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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Tricky business » » Drawing a Crowd at Fairs and Festivals (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Dynamike
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Light a torch. Take your time as if you are going to use it for fire eating. When you get a crowd you are comfortable with, put out the fire and start your magic act.
magic4u02
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Thanks guys for your kind words regarding my thread on working fairs and festivals. One of these days I may just have to put all of my notes and information into a book that can help people. That is for another day though.

It is a great question that you post and one that I am glad you asked. In every festival I am working, I get paid to be an entertainer there. I am not busking so this does make a huge difference for me in my approach and style.

As a paid entertainer, one can work with the fair or festival in getting nthem to marjet you effectively. do not ever assume theyn are going to do it for you. YOU must be proactive and make it easy for them. I do this through an advertising and marketing kit I send out the the client when the event is booked. It ahs posters, web images for their site, bio text written down, press releases they can use, 8.5 by 11 photos that can be repsoduced, my logo etc. I also tell them how this information can be used and why it benefits them and their event.

By doing so, I already aim drawing interest in my show before I am ever even at the event. I also make sure my show is listed in the program, on the website and any signage that may be at the festival event. By taking an active approach and assisting them with the process, you can do this easily and it works wonders for marketing as well as generating interest in your show.

Now I also use a Show Time clock sign. I have this posted on the stage and it clearly will state when the next show start time is as well as it is branded for my show and performance. This gets placed on or near the stage when I get to the event and so folks walking by know exactly what is going on and when.

Now the big key for me is to always make sure the festival gives ample time for set up between acts. In most fairs and festivals, you will NOT have the luxury of having the stage area to your self. You nusually will be sharing with other acts. You want to be sure you have enough time for the act in front to load off and for you to load on. I make sure this is in my contract so there is plenty of time without me being rushed.

Now what this does is that my equipment being out there on stage starts to draw attention. I mean illusions and magic props are just eye candy for people and I get my props out there quickly so it starts to work for me immediately.

I then always have full control over my music (also in my contract). I use an iPod and have play lists set up for preshow music. I start this about 15 minutes prior to the show itself and the music is music that builds each show. Music draws attention and people are curious about it. At a festival, music cues lay people that something is about to happen.

I then also will have the playlist set up with a professional voice over tracks stating "show will start in 5 mins" and another that gets played at the 2 minute time.

Before these tracks play, I can always interupt my preshow music by turning the volume down and starting a classic ballyhoo(sp). The ballyhoo is an artform derived from side show folks. It is the patter and banter that gets spoken that gets interest and lets people become curious as to what is taking place and draws them inwards.

If I feel I need to, I will do a ballyhoo on the stage miced. it is a simple patter script I have done for years but can be changed on the fly based on who is in the audience or whom is walking by. It works great but you have to work at it.

With these tips, you can generate and draw a huge crowd without having to do so much work. It is something that is a part of my festival show and always works to bring people in.

Hope this helps.

Kyle
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Mystical Matthew
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Thanks Kyle! That's very helpful. Since I made this post initially, I've done a few other events. I've added a few things to my contract, and have tried many of the suggestions in this thread. Thanks to everyone who has taken the time to help me!

The last few engagements I've been able to fill all the seats! I use pre-show music and have added a few "pre-show" magic effects. A number of my props that I used to consider "junk magic" have worked out well for drawing a crowd. This is why I hate selling my magic props. To me it's akin to an artist selling his canvas and brushes.

The main key is being in a situation where there are actually people within earshot / visual range to draw. Through the school of hard knocks I've discovered that this needs to be taken care of during the booking process. "Where will I perform and what else is nearby?" has become a standard addition to my list of questions. For this summer, I went back to my upcoming bookings and clarified this.
magic4u02
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Philadelphia, PA
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Matthew: You are most welcome my friend. Hope the information was of help to you and others.

You are exactly correct. there is SOOOO much I do and set up and ask ahead of time at the booking stage and throughout the booking process. In fact, I could write an entire chapter just on that alone. =) lol

The bottom line is that I get a lot figured out, planned and agreed upon ahead of time so that there is no worry and I minimize unpleasant suprises on the day of the event.

I also always remember that 95% of the time, I know how to run a festival and fair better then the folks running it. Nothing against them at all. it is just a fact that most folks trying to run the festival may be volunteers or have not been and worked at as many festivals as I have over the years. I utilize this information to 1) help them out and 2) educate them along in the process to provide solutions that meet their needs and help me in the long run.

You absolutely want to know what your staging is like and where it will be located. I also like to know what other stages or events are taking place that day and if there are any bands or music going on during my shwos. If there are, I can ask where that will be in proximity to the stage I am on. All of these help me better to guage the event and to assist the client.

I usually have no problems at all offering a better solution. In many cases, the client is overjoyed at my willingness to help them out to make their event run even smoother.

What I also do a lot is I book a pro level packagwe that offers them strolling magic. They end up paying for it, but I make it so easy for them to say yes. I always will stroll before my shows and this works as a wonderful way in which to advertise my stage performances.

Kyle
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Mystical Matthew
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Quote:
On 2010-08-01 10:15, magic4u02 wrote:

What I also do a lot is I book a pro level packagwe that offers them strolling magic. They end up paying for it, but I make it so easy for them to say yes. I always will stroll before my shows and this works as a wonderful way in which to advertise my stage performances.

Kyle


Nice! So your strolling serves two purposes then. One is to add value (and subsequently price) to your package, the second is to draw a crowd to your show! I totally didn't think of that! Thank you!
magic4u02
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Exactly!!! I get paid by them to do strolling, but at the same time, I am advertising my stage shows that day as well as letting their patrons know of the events taking place at the festival. I beocme a sort of roving MC in the mind of the client. Most welcome.

Kyle
Kyle Peron

http://www.kylekellymagic.com

Entertainers Product Site

http://kpmagicproducts.com

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