Jay and I had a holiday in Blackpool last week. We saw the tower, and the piers and the beach. As you can tell, it was a bit windy!
But we weren’t just in Blackpool to see the sights. We were here for this:
FISM stands for the Fédération Internationale des Sociétés Magiques – and every three years they hold the World Championships of Magic. This year it was held in the Winter Gardens in Blackpool.
2012 is the first year the convention has ever been held in UK. We arrived on the Sunday, and went to the registration desk to pick up our name badges and tickets. We also got a FISM bag, with all sorts of goodies in it, including a miniature Tommy Cooper teddy bear.
The main part of the convention is the competitions – there were 100 entrants in the stage competition, and 50 in the close up. The stage competitions were held in the Opera House and were very popular, as you can see. The Opera House is a very beautiful theatre. The standard of magic was amazing. We mainly watched the stage competitions, as that is where our interests are. We watched one of the close up acts via a video link, as the actual hall it was being held in was so busy. The crowd were applauding so loudly that we could hear it through the walls of the building!
There were over 100 magic dealers from all over the world, each with their own stand. They were spread out across the Empress Ballroom, The Arena, and the Ice Room. This is a photograph of the stands in the Empress Ballroom, plus one of the ceiling. (I love old buildings, and I tend to get a little distracted looking around sometimes…)
We also went to several lectures over the week, learning new tricks and picking up interesting ideas. Conventions are a brilliant way to meet other magicians, and we met some well known magicians – Eric Jones, Shoot Ogawa, and our favourite, Topas. We also met up with some friends from our local magic club, the North Wales Magic Circle.
One evening, there was a special trip to the Blackpool Tower. There were drinks in the Tower Ballroom, and then we all went to watch the Tower Circus. The whole audience was made up of magicians, which created a wonderful atmosphere. The show itself was absolutely amazing, full of incredible athletic stunts and brilliant clowning. The show closed with the famous water finale, where the entire circus ring fills with water and dancing fountains.
The finals of the competitions were held in the Opera House on Saturday. All the acts were absolutely breathtaking, and there were several well deserved standing ovations. The winners were announced on Saturday evening, with Yu Ho Jin from Korea winning the Grand Prix for stage magic, and Yann Frisch from France winning the Grand Prix for close up magic.
We had a fantastic week, but it was very tiring!