Winter Carnival of Magic Performers Information

Year after year, the Winter Carnival of Magic has brought some of the greatest magicians to East Tennessee to perform and lecture. Past performers have included Jeff McBride, Oscar Muñoz, Pop Haydn, Losander, Joshua Jay, The Pendragons, Aldo Columbini, Arthur Trace, Terry Evanswood, Duane Laflin, Gene Anderson, Shawn Farquhar, and a long list of others.

The following performers have been booked for the 2018 Winter Carnival of Magic:

Michael Finney

The ever humble and comic genius of Michael Finney is pure funny...and he is no stranger to the Winter Carnival. The esteemed Magic Castle has named him Comedy and Parlor Magician of the Year. He has proudly made three tours of the Middle East performing for American and allied troops with the American Armed Forces Entertainment. He has served as the Vice President of the International Brotherhood of Magicians, and is currently the President Elect moving into the role of International President in July. We are delighted that we will close this year's convention with Michael Finney headlining the Saturday evening show.

Rudy Coby

Yes! We have the "Coolest Magician of Earth" headlining this year's Winter Carnival of Magic! His Labman character is a captivating and energetic magic scientist that many of us remember from his 1995 Fox television special with Dick Clark, Kermit the Frog and Little Richard. There was about a decade where Rudy left magic (...he was hanging out and living with Marilyn Manson...), but we are glad he's back! Rudy's enthusiasm for the art of performance and creativity is simply infectious...his show set is like Beetlejuice for a family audience! Rudy has free reign to talk, perform and lecture on Thursday night during "An Evening with Rudy Coby" and you won't want to miss it. Rudy will hang out at the convention and then he presents his "Leg Act" for us on the Saturday night show.

Howard Mincone

Self-described as "a large five-year-old on too many energy drinks" – mix together a physical comedian, a juggler, and a very personable entertainer with seemingly boundless energy...and you get the funny and talented Howard Mincone! Starting as a professional break-dancer in the early eighties, but strongly influenced by comic legends like Dick Van Dyke, John Ritter, Red Skelton, Harpo Marx and Jackie Gleason, Howard's performances intertwine movement, comic mime, stand-up comedy, and juggling. His very unusual and hilarious performances have had him opening for Robin Williams, Tracy Lawrence, The Spice Girls, and John Cougar Mellencamp, and he will be a welcome part of our Friday-night show.

Chastain Criswell

Chastain has traveled coast-to-coast performing and lecturing. He has been a street performer for over a decade and lecturing almost twenty years. His performing character — The Traveling Magician — will have you in stitches. Don't miss his two lectures on Thursday...the first one is teaching some great magic, and the evening performance is all about his performance of street magic. He says if you miss them, "I will track you down and do it for you individually"

Andi Gladwin

Perhaps Andi Gladwin's greatest trick is how he divides his time between being a professional close-up magician, magic creator, author, co-founder of Vanishing Inc. Magic, and lecturer. His 52 Memories and Blomberg Laboratories are among the biggest selling magic books of the last decade. Andi has lectured at the biggest conventions in the world including The Session, Blackpool, FISM, MAGIC Live, and many more. He was recently featured on UK TV's "Next Great Magician" and on Penn & Teller's Fool Us. Andi will be doing his lecture on Saturday afternoon and venturing into emceeing our Friday night show.

Joshua Jay

An internationally-recognized performer, author, and lecturer, Joshua Jay has appeared on stages in over 80 countries. His books on magic have made the New York Times bestseller list and are considered the gold standard for initiation into magic. Joshua is a Guinness World Record holder for card tricks and a former champion at the World Magic Seminar. This is his third appearance at the Winter Carnival of Magic, and he is excited to share his unique card and coin magic, mentalism and more. Joshua will be lecturing on Friday night after the show, and he will do his one-man show on Saturday.

