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MagicFest reports record numbers


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New MagicFair Lates series at Summerhall and additional Gala event help boost ticket sales.

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The curtain has come down on MagicFest, the 7th Edinburgh International Magic Festival, and organisers are reporting the best ever year for visitor numbers, with more than 3,500 visiting the new MagicFair at Summerhall over the opening weekend.

As reported by our writer Tamarin Fountain in her review, the MagicFair Lates series at Summerhall offered entertainment by the likes of Germany’s Patrick Lehnen, who performed a whimiscal, Disneyesque piece with a magically animated desklamp, and MagicFest regular Colin Cloud, also performing at the Fringe.

A matinee performance was added for the regular MagicFest Gala Show, which featured an international line-up of eight performers over two and a half hours. These included the Spanish world magic champion Hector Mancha and Koreans Young Min Kim and Ted Kim, who our review said “mesmerise and surprise the audience with stunning visual performances”.

At the same event the Great Lafayette Award, named after the illusionist who died in a fire at the (now) Festival Theatre, and which honours magicians who have excelled in live stage performances, was awarded to Juan Tamariz, the “Spanish Paul Daniels”. Tamariz later played a sold-out show at George Square Theatre, in a showpiece event which was met with a standing ovation, even if our editor Robert James Peacock thought it too much of the same for the uninitiated in the audience. Review here.

Kevin Quantum, the Festival’s Artistic Director, had his own sell out show at the Scottish Storytelling Centre, which Tamarin Fountain called a “clever and wonder filled” blend of science and illusion. Review here.

MagicFest will return in 2017, the dates for the diary being 30 June to 8 July, and according to Quantum, preparations are already underway. “The new MagicFair concept was a huge hit for us. We’re proud to give people the full spectrum of magic experiences and we’re already planning for 2017.”

Now a firm fixture in Edinburgh’s festival calendar, it continues to act as the perfect warm-up for the craziness of August round Summerhall, but as some of the The Wee Review team noted, it would be good to see more female performers on future bills.