A beginners guide to the Blackpool Magic Convention

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Q. Kumber
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A beginners guide to the Blackpool Magic Convention

Postby Q. Kumber » February 4th, 2018, 5:38 pm

***A beginners guide to the Blackpool Magic Convention***

It’s nearly that time of year again! Once Christmas and New Year are over and done with, magicians start their own countdown. They countdown to a weekend in February, to visit a seaside town in the UK, whilst it’s freezing cold.
But, the thing they are really counting down to is the worlds largest magic convention - This is the Blackpool Magic Convention.

You have never been before, you have looked on the website but it doesn't make much sense to you - well hopefully this guide will tell you everything you need to know about the convention!

So, when is the convention?

Generally speaking, the convention happens every February, on the weekend of the school half term. Or, you could say it’s the second to last weekend of February. This year, the convention runs from Friday 16th February to Sunday 18th February 2018. The dates for the following year are usually announced in the programme which is given to you upon arrival - handy to book it into your diary, and rebook your accommodation for next time too!
Where is the convention?

The entire convention is held within the Blackpool Winter Gardens (http://www.wintergardensblackpool.co.uk). It is entirely self-contained with amenities available, so thee isn't too much trailing about to do. The Winter Gardens consists of several exhibition spaces all under one roof.

Where should I stay?

Well, the beauty of Blackpool is that it has literally hundreds of Hotels and B+Bs to chose from! If you want to stay as close to the action as possible, you should try to find a B+B on Albert road. These rooms generally range from £20-40 per night, depending on entirely where you stay. Most magicians try to stay on Albert Road as it is a 5 minute walk from The Winter Gardens (WG), and is where the Convention HQ is situated - The Ruskin (but more about that place later!).

The accommodation is cheap and cheerful, and you really do get what you pay for, but usually you get a reasonable bed, a slightly below average shower and a greasy fry up for breakfast.

If you aren't sure on where to stay, this link will help as a bit of a guide to some of the hotels in the area (but they aren't necessarily on Albert Road, but they may only be a street or two away) http://www.hotels.uk.com/attractions…/The+Winter+Gardens.htm

Great stuff, now tell me about the tickets…

Okay, so there is a couple of ways you can do the convention. You can come just for a day, and buy a ticket for that day. Alternatively, most people buy what is known as the Gold Registration. This option offers the best value for money. You get entry to all three days, and tickets to all three of the evening Gala shows. Make sure you book your tickets in advance! That way you are guaranteed entry. The last thing you want to do is travel all the way to Blackpool and get to the desk and risk there being no tickets available. The earlier you book the better. A good time to book I personally find is about August/September.

Should I book on my own?
It depends really, you will meet loads of people at the convention, but try to book in with a friend. This way you will have someone you know sat next to you during the evening Gala shows. You could also do a room share on your B+B to save money further.

How do I get tickets?
It's dead simple really, just visit the website http://www.blackpoolmagic.com - they have made it in recent years so you can pay online, but sometimes its nice to ring up Arthur Casson the registration officer and book that way. His contact details are on the website too.

When is the best time to get to Blackpool?
That is down to personal preference really. Personally, I always arrive the day before the convention starts - this gives me chance to get to my accommodation, unpack, arch up with friends and get a bite to eat before it all starts.

The Blackpool Magic Club hold a jumbo auction on the Thursday afternoon at the Winter Gardens, and also you are able to register on the Thursday!

My tickets have turned up, the convention is only a few days away - now what?
First of all, it’s important to PRINT YOUR E-TICKETS. You will need this print out to get your registration pass.
Okay, well lets talk about travel options. Generally people will get the train there, or drive.

If you are catching the train, you should book your train tickets in advance to get the cheeps deal on the seats. There is three train Stations in Blackpool, you want to be aiming for Blackpool North Train Station. This one is only a 5-10 minute walk away from the WG and Albert Street. There are good connections by train to Blackpool from Manchester.

***PLEASE NOTE***
For 2018, there are rail closures between Preston and Blackpool North. A rail replacement bus service is in place between Preston train station and Blackpool North train station. If you are worried, please get in touch with National Rail for further information. (This means that you will get off at Preston and there will be a bus outside the station meeting your train. It will add about 15 minutes to your total journey. The reason is the line is being electrified and Blackpool North train platforms are being redone).

If you are driving, you will find Blackpool at the end of M55 and is easy to drive to from most areas of the UK. There is plenty of parking available in Blackpool, some car parks are better than others. Generally speaking, in the council run car parks, 96 hours parking is approximately £20. In private car parks however, it can be £20 per day. Make sure you check the charges upon entry to the car parks.

