Magic conventions

Magic conventions

Magic conventions are gatherings of professional magicians, magical hobbyists, dealers, collectors of magical apparatus, books and ephemera, and other students of the art of magic. They provide a place for lectures of subjects related to the craft, as well as a series of sample performances of noted or innovative techniques. Many conventions also hold competitions to judge who excels at a particular style, and present awards in various categories such as sleight of hand, card tricks, mentalism, stage illusions, and International Magician of the Year. The largest magic convention is The Blackpool Magician's Convention which is attended by over 3,500 magicians[1].



Some conventions are internationally known, and others are specific to a particular city or region, but still bring in attendees from around their particular region such as the "York Magic Festival" in York, England, which brings in performers from across the United Kingdom.

List of well-known magic conventions


Regional - U.S.


Some small conferences have great prestige within the industry, but are not open to the public:

Reports and Listing

The MAGIC Magazine Convention Guide provides a comprehensive list of upcoming magic conventions and allows events to be compared to each other based on dates, price, location, number of events, etc. The site is run by MAGIC Magazine, the world's largest-selling magazine for magicians

Independently run Magic Convention Guide which was the first dedicated online guide to Magic Conventions, and still provides news and updates on conventions, as well as live coverage of some events. They also provide guides to some conventions, listing places to stay, eat, and shop.

Magic societies

Some conventions are hosted by specific magician associations or societies. For example, the two oldest and largest magic organizations in the United States, are the Society of American Magicians and the International Brotherhood of Magicians. The Home Counties Magical Society ran the 'Junior Days', a convention specifically aimed at younger magicians, now having been replaced with the event run by The Magic Circle. The College of Magic is a unique society in magic - offering a 6 year specialist diploma course in magic to students aged 10 and over.

Other Magic-related organizations are:


Gold Medal - I.B.M.

The most prestigious "stage magic" award in the International Brotherhood of Magicians competitions is the I.B.M. Gold Medal International Award of Excellence in Stage Performance. Along with other annual awards such as First place, Second place, etc., there is a possibility of this special Gold Medal award being issued if the judges decide that they have witnessed a contest performance of Gold Medal quality. As of August 2006, only eight Gold Medal awards have been made, to:

Gold Cups - I.B.M.

The most prestigious "close-up" award in the International Brotherhood of Magicians competitions is the I.B.M. Gold Cups International Award of Excellence in Close-up Performance. Along with other anuual awards such as First place, Second place, third place, etc., there is a possibility of this special Gold Cups award being issued if the judges decide that they have witnessed a contest performance of Gold Cups quality. As of August 2006, only seven Gold Cups awards have been made, to:

  • David Williamson, 1981
  • Johnny Ace Palmer. 1983
  • Joe Givan, 1987
  • Giovanni Livera, 1991
  • Steve Bedwell (magician), 1994
  • Oscar Munoz, 1999
  • Chase Curtis, 2003

Magic Castle

Each year the Hollywood-based Magic Castle club gives out awards at a black-tie dinner.

Grand Prix - FISM

The most prestigious award given out at FISM is the Grand Prix. The Grand Prix is generally considered to be the most prestigious competition award in the industry. FISM is held once every three years and may award the Grand Prix to the best stage magician and best close-up magician at each competition, but need not give out either award at any given competition.

Previous winners of the Grand Prix include:



  • Stage: Pilou (France)
  • Close-up: Rick Merrill (USA)


  • Stage: Norbert Ferré (France)
  • Close-up: Jason Latimer (USA)

Award duplication

Because there is little standardization in naming awards within the industry, some smaller festivals often give awards that have the same titles as the awards at larger conventions. Less scrupulous magicians will often claim that they have a prestigious award, without indicating its origin, or declare themselves an 'award-winning' act, implying a high quality of performance. Self-claims of fame and notability must therefore sometimes be taken with a grain of salt. If a magician is or has been a genuinely notable and successful competitor in magic contests, he or she will probably have won an award, perhaps more than one, which are recognised at an international, national, or at least regional level. Examples of this are awards bestowed by FISM, IBM, SAM, The Magic Circle (London, England) and the International Magic Convention Close Up Competition, also held annually in London.

There are also organisations that randomly give out awards to famous magicians in different countries, to boast their own organisation's importance. This is a bit awkward, as it many times is difficult for the performer to know if it is a real organisation or not, and might become embarrassing for the performer, should he use such award in his marketing and someone later track its origin.

Dealer rooms

Most conventions have a "dealers room", where magical supplies are sold, along with books describing various techniques. While the public might be invited to view certain performances, you must be registered at the convention to visit the dealers room.

Links to magic conventions


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