Interview: Billy Kidd, ‘I do love the unexpected’

Billy Kidd is a magician, a conjurer, a wizard and a liar. She has performed all over the world – from close up magic to full stage shows – starting in street magic she has played in theatres and on television and her work was described by Penn & Teller as a “combination of the best magic you have ever seen with Blue Man Group.”

Now, she’s returning to Glastonbury with six performances across The Glebe and Sensation Seekers Stages at this year’s festival. Ahead of the festival we caught up with Billy to get her thoughts on what it’s like to be heading back to Worthy Farm.

Q&A with Billy Kidd

How does it feel to be heading back to this year’s Glastonbury Festival?

Heading back to perform at Glastonbury always feels like such a privilege. I am forever grateful that somehow I get to play and perform with some of the greatest variety and music acts in the world! Whenever I come back it always fills me with absolute joy and awe that I get to do what I love with performers that I admire.

What are your plans for this year’s show?

I always try and plan to do a show that is challenging for myself and equally rewarding with all the elements of a Glastonbury show that one might expect. Always subject to what the weather brings but performing magic can be hard in wind and rain. I have a lot of different routines that I could end my show with but sometimes I will make the decision mid-performance which way my show is going to turn. Keeps me on my toes as I do love the unexpected, even if it is heavily rehearsed.

What can kind of opportunities do a festival crowd present?

A festival crowd presents me with the opportunity to share my magic with people who might not normally see me in my regular gigging environment. They are refreshing to me which lets me explore and play with my show in extreme ways as the audience at Glastonbury tend to move their boundaries further outside the lines. 

How does performing live, somewhere like Glastonbury, compare to the work you’ve done for television?

Performing on television is a different beast with its own challenges and advantages. The main difference is when performing at Glastonbury everything is raw and real. There is no hiding when you are in the field at Glastonbury. I have less control over the elements at the festival where as on television if something doesn’t work I can always film it again. Also the audience at Glastonbury is probably equally as grateful to be experiencing the festival as I am that the energy is electric and you honestly just feel the pure love in the air. Television studio audiences are more trained to applaud and cheer. 

Finally, are there any other acts you’re looking forward to seeing across the weekend?

The act I always try and see is Paul Currie. He is one of the best alternative comedians/clowns/street performers that I have ever seen. It is hard to put a label on him . If you see him performing anywhere do your soul a favour and GO! Play! Experience! Laugh! Live!

Billy Kidd performs the Billy Kidd Show on The Glebe and Sensations Seekers Stages at Glastonbury Festival 2023 on Friday 23, Saturday 24 and Sunday 25 June.