Most people will park in the Coral Island Car Park. This is a great option and is relatively safe, as it is next to the main Blackpool police station which is a great deterrent for crime in that car park, as the police access their compound from the car park.You are bound to need food whilst you are there. For a list of local car parks and the charges, visit this link: https://www.blackpool.gov.uk/…/Car…/Blackpool-car-parks.aspx

Blackpool has plenty of fine places to eat which are great to grab a quick bite. It’s well worth checking out restaurant vouchers on the MoneySavingExpert website (http://www.moneysavingexpert.com/dea…/cheap-restaurant-deals) they WILL come in really handy for you for places like Pizza Express, Bella Italia, Pizza Hut etc. Print them off, and take them with you. I’ll go into more detail about eating places later on in this guide

One thing that I’ve done this year to coincide with the convention, is sign up for a 90 day trial with TasteCard. It costs £1 for the card, and gives you 2for1 deals on loads of restaurants, both chain and independent. Ideal if you are keeping to a budget.
https://www.tastecard.co.uk/purchase/jo ... :PPCWINTER

There are a few things that are well worth taking. First of all, take some kind of rucksack or satchel. This will be essential as somewhere to store your programme of events, and somewhere to put all the goodies that you buy! In your small bag (be aware, bags are subject to spot checks this year) , you should also carry a pen and notepad, a deck of cards (someone is bound to want to session with you at some point!), a drink, some energy tablets , indigestion tablets and some Paracetamol. The last three will be essentials for survival!

I’m here! Now what do I do?
The simple answer is to head to The Ruskin! The Ruskin (http://ruskinhotel.com) is the convention HQ, and is where most of the big acts will stay - it is also a Hotel with three bars, so plenty of room to get a drink and session. Most people will head here on Thursday evening to catch up with old friends. If you don’t know many people, don’t be afraid to talk to new people there. Magicians are generally a nice group, and you will make new friends pretty quickly. After a few drinks and a bit of sessioning, head back to your hotel for a decent nights sleep - you will need it!

Morning! It’s Friday, I’m up, have only a little bit of a hangover and I’m ready to start!

Great stuff, get up, get your breakfast and head up to the WG. I generally aim to get there for about 11am to register. Whatever you do, DON’T FORGET YOUR REGISTRATION FORM!!! You take this to the registration desk and exchange it for your lanyard. This is your ticket - keep it on you at all times. This is how you get in to the convention. If you don’t have it, with you, they wont let you in, simple as! I personally find 11am is a good time to get there. There will be some morning lectures, and you will be able to grab a coffee before the dealers all opens.

Ooooh, the Dealer Hall, that sounds fun!
It is, its two huge rooms full of magic suppliers from all over the world. Generally they have about 150 different dealers there! TOP TIP - DONT rush in and spend all your money on day one! Just go for a wander round the dealer hall on day one, and maybe just by the essential refills you might need. Save your money, and use your notepad to write down the deals or the things you want to buy, you can then always discuss these things with your magic buddies in the bar and see what they think before committing your money and buying. Also, if you wait until Sunday late afternoon to buy from the suppliers from overseas, they general offer deals to shift stock so they don’t have to fly home with it all! Don’t be afraid to try and haggle a little bit - but don’t push your luck and upset anyone!

What else is there to do today?
Go and see some lectures, go see the close up shows and competitions, enjoy the atmosphere, and importantly try to make some friends! In the evening there will be a Gala show to watch too.

I’m getting hungry - when should I eat?
Okay, there is a certain way to do this. Ideally you should eat your evening meal as early as you can. The restaurants do get full really quickly as everyone wants to eat before the evening show. There are loads of chain restaurants on the shopping precinct, and loads of great independent family run restaurants too. You will find your favourite places to go soon enough, and don’t forget to get your vouchers to see what you can save some money on. Either before you eat of after you eat, you should head back to your hotel to freshen up, leave your bags and maybe have a quick nap. Then, get yourself back for the Gala Show!

Oooh, what’s the Gala Show?
The Gala show is a magic spectacular which happens each night of the convention. You can see the very best magicians from across the world, throughout three evening shows.

2018 has brought changes to the Gala Show. This year, there are two runs of the Gala show each night. At 6.30pm and 8.45pm. This means that everyone has an opportunity to get a good seat, rather than some people being stuck up in the nosebleeds!

What do I do when the ‘other’ Gala show is on?
No need to worry, extra shows have been put on throughout these times in different venues at the Winter Gardens, so no matter what time your Gala Show is, theres something to do when the other one is on!

