Things By Simon

Why I Was Wrong About The Melbourne Magic Festival

The Melbourne Magic Festival is something that I was wrong about.

When it first started back in 2008, I was dubious. Most of the magic I’d seen in Melbourne hadn’t been that inspiring to me. (And for the record, that includes most of my own work at the time.) I figured that while we do have some decent performers here, there weren’t nearly enough to sustain something resembling an actual festival. I quietly predicted that it would be small, awkward, and generally not very impressive.

I was wonderfully, gloriously wrong.

Now in its 6th year, the Festival has become a highlight of my annual schedule. Judging by the steadily increasing audience numbers, it’s also becoming a highlight for many Melbourne residents as well.

This year the festival is running from July 1st to July 13th, and involves about 160 separate performances during those two weeks, split between about 40 distinct shows. The shows themselves have an impressive variety, ranging form wacky comedic magic for kids and families, through to more subtle illusions aimed at adults who are looking to engage their brains as well as their funny bones.

Like most festivals, most performers at the MMF are self-producing their shows. This means that each of us has paid a venue hire fee, and we receive the money from our ticket sales. Because the venue hire fees are subsidised and quite reasonable, getting a decent audience turn-out can make the festival nicely profitable for the performers. A decent turn-out obviously isn’t guaranteed, but thanks to the festival’s impressive marketing, I’ve found that getting audiences here is far easier than at any of the other festivals I’ve worked to date.

So, the Magic Festival is coming up. I’m performing my own show, directing a friend’s show, and managing one of the venues. Tickets for everything else are available here at the official website. It’s going to be a crazy couple of weeks, but as long as I can get my show ready in time, the festival has every chance of being fun, interesting, culturally engaging, and a generally fantastic all-round experience.

Sometimes it’s wonderful to be proven wrong.




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