It can boost careers, launch global quests and open doors, but for Kiwi magician Jarred Fell the Iron Chicken found him love.
Fell won The Press Critics’ Choice Award, known as the Iron Chicken after the distinctive trophy, at the World Buskers Festival in 2016. This year’s awards will be given on Sunday night to the best indoor show and the best street performer at the festival. Previous winners include performers like Sam Wills, aka Tape Face, Mulletman, The Daredevil Chicken Club and Shay Horay.
Fell said the award had helped him get accepted at festivals around the world, but also helped him find love. He met his new love while performing on a cruise ship. She was a singer on the ship and he was the comedian.
“To be honest, I wouldn’t have got her unless I had got the Iron Chicken,” he said.
“It was a big personal year for me because I fell in love. I have been chasing my heart for the last half a year. It has been all about the career for years. But then I fell in love and the career came second.”
He said the Iron Chicken helped him get the booking on the cruise. In fact, he spent 168 days at sea in 2017. He will spend much of the next year performing in festivals around the world, including Fringe World in Perth, the Adelaide Fringe, the Great Yorkshire Fringe in northern England and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland. The award helped open the door to many festivals, he said.
“Lots of people at other festivals knew what that award meant, which was nice. Sometimes you win a comedy award and not many people know that award, but when you have something from the World Buskers Festival it definitely opens a few more doors. This year it made it easier to book festivals. I am doing about five festivals this year.”
Festival artistic producer Tim Bain said the award recognised artists who had “something new to say”.
“It is for artists that are at a turning point.
“It is often given to performers at a time in their career when they are starting to go down a different track. It gives a performer recognition that what they are doing is right.”
Fell wants to return to the buskers festival next year with a new show.
“Fingers crossed the festival is still going and I can come back with a new show. I have a cool show name. It is called Glitteris.
“It will be a dirty, flamboyant and very showy magic show.”
And what did he do with his Iron Chicken trophy?
“The Iron Chicken is on my mum and dad’s shelf at home. Next to the scotch, naturally.”
“It’s like: ‘There you go, you didn’t need to send me through university after all.'”