grounds before you begin. Look at the areas you feel will work out best for you. It is also a nice rule of thumb to talk directly with your client. They may have some great areas they might like you to concentrate on and give you some ideas that may help. It also shows your willingness to be a solutions provider for the client.

One point I can not stress enough is making sure you are aware of the paying vendors that are around or near you. These people are paying a fee to be at the fair or festival and their primary goal is to make money. You can easily offend and get them really upset with you if they feel you are blocking their booth, preventing traffic from getting to their booth or taking away people from them. In most cases they will not care if you are hired by the fair to even be there.

With this in mind I always make it a point that if I am setting up near a vendor, I personally go over and talk with them and introduce myself. I let them know who I am and what I do and show interest in them as well. respect to get respect back. I then will often times mention the vendors a lot during my show. This not only gets the vendors appreciating what I am doing, but it helps me directly as well.

In many cases, just from the act of doing this, I have not only had vendors thank me personally, but I usually get free stuff all day. Nothing quite like getting free drinks, free food just for being a nice guy and for keeping the vendors in mind.

Something to think about at any rate.

Thanks keith for chiming in here. Always great information and advice. =)

Kyle
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Dannydoyle
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See Kyle sometimes people miss the point. When you DRAW A CROWD you are helping the venders who have paid. You may anger those not around you but the guy near you in general is 100% happy with you being around.

He gets people who are waiting in his line, happy to see the show. He gets people who have seen the show stopping at his booth. This never is a problem I have had venders set up near me on purpose. Care must be taken but think it all the way through is my point. Like you said, it is mutually benificial.

Carnies know what they are doing. These guys are pretty good at it.

As Keith says he does a lot of detail about it in the book. The right location means the right crowd in the right mood and that makes the shows go better and people are happier and guess who is booked next year at the same fair?
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
magic4u02
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Philadelphia, PA
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Thanks Danny. It is nice to know folks like you and Keith know exactly what I am talking about here. =)It is indeed a mutually beneficial situation if you handle it the right way and are aware of vendors as you are strolling.

To many magicians do not think of the vendors when strolling or doing their shows at festivals, and that can lead to some bad situations. Just be aware that the vendors are paying for their spot so you need to be aare of this as you locate a spot.

Kyle
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