Farmers Market magic questions

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Brett Hurley, Sep 1, 2019.

  1. All right. I MAY have an opportunity come up early next year to do magic at a local farmers market.
    The setup for the market is pretty small, about 20-25 vendors at a time and everyone has a stationary spot of their own. The way the tents are put together, there's no way to just freely roam and perform for people and gather a crowd--they'd have to come to you in this case.

    I have a table, I just need a mat and a tent. I have a very good idea of what tricks ("Illusions, Michael!") I would want to get to be able to fit the "theme" of what I'm shooting for (not doing "tricks" but doing tricks under the pretense of playing "games").

    I'll need to upgrade clothing as well. Maybe look into getting full tattoo sleeves and Supreme shirts. Could be anything at this point.

    With the prospect of having to actively pull people towards your area. Is this common for performers to do, at least in this area of magic?

    Is there any reading I can do that can help in improving ones approach towards your audience?

    I say this as someone who, not only LOATHES, but has a sort of serious negative reaction to something like the people at Sams Club who jump out at you to pitch new Comcast cable plans and home improvement options. Now I feel like I'd be one of those people. Pot, meet kettle! And something else to work out in therapy!

    But yeah, stationary table. Four hour stint. Whats the best way to approach others without coming across as an uncoordinated goof, but less sleazy than a car salesman?
  2. I don't think you need a tent, a table outside is probably better as more people can see your performance as they walk past and might stop to watch. I have performed at an event a little like the one you describe but I was doing a walk around type performance. I would say performing on a table is actually beneficial, as if you are sat at a table with cards in the middle of an event, it is clear that you are the magician and you are likely to gather an audience. I found also that wearing "magiciany" type clothes (waistcoat, hat) can also help attract an audience. If you are confident with the tricks you are performing you should be fine. Maybe a sign next to the table might also help attract attention?

    I'm just a hobbyist, but I have found performing at community events fun once you get into the swing of things. It's just starting the performance that seems awkward.

    Good luck!
    Brett Hurley and Mr_ARPY like this.
  3. This is the kind of stuff I do all the time, so I would say the best way to come off in the middle is to act professionally but don’t openly push them to buy something. I would preform, and talk to them. But I would not verbally advertise yourself. I would put your business card in front of you, and print off some photos of you performing to people, and put them on a poster board in the background, or something along those lines.
  4. I've only done one event/trade show kind of like this before, but my job was to just stop traffic flow so people would watch and stand at the Chiropractor's booth so "they" could then sell them on coming into the office for a consult.
    I was in suit and tie and just literally would perform on my close up table/pad next to the chiropractors. It was kind of odd because I hadn't ever really busked before and don't plan to so "yelling" out into the crowd or trying to reel people over seemed different and out of place for me. I just couldn't do it and feel comfortable. It went okay and some people just didn't care to see magic and would walk by anyway.
    RealityOne likes this.
  5. A couple of questions...

    1) Are you performing: a) to get tips; b) because you are being paid by the farmer's market; c) to get people to buy magic tricks (e.g. Svengali decks, Stripper Decks, Drawer Boxes, Ball Vases, etc.); d) to market yourself for paid gigs; or e) to have fun and get experience performing? Or a combination....

    2) Is your show geared toward adults or toward children or both?

    3) Are your effects performed using the table or is the table there to hold props and you perform in front of it or both?

    4) Are your effects close up (people need to be huddled around to see) or parlor (they can be seated in several rows of chairs)

    The answers will give me a basis to provide some more helpful advice.
  6. Reality brought up a very good point and I do remember this from my gig a few years ago like this. Once people "huddle" around your table, if you are doing close up only the first row of 6-8 people actually see what's going on. Items that can be held up at chest height do play a bit more visually for even people back a row or two even as they are shuffling by. Think ropes, linking rings, items held on a vertical plane and not cards which are laying flat on a horizontal plane.
    Josh Burch and RealityOne like this.
  7. I say keep the tent! I have a high forehead...I may be losing my hair or something...and the sun is harsh at these events!

    A jacket is nice to be able to hold things in. So I usually wear a jacket and a t-shirt or more often a collard shirt.
  8. To gather people here are my tips.

    1. Get a sound system. This is the easiest thing for me. If you are unsure about performing, this helps you sound important.
    2. Best Opening Line Ever - I've tried a lot of opening lines and this is what I use now, my strategy is to go for a no immediately. I look at the kid in the group, look em in the eye and say, "Have you had a chance to see some magic yet?" They usually say no immediately, which makes them feel like they are in control though they never said no to me or the idea of seeing some magic. After you have their attention you go right into a trick.
    3. You might want to schedule "shows", do a 20 minute set at a time. Put a sign up that says when you will do a show and as people come by, tell them. I'm doing a show in 10 minutes meet back here to see it.
    4. If there are kids there you just need to start performing and they will probably not leave you alone.
    5. Remember, you are doing magic. Most people think this is fun at the very least. I have been asked to sell a lot more difficult things to sell. Magic is easy to some degree.

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