An Inside Look at Tannen's Magic Camp's 50th Anniversary This Week

Max shares exactly what's going on at this year's infamous magic camp.

An Inside Look at Tannen's Magic Camp's 50th Anniversary This Week
Magician Daniel Garcia at a prev. Tannen's Camp

There’s a 100-person magic gathering going on right now. Headliners include Danny Garcia, Nick Diffatte, Mike Caveney, Tina Lenert, and David Williamson. It happens every year, and I'm about to give you the inside scoop.

We can't forget to mention Kalin and Jinger, Mark Calabrese, Matt Holzclaw, Rachel Wax, Adam Rubin, and Alex Boyce. And Ryan Plunket, Derek Hughes, and Harrison Greenbaum. The list goes on.

The event is the 50th anniversary of Tannen’s Magic Camp. 100 young magicians are gathered at Bryn Mawr College outside of Philadelphia for a nonstop week of learning magic.

For those who have never been, it’s quite a spectacle. Head to the lobby of the dorm that everyone shares, and young magicians are already practicing tricks (often before 8 am). Later, they’ll participate in workshops like “levitation secrets” and “crafting miracles.” They’ll sit in a class where David Williamson teaches the top change, and Kalin and Jinger teach how to use music in your act. It legitimately feels like Hogwarts, especially because of the architecture of Bryn Mawr College.

But the big theme of the week is family. More than half the staff went to Tannen’s as campers, and get to give back to today’s young magicians. Remember, not only do counsellors not get paid, they often construct ridiculous travel schedules just to share the love. Harrison Greenbaum, for example, finished headlining his Vegas show, Mad Apple, on Tuesday night at 11 PM. He then caught a 12:40 am red-eye to Philadelphia and proceeded to stay awake the entire day and headline the evening show at camp.

It’s worth it because so many professional magicians are succeeding due to Tannen’s. The team on The Carbonaro Effect, for example, is made of friends who met at magic camp (and they did a panel yesterday about the making of the show). As a former camper myself, the team I currently work with are all Tannen’s veterans.

Why does everyone love camp so much? One reason is attention to detail. Adam Blumenthal, the owner of Tannen’s and a prolific lighting designer (In and Of Itself, Asi Wind’s Inner Circle), makes sure every show is perfect. They practice lighting and blocking the nightly magic show for five to seven hours, and they do it six nights in a row for six totally different shows.

Perfection pays off. Tannen’s produces great magicians because campers get to see great magicians. For example, the Tuesday night close-up show had multiple magicians from the hit show Speakeasy Magick, and on opening night, Derek Hughes did his solo show. On other nights, David Williamson performed his Circus 1903 act, and Mike Caveney made a live chicken appear. You get the idea.

After seeing the magicians perform, campers get to hang out with the staff every day–at meals and in class. And it’s endless: Tannen’s is twice as long as an average convention.

There’s simply nowhere in the world like Tannen’s. Nowhere that you enter a vortex of cards and mindreading and late-night jamming. Of friends and laughter and joy. I’m extremely lucky to be a part of it. I’m pinching myself, waiting for the dream to end. Luckily, we still have two more days.