Forums > Social Chat > How do you bring in a crowd?

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9 posts
Location: Calgary,Alberta,Canada

I've been having the urge to preform for people but I'm a little stumped on how to get started. How do you get the peoples attention before you start a show? I hear loud noises work great or have other people start making noise then there curiousity factor kicks in. I'd just like to get some ideas from the board. Do you tell jokes? Do you just start spinning? What's a good time length for a show? So many questions but no real answers.

442 posts
Location: Rochester, NY, USA

Have we mentioned this before? I believe a post by April or something had a lot of this.btw, should this be in the Technical Discussion section?Anyway.What kind of show? Poi? Staff? Fire breathing?What venue? Are you on the street? A stage? A birthday party?Have you ever seen any other shows of any kind in the venue that you'll be in? You may want to take some of their tips as it could help you more than we can. I only mention this in case audiences are area specific in how they react to things. ie: New York city people may not find it strange to see a giant gorilla climbing the Empire State Building.
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Do you have music? Are you comfortable with jokes?You may want to go with what works for you. If you're a comedian then maybe starting with jokes. Since you're probably doing something related to either fire or spinning something, you may want to start with that.I know that I'm not answering, but I have a feeling that having someone else ask you these might make you think and work stuff out.------------------"Except for that Mrs. Lincoln, How did you like the play?"Pyromorph - Let the fire change you

FYI: I am not Pele. If you wish to reply to me and use a short version of my name, use: PWB.

English? Who needs that? I'm never going to England. - Homer Jay Simpson

98 posts
Location: Albany, NY United States of America

this is what me and a friend did to get a crowd at a big school dance. (note: fire poi will probably get u suspended from high school. end note)I personally believe its all about the entrance. This is done with glowsticks(im sure there is some way to modify it to get a similar effect with fire). instead of just bending and craking them, and then start spinning. Swing your strings at ur sides (with unlit sticks at the end) a couple of time to get some speed then SMASH THEM AGAINST THE FLOOR AS HARD AS YOU CAN. This will crack the sticks. This plus not telling anyone what your about to do = big crowd (and being made fun of by the "popular kids")------------------"I was sad, for I had no shoes. Then I met a man who had no feet"

Its all in good, clean, light producing fun.

2 posts
Location: San Diego, CA, US

What my friend and I try to do is just start spinning for fun wherever we go, people just come to us for the show.

Just look under the cap, 1 in 6 wins!

9 posts
Location: bakersfield, ca. usa

Just start spinning! Obviously the brighter the light your spinning the more attention it will get you. If you can't or don't use fire (the best attention getter), I have found the best thing is 5 min. ultra high intensity cyalume lightsticks by omni (the orange ones look like fire). Or the Rav'n lights (not very bright but people are interested because they have never seen anything like them.) Also, it depends on the crowd. If poi is common where you come from you'll have less of a crowd but if no one has ever seen anything like it there you'll have more people than you know what to do with. It can get annoying after awhile so be forwarned. Don't get me wrong, I love showing people something amazing that they have never seen before, I will never forget the girl that gave me my first show! But people usually don't just watch and leave. It can get overwhelming because everyone wants to talk to you, they want to know where you got those things, they want you to show them how to do them, and they want to keep in touch. It is wonderful that so many are fasinated by this art and it is always great to meet new people but at the same time, I'm just there to spin not to chat to everyone. In the course of an hour, I've had 25 people all asking the same questions and during that hour I got to spin for 5 min!

439 posts
Location: Oceanside, California, USA

What I do is meet other spinners(normally at raves). Let them spin for a bit so a crowd gathers. When it's your turn, step in with your uncracked sticks, swing them like they are glowing, this makes people wonder what the hell you are doing spinning dead sticks, then crack them while doing a weave or butterfly. People will watch. I've done this in front of a circle of, summer dreams, like 300 heads, and got a great reaction. If your spinning fire, you don't have to do much at all, people are amazed by that anyways and you don't need to do things to get their attention. Make sure you do lots of different moves so you keep their attention, people don't like watching a weave for two minutes. Mix it up and feed off the energy of the music and if there is none, just get it from the crowd. If you are the only spinner, just start spinning, people watch and the crowd will slowly form no matter what. Return the favor to the ones who opened the circle for you, start a circle for them too. Eric

Its about talent, not make up or costumes.

521 posts
Location: Bristol / London / Norwich / Chennai, India (UK) (...

