MagiFest 2013 - Day One

The MagiFest in Columbus, Ohio missed the wrecking ball after several  decades of successful conventions and great management. The MagiFest  was always considered the first major convention of the year drawing  well over 500 peoply annually who would brave the traditionally frigid  environs of the Midwest winters. Registrants traveled from around the  region and talent was drawn from across the globe to make the MagiFest  one of the premier conventions on the scene.

But after Jep  Hostetler turned over the reigns of management to Ron Spangler, it  appeared to be more than the new organizers were equipped to handle.  Although last year's convention was a financial success, they kind of  looked around the room and everyone agreed that perhaps they should let  it go.

Joshua Jay was one of the hundreds of magicians who grew up  attending the MagiFest and learned to love and appreciate magic. He saw  some of the best talent in the world and learned from them. He and  business partner, Andi Gladwin from the U.K. teamed up to organize "The  Session", a close-up convention in England. Buoyed from the success of  that convention, they felt that the MagiFest was too important to let  die. Moreover, they thought if the MagiFest is to survive well into the  future, it was time to take it in a new direction with some traditional things for the "regulars" plus have an appeal to the  younger set of "up and comers"...just like Joshua was.

The first day  allowed the registrants to squeeze into the small Dealers' Room for a  chance to get the latest and greatest...and indeed, they had it all. I  have never seen such a feeding frenzy; however, it reminded me of The  Magic Circle Centenary cramped Dealers' Room many years ago that had us  all packed in like sardines. At least this Dealers' Room had air  conditioning, though it wasn't necessary since it was 12 degrees  outside.

The registrants were split into two groups one of which  saw Simon Lovell's one man show "Strange and Unusual Hobbies" that he  has presented off Broadway in New York for eight years while the other  room Scott Robinson hosted the other group with a workshop.

Before  anything started and while the corridor was filled with anxious  shoppers with time on their hands and money in their pockets and  awaiting the opening of the Dealers' Room, I stopped long-time attendee  (and local restaurant magician) Carroll Baker who talked about the  demise of the Red Coats (the former organizers of the MagiFest) and John  Sturk from Chicago and this being his first MagiFest. Steve Bryant  (editor of "The Little Egypt Gazette") also said hello.

For  "Magic and Martini Thursday" (see Facebook to join us each week for a  virtual martini) we went into the bar for a real treat with Jania  Taylor, John Archer and Simon Lovell. This may be one of the best and  most fun (and funniest) interviews I have recorded on The Magic Word at  conventions. I think I was able to bleep out all the potentially  offensive language, but it wasn't easy. :)

Download this podcast in an MP3 file by Clicking Here then right click to save the file. You can also download the MP3 media file directly from the RSS feed by Clicking Here.