November 7, 2016

What Can You Expect To Pay for a Magician or Mentalist to Perform A Show?

Surfing the internet, trying to find the right magician or mentalist to entertain for your event can be a bit of a headache.  Fees for entertainment between magicians, mentalist, and other variety entertainers can be as varied and diverse as the individuals themselves.   However, most determine their fees based on a number of elements that are common to most events and programs.  The following is a great guideline for helping you determine if you can afford to hire one of these entertainment professionals for your next event.
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For corporate stage shows, platforms shows, or cabaret-style performances, figure anywhere from $10-20 per person in attendance, plus travel and loddging expenses where applicable (U.S. Dollars).

Depending upon how far the entertainer has to travel--air fare, car rental, hotels, etc. (or simply just miles of driving), that cost alone can be considerable.  So for a corporate dinner event with 150-200 people in attendance, it is not uncommon to at least see fees of $1,500-$2,500 or more, depending upon the length and scope of the program.
NOTE: This is merely a GUIDELINE, and is mostly applied towards small-to-mid-sized corporate events who are hiring mentalists or magicians who are full-time entertainment professionals.  Fortune 500 companies or similar events with A-list celebrities can easily pay $10,000 or more for a single appearance of a celebrity and are often booked only through an agent.    

Walk-Around or Strolling Magician or Mentalist

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For walk-around or strolling magic entertainment, $200-300 per hour is not uncommon.

Even though most magicians or mentalists charge hourly fees for walk-around, strolling or close-up magic performances, they are not hourly employees and any partial hours at all are often rounded up and charged to the next full hour, at the performer’s discretion.  Most performers do not allow partial billing either, such as half-hour only engagements. Many professional magicians or mentalists sometimes have a bare minimum fee of $500 or more for any single event (private or corporate) regardless of length, so don't be surprised if that seems to go against their stated hourly rate.  Another important thing to keep in mind is that this type of entertainment is typically best for larger groups (100 or more people), and that hiring a magician or mentalist to walk-around entertaining 12 people at a private party for 3 hours is something that you are not likely to find.

Children's Birthday Party Magicians


Local children's birthday party magicians can cost anywhere from $100-$500 or more for a single show.

If you are looking for a performer to entertain at your child's next birthday party, school, cub scout troupe, or other event that is predominantly for kids or young adults, it is always best to hire a magician or other variety performer that specializes in this type of entertainment.  But don't expect them to be cheap; the good ones usually aren't!
You can typically expect to pay less for a birthday party magic show than for a performance for an event like a Blue and Gold Banquet or a library children's summer reading program.  Why?  For one thing, birthday party entertainment is funded by hard-working parents or guardians, often on limited budgets.  Libraries, schools, scouting troupes, etc., are funded much differently, and take considerably more effort and preparation on the part of the performer.  Like any other type of business, it's what the market dictates.  So don't be surprised if the same magician who is charging $200 for a 30-minute children's birthday party will charge many more times that fee for a 30-minute school assembly or library summer reading program.

While Closely Related, There Is A Big Difference Between a Mentalist and a Magician

Mentalists (also known as “mind readers” or “psychological illusionists”) tend to specialize in shows and presentations that are primarily for mature, adult audiences.   Their sense of humor is often dry and intellectual, and their demonstrations usually involve tricks of the mind, feats of amazing memory, incredible ability with numbers, drawings, body language readings, etc.  Performances by most mentalists usually provide little visual stimulation and are more cerebral in nature, which typically makes it less enjoyable for children but more enjoyable for intelligent adults.  Some people tend to regard mentalism as “magic for grown-ups” or “thinking people,” while others see it as a display of genuine psychic ability.  From an event planning standpoint, mentalists are very easy to fit into any program as they require little to no set up, props, or other things that take up space.  Their demonstrations are highly-interactive, constantly involving their audiences and leaving them with a feeling that they’ve witnessed something amazing and personal in nature.  For more detailed information about what a mentalist does, click here.

Magicians, on the other hand, tend to provide a wider and broader range of performance options, and their performances are usually highly visual in nature.  From close-up, sleight-of-hand magic for bars, restaurants, and other venues, to large stage shows for theaters, convention centers, and even corporate events such as trade shows, awards banquets, and more, magicians have a vast number of specialities and disciplines.  In a general sense, most magic shows are characterized by their shiny boxes, flashy costumes, music, colorful props, beautiful dancers or assistants, decks of playing cards, balloons, confetti, silk scarves, and such like.  In recent years, while the face of magic and magicians seems to have changed considerably, this description still fits mostly performers who specialize in children’s magic entertainment.  Magicians, with their magic and illusion shows, are perfect when you have an event that you want your guests to “sit-back-and-watch.”