Trix in the Stix Review 2014

Norm Barnhart as the Great Normondo

Norm Barnhart as the Great Normondo!!

So, another year goes by and the worlds (seriously) best children’s entertainer conference is upon us at the stunning Lion Quays in Shropshire. This year had a tough act to follow from the initial 2013 launch and I came with a mixture of excitement and apprehension. I stayed in the same place and it was being held at the same venue but the acts were certainly very different.

The Monday night evening cabaret slot opened with some great acts – Tamar Kimmons with some lovely singing, The Great Normondo (see picture) delivering a hugely entertaining and funny silent act in the character of a suave and smarmy stage illusionist – this was a real treat. Then up came one of the most eagerly anticipated acts came to the stage – that of Gary Dunn – showcasing Colin the Mind-reading chicken and other very funny bits and pieces. Finally came the physically imposing but warm character of buster balloon showcasing some funny bits and bobs with a balloon which was excellent. Prior to this was the live Fireside Chat, which again, did not really do anything for me and was more of a filler than anything – but most of the rest of the team enjoyed it.

After another cracking start to the couple of days and it was off to bed at 1am to be up the next day for a 730am shower and Olympic Little Chef breakfast. Kicking off with registration and browsing the dealer products – I’d already spent £175 by 920am eeekkk! – All investments for my kids and adult shows so not that frivolous at all….(well maybe a bit)…

Kicking off the morning lectures were a couple of power presentations from Tamar expanding on her 2013 Facebook marketing lecture and the Colette discussing ‘The money shot’ which was an extremely professionally delivered lecture with some great information and ideas to implement if you hadn’t done so in gaining great photos at your parties or shows. Following this was a superb lecture from Norm Barnhart whose lecture was packed with lots of solid workable material, ideas, concepts and more. A truly warm professional who I got the feeling was not as well received as others – maybe because his lecture seemed a bit rushed – trying to cram so much in….. Following this, Buster balloon offered a superb lecture. With me not really having any interest or desire to do balloon twisting or modelling – I certainly gained some great tips and ideas which I can add to my act with some tweaking – truly excellent – rightly receiving a standing ovation!

Then it was Gary Dunn- the most hotly anticipated lecture of the convention. Truly funny, some great, original material, ideas and sharp comedy on the fly, did indeed make this the highlight for me! The day closed with some more dealer perusals, and a couple of sensational lectures – one from Buster Balloon and the final from Norm Barnhart – again offering up tons and tons of ideas and thoughts. He unfortunately got the night shift – going on last and again probably didn’t receive the applause/acclaim he deserved but virtually everything he said was loaded with ideas, theory and application suggestions. Very, very good!

The day finally finished at the late time of 21.45pm and next year’s line up was announced of Mel Mellers (who I hope I enjoy more than his adult cabaret style) and Mike Bent – who I know little about but am excited to see. That tells you I will hopefully be going to the next year’s. I met loads of new people and chatted with others I had only briefly spoken too the year before. Again, the practical magic team of Jeremy, Cheryl and the wider team of Kimmo, Dunn, Ricky Mcleod (who’s lecture was also excellent and just shows that I have not mentioned him due to the sheer amount of other acts and material in the superb conference) and other behind the scene contributors, including Wyn Jones who subtitled a hilarious movie, all did a brilliant job!! Just mentioning that movie……. I am not spilling the beans on that – it would come out wrong and unfunny, which would be unfair for a conference which was delivered with the complete opposite. Absolutely right and tons of fun! Great stuff yet again!

I’m already excited about 2015…..