The best way to get people's attention (I have found) is to blow a really big fire ball at the beginning and this will have them hooked
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peace outgarbo
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"Be the change"Mahatma Ghandi

be excellent to each other: safe:

9 posts
Location: Calgary,Alberta,Canada

I use staff mostly both fire and Glowsticks and I want to perform on the street or in a park/beach area. I've seen like 2 shows and one was just lame and the other rocked but they were both at festivals. It sounds like I should just start spinning and let the people come as they may. Maybe play some kickin' music before I start... It'd be better with more people performing with me but I guess I might just have to wing it myself. Makes me kinda nervous but what the hay! Its time to play! I just may. Thx for the input people.

chicazulBRONZE Member
16 posts
Location: BC, Canada

You seem much more determined to be a "performer" than I ever was, but you could still do what I do: Don't go out at first with the sole intention of attracting a crowd. Just go to a busy public place (with room to spin, of course) and start playing...the attention will come to you. I have never drawn a "crowd" like this, but people still watch and comment. I have met TONS of people this way, and I never feel nervous because to me, it's not a performance. The audience is merely incidental, and I will have fun no matter how many people see me.Of course, I just bought myself a can amp so I can have tunes when I spin.
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Music would definitely attract more people...Good luck in any case. I look forward to hearing about your first performance.

9 posts
Location: Calgary,Alberta,Canada

Chicazul, do you ever pass by Kelowna? I'm in Kelowna for the summer so if you do pass by, drop me a line is my email addy. I have done a couple performances but they weren't street performing. Street shows seem more random.

397 posts
Location: Brunswick, Ohio

This is interesting. I didn't have any problems getting a crowd at nelson's. We setup on a beach just to the side of the stage and jammed with the band all night. after they got done playing was the best crowd. But because it was just me and this other dude, the crowd seemed thin. Almost like ppl were just watchin for like a couple of sets then moving on. I think we also slowed down alot after the band got done. So that might have had something to do with it.------------------We are all in the cosmic movie. That means the day you die you watch your whole life repeating for eternity. So you'd better have some good things happen in there and have a fitting climax. --Jim MorrisonMost Memerable crowd saying "Hey look that dude's gonna set himself on fire again!"

We are all in the cosmic movie. That means the day you die you watch your whole life repeating for eternity. So you'd better have some good things happen in there and have a fitting climax. --Jim MorrisonIt's going to come from a direction you didn't predict at a moment of chaos which you didn't see coming. -- NYC

92 posts
Location: roanoke, VA

I usually start by watching a few others spini ask to borrow theirs, do a few thingstrying NOT to show them upthen they come back, get the strings back, and start to show me up, or TRYthats when i break out my stringsone orange high intensity 5 min on the end of each string, and a red 30 min on the otherI start swinging (holding onto the orange, for the finale) and at the point where the music builds up, right at the climax I smack the red into the ground!voila, oooh's and ahhh's from the kidsthen, a little bit later, i do a wraplet it tangle a little, grab the orange, and do the same thing with the orange, wait for a buildupthen smack emthats the best way i've found so farreally gets the crowd goin for about 20 minthen i rest!

Peace,Travis IM: frodus17

CharlesBRONZE Member
Corporate Circus Arts Entertainer
3,989 posts
Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Crowd pulling depends on which country you are in, time of day or night, whether there is music coming form you, or from someother place. All sorts of things.But for me, once you have a crowd, the knack is to keep it, keep their interest, so thers will see the crowd and wander over to see what all the fuss is about.One of the best ways for keeping a crowd for me is to talk to them. Make them feel they can approach you and ask questions, and especially if you're using fire, make them feel safe. Say a few jokes, if there is a mother and daughter there call them "sisters" (the mums love that, even had a couple blush).For an Auckland crowd full of tourists, I find it really useful to make lots of subtle innuendo without actually using dirty words, or seeming creepy. One guy (with his arm around this cute chick) told me he had no money at all, so I asked him to put his girlfriend in my hat. She smiled so big he dumped a $10 note in my hat.Obviously, if you're using fire, keep the fire burning, i often put the staff down, aflame, and keep talking.Another one is to leave all your toys lying in plain sight (my unicycle for example), so that people yell out suggestions like "can you ride that bike and do fire?" or "can you use both of them at once?". Then you say no, you cant't, unless people drop some money, and then do some more stuff.They will always wait around as long as poss to see if you do what they suggested.The biggest thing I learnt when i started busking was that you need to involve a few members of the crowd. They don't really want to see someone else show off, they want to be part of it. even the shy ones want to see what their friends will do.And build-up to tricks or things that look hard. I take about 2 minutes telling everyone how hard it is to do a palm spin, all the things that might go wrong, and even deliberately drop it the first time.This means when i do pull it off (palm spins are easy!) the whole lot will roar into applause and more people will come along to see what the cheering is about.Just do a palm spin in the middle of a routine, and most people won't even notice you aren't using your fingers...Well, that's what works for me, in NZ on a busy night, after its got dark.Everyone has their own preferences, and some cultures react completely differently to others...Well that's not just my 5 cents, its more a like a $1.50.Cheers------------------Charles

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