Looking Back at Buxton
77th Annual IBM British Ring Convention, Buxton

September 2013


The 77th annual British Ring Convention took place in Buxton (Derbyshire) from 4th – 8th September where several hundred magicians gathered for 5 days of events in this lovely spa town. Described by almost everyone I spoke to as a very friendly convention it started with the usual formal opening ceremony and then the magic began. The first show featured Ali Cardabra, Michael Carr and Bertie Pearce all admirably linked together with “Mr. Sunshine” himself Mike O’Brien. Well Mike you did manage to conjure up four of the five days with sunshine!

The Gala of Youth (Wednesday) showed us all that the future of magic is in safe hands with Mandy Fletcher, Edward Hilsum (who went on to be a prize winner – see later in this article) Megan and Sonny Pennington. They were all well looked after by the well established performer Paul Dabek. The Stars of the Future (Sunday morning) generally with younger students of magic showed again magic continues to generate interest with the up and coming generation.

The convention awards were as follows: The Zina Bennett Close-up Competition produced the following winners: First Steve Faulkner, Second Matthew Le Motte, Third Craig Petty and Dave Forrest taking the Rovi Shield for the best work with playing cards. In the British Ring Stage competition winners were: First Oliver Tabor (who also took the Dittia Shield for manipulation and the Originality Trophy), Second Edward Hilsum and Third Atmosfear. The dealers trophy went to Practical Magic and winning the Ali Bongo Micro Marathon being Bharat Patel.

The lectures and workshops covered a good range of topics and I heard favourable remarks about all of them. In the Octagon there was audience seating for the lectures and the dealers all seemed happy with the arrangement of being set out round the perimeter. New in the dealers hall/ registration area this year was Face Painting Plus (Pam Cooper) who seemed to generate considerable interest in this aspect of the children’s market. Also new, Jemma Tynan’s Pop Up Museum which gave professional advice on restoration and storage of props.

The “People” section had talks on Ian Adair, Davenport’s, Alan Shaxon, Randini, Patrick Page and Oriental Magicians.

To make things a little different and varied some new aspects of show business were included this year. The hilarious act of Men in Coats registered well as did the Rat Pack vocals (mixed with magic) from Joe Swing. Opera singer Kyla Lingley (in the opera House – where else!) registered well in the Gala Show. Talking of which, both the public shows received enthusiastic attendances and have firmly stamped our name in Buxton. Perhaps a future visit could be considered sometime.

To all the performers, lecturers, dealers, organisers, delegates, advertisers and everyone else involved thank you for making this a successful convention for the IBM British Ring and please make a note of the 2014 convention which is 24th – 28th September in Bournemouth. Further information will be provided as it becomes available.

Our 2013-2014 President Neil Roberts (photo) was installed on the 8th September 2013 and started, as so many of us did with a Christmas present of a magic set and developed an interest and talent for magic and illusion.

Neil became an award winner in the 1980s leading to appearances on Gala Shows at magical conventions in Britain and Europe.

These days he is often to be found behind the scenes devising and directing shows, but he is also an accomplished stage and cabaret performer in his own right.

Neil first joined the British Ring in 1980 and attended his first convention at Brighton that year. He has been actively involved in every convention since then; first as a competitor in the annual competition for nine consecutive years, then as a member of the convention stage crew, prior to taking over as Stage Director in 1995.

Now he will move out from working behind the scenes as he takes on the mantle of British Ring President for the next twelve months and looks forward to visiting various magic societies throughout Great Britain and further afield as an ambassador for the society.

Geoffrey Newton PRO, September 2013




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