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The biggest convention in the United Kingdom is the British Juggling Convention (BJC) which attracts hundreds (if not thousands) of jugglers from all over Europe and beyond. This year, for its 30th anniversary, the BJC has returned to Nottingham for the third time and was held at an amazing sports centre with juggler access to; camping, 24 hour training space, shows, workshops, swimming, cafes, bars and street food.
I personally had a only a weekend ticket and on arrival, as with all national conventions, was treated to a hall already filled
with skilled manipulators of all different disciplines. The workshops are again incredibly well organised and up to date google document detailing the whole schedule in addition to the usual cards stuck to a wall. Workshops over the weekend included all usual convention skills plus knife throwing (Organised by the Knife Axe and Tomahawk Throwing Association), German Wheel (Provided by Torwood Wheelers), Pole dancing, Aerial (supported by Glasgow Aerial Edge) and lockpicking (with Pete) to name a few. Russell and Jelly Bean had their regular Balloon gazebo with modelling, gravity defying spinning loops and the regular huge convention mascot: This year an octopus)
The Friday evening had a very interesting pub quiz. A thick Scottish accent may have made it difficult for non-native speakers to follow but was enjoyed by many. The Saturday entertainment had some excellent acts in the including app-controlled juggling robots, a fantastic and unusual Corde Lisse act, a Norwegian triangle juggler, a sexy crossdresser clown, club passing duo and was headlined by a 4 poi swinging and juggling routine. The whole show was compared by the fantastic Matthew Tiffany, who headlined the BJC gala show last year, who filled between the acts with comical musical and old school combination tricks all performed slickly. Any man that can balance a two balls on two sticks on his head, spin a ball in his right hand, have a hoop spinning around the right arm, three hoops spinning on the right leg and juggle balls in the left hand – all at the same time must be some sort of superhuman!!!
The show was followed by “The Old Skool Jugglers”. This was a hugely entertaining panel consisting of Nigel (UK), Rhonda (USA – She ran away from the circus to get a real job!!!), Greg (Canada) and Nigel (UK) chaired by Jay Lynn. The panel frankly discussed various exciting topics including judging acts, grinding metal codpieces on stage and discussing the (not-quite-so) International Juggling Association along with a few questions from the audience. However, I think I will be sparing with the details – what happens at Old Skool Jugglers, stays at Old Skool Jugglers!!!
The renegades were expertly organised with some surprisingly good acts. I stayed only until 1am. Long enough to see competitions, skills and of course the usual swigging of booze after each act. Perhaps there was the usual entertaining chaos later!
I spent some time with some fantastic Slovakian participants – they seemed to be at every workshop and super skilled at everything! It was also great to meet a few Poles: In the corner was Jakub and Michał from the Lublin 2017 European Juggling Convention (EJC) team promoting their upcoming festival with anecdotes, stories, stickers and some great video footage. These Lublin representatives really showed dedication and motivation and rather than being tempted away by cool toys and tricks remained steadfast at their stall convincing the attendees to pre register. (See why should I pre register for the EJC?)
Unfortunately, I needed to be back in Poland and had to leave as the coaches left for the games and gala in the city centre. Did you stay longer? Perhaps you could send us a little story?
Don’t forget the EJC is in our home country of Poland this summer! See you there!
It’s gonna be awesome!