Show done, I had great fun! Now what?
Head down to The Ruskin! Have a few beers, and enjoy the social! Be warned though, it will be really busy there!! TOP TIP - order two drinks at once and double-park them. It will save you having to battle to the bar quite as often. It gets absolutely mental at the bar after the shows, and can be 5 or 6 people deep.

Morning… I have a hangover, but I’m up and I’m ready to go!
Great stuff, do it all again! The programme structure is pretty similar, with lectures and close up shows or competitions during the day, and then an Evening Gala show. Sit down with a coffee each morning and plan your day, there will be clashes in lectures so work out what you really want so see.

Repeat on Sunday too!
Well, that’s it - I think that covers all the vital bits of Blackpool Magic Convention. Ultimately, whatever happens, just enjoy it. You’ll see amazing magic, learn new things for your repertoire, and you’ll make new friends.
(This article may not be reproduced or copied without permission) - POSTED WITH PERMISSION. - Q

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Richard Kaufman
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Re: A beginners guide to the Blackpool Magic Convention

Postby Richard Kaufman » February 4th, 2018, 8:35 pm

An excellent article with the most important details. The Genii will be there!
Subscribe today to Genii Magazine

performer
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Re: A beginners guide to the Blackpool Magic Convention

Postby performer » February 4th, 2018, 11:01 pm

Q. Kumber wrote:



Morning! It’s Friday, I’m up, have only a little bit of a hangover and I’m ready to start!




Morning… I have a hangover, but I’m up and I’m ready to go!


- Q


Quentin Reynolds and hangovers sound a very odd combination to me.

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Matthew Field
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Re: A beginners guide to the Blackpool Magic Convention

Postby Matthew Field » February 5th, 2018, 3:32 am

"Blackpool has plenty of fine places to eat"

Ha ha ha ha ha ha hah ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha hah ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha
Ha ha ha ha ha ha hah ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha hah ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

Quentin, you are so funny.


Matt Field

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Q. Kumber
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Re: A beginners guide to the Blackpool Magic Convention

Postby Q. Kumber » February 5th, 2018, 5:56 am

Matt, There's been quite a few new eating places opened in the past few years.
The article is not mine. I reposted it with permission (as noted in the last sentence of the post) from the Blackpool FB page.

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Matthew Field
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Re: A beginners guide to the Blackpool Magic Convention

Postby Matthew Field » February 5th, 2018, 8:21 am

Well, I'll be there next week and I'm looking forward to it. So we'll see.

You can be funny, though, Quentin.

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Q. Kumber
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Re: A beginners guide to the Blackpool Magic Convention

Postby Q. Kumber » February 5th, 2018, 10:01 am

I look forward to seeing you Matt. I also plan to be at The Magic Circle on Monday 12th.
While it is fair to say the range and level of restaurants has improved in Blackpool, I'm not aware of any gourmet ones.

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Re: A beginners guide to the Blackpool Magic Convention

Postby observer » February 5th, 2018, 2:53 pm

Q. Kumber wrote:While it is fair to say the range and level of restaurants has improved in Blackpool, I'm not aware of any gourmet ones.


Yorkshire Fisheries, 16 Topping Street
Fresh Fish and Chips, 110 Lytham Road
Bentleys Fish & Chip Shop, 131 Bond Street

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Re: A beginners guide to the Blackpool Magic Convention

Postby lybrary » February 5th, 2018, 3:58 pm

Q. Kumber wrote:The reason is the line is being electrified ...

Did you guys get stuck in the 19th century? Did the Queen not allow electricity for the people?
Lybrary.com Magic & Gambling
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Re: A beginners guide to the Blackpool Magic Convention

Postby performer » February 5th, 2018, 4:39 pm

At least British trains don't get derailed quite as often as Amtrak trains do.

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Re: A beginners guide to the Blackpool Magic Convention

Postby performer » February 5th, 2018, 4:42 pm

I used to live in Blackpool. A truly awful place and I learned all my evil ways there. It is a den of wickedness. I loved the place more than anywhere else I ever lived. Ten times better than Vegas and far more entertainment. And of course the drunks spewing up in the streets are merely part of the atmosphere.

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Q. Kumber
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Re: A beginners guide to the Blackpool Magic Convention

Postby Q. Kumber » February 10th, 2018, 4:48 pm

There's an app (currently just for the iPhone) available at
https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/blackpo ... 71751?mt=8

If you are going, I highly recommend Tom Binns' one-man show as psychic medium Ian D. Montfort. He will be doing it twice on Saturday evening in the Pavilion Theatre at 6.30pm and 9pm.


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