Jessica Jane

She just recently appeared on the hit TV show Penn & Teller: Fool Us on the CW let Jessica Jane fool you...and you'll have the time of your life! Named the "2017 Magical Entertainer of the Year" and praised as "One of the most talented entertainers in the Smokies," this wonder woman is ready to wow audiences of all ages! Jessica is a powerhouse performer: a magician, daredevil, and sleight-of-hand artist who has performed over 10,000 shows since the age of twelve. She has worked her magic in cities like Chicago, Las Vegas, Atlantic City and Pigeon Forge. She headlined on Costa Cruises which sailed her to perform at over 22 countries, and she has performed at fairs all over the United States. Jessica Jane will be on our Friday evening show.

Matt Fore

Matt makes people laugh...a lot. His forte is corporate after-dinner entertainment, and he makes these dinner events a huge success with hysterical one-liner comedy and surprising, impossible feats of magic. His motto: "Not a Dry Seat in the House." With more than 24 years of experience travelling the country and entertaining for a who's-who list of companies, Matt's Friday lecture and special one-man performances on Saturday are absolute must-sees of this year's convention.

Chris Smith

Las Vegas magic creator will be coming to show off his latest magical gadgets and tell us the stories of how each of his hit props came about. He'll explain how he develops a world-class idea from scratch and build it into a polished product that you can use every day. His Saturday morning lecture is aimed at not just demonstrating his incredible effects, but to show his cut-throat criteria for selecting winners.

Stephen Bargatze

Stephen is a "regular" at the Winter Carnival...we'd put him on every year, but it would go straight to his head. As Director of Student Services Program for Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association, he speaks to thousands of students each year using his magic to show today's youth how drugs, alcohol and tobacco can affect their lives. Stephen has a unique way of combining humor and magic with impacting messages to motivate audiences. He is a rare talent among entertainers: his genuine personality endears him to any audience, and almost immediately the crowd is caught up in the comedy and amazement of Stephen's off- the-wall performance. On Saturday night, he joins forces with Coby and Finney for a hysterical ending to this year's Winter Carnival of Magic.

Duane Laflin

His blend of magical skill showmanship and positive attitude has led to Duane's performances on five continents, in eighteen countries and in forty-seven of the fifty states. Among his many credits are being a guest instructor at the Siegfried and Roy College of Magic in South Africa, receiving the "Illusionist" award in Mexico City, and being honored as a Star of Magic in Singapore. The Magic Circle in London recognized Duane as a Member of the Inner Magic Circle with Gold Star. Duane is assisted by his wife, Mary, and their summers from 2012 through 2017 were spent performing in their own Grand Magic theater in Custer, South Dakota. We are excited to have the Laflins back in Pigeon Forge as part of our Friday-night show.

David Ginn

David Ginn is one of the founding fathers of entertaining for children. He performs 300 performances a year, mails out more than 2,000 orders a year, and still finds time to lecture at various conventions around the world...and he will do that for us on Friday morning. His latest giant hard-back Kidshow Kompendium is his 95th book that he has released to the magic community...and definitely the biggest and heaviest book he's ever written. Sadly, he only has an hour to lecture on his lifetime of creating some of the greatest children's routines in magic.

Bruce Amato

Bruce is one of the busiest magical entertainers in the Southeast who performs over 300 programs yearly. He has written numerous books on magic as well as produced a line of DVDs and magic products. He is one of the senior staff for Kidabra International and was the U.S. representative for the Supreme Magic Company in England for a number of years as well as a regular columnist or both magazines: Kidabra Journal and The Magicgram magazine. Performer, lecturer, author, magic dealer...and what you may not know: one of the busiest drummers and musicians in the Nashville music scene. He will be set up in the dealers' room and lecturing on Thursday afternoon.

The Mastersons

Reed and Ashton Masterson's award-winning illusion show, 21st Century Magic, incorporates dangerous stunts, beautiful animals, escapes, comedy, and some phenomenal stage illusions into a very fast-paced and edgy brand of magic. Their show is featured on college campuses, theaters, and performing arts centers across the Midwest...logging over 40,000 miles on the road last year. They will bring a great energy to our Friday-evening show.

Mike Woodward

This is Mike's second year coordinating and directing our evening shows. He's been doing magic for forty years, and he is the driving force behind assembling the shows for Ring 198's Unconventional Convention for about 25 years. He's been doing the videography for Abbott's for decades, and a loyal attendee of the Winter we put his talents to work!