THIS year, Stendhal festival-goers are in for a treat as one of Northern Ireland’s most sought after professional magicians is set to perform ‘the biggest stunt’ of his career in front of an expected 10,000 people.
Born and bred in Aghadowey, magic-man Rodd Hogg, 40, will take to the main stage for the very first time at the popular festival.
Also known as the only professional pickpocket in Northern Ireland, Rodd travels all over the world and has performed for many celebrities and sports stars including Carl Frampton, Rory Best, and Brendan Rodgers to name but a few.
Speaking to the Northern Constitution, Rodd expressed his excitement towards his first visit to the upcoming event but remained tight-lipped about the stunt which he believes is sure to blow everyone’s minds.
Will this be your first time performing at Stendhal Festival?
Rodd said: “Yes!
“This is my first time performing there and I’m really excited.
“I’ve heard lots of great things about Stendhal, it seems to be getting bigger and better every year!”
Can you tell me anything about your performance? What should people expect?
Rodd said: “No I don’t want to give too much away!
“They want me to keep it a surprise but let’s just say it’s going to be very very dangerous.
“It is a stunt that will create fear and suspense
and to be honest, I could die if this goes wrong so it’s safe to say this will be the biggest stunt of my career, it could kill me.”
How have you been preparing for this?
Rodd said: “I am in the gym training everyday and I’ve also been mentally training too because if I make one mistake, I can’t go back and do that again.
“I only have a certain amount of time to carry out the stunt so I have been mentally training by going over the whole procedure and what I have to go through in my head.
“It’s not something I do everyday and there’s only so much you can practice but I am really looking forward to it.”
Have you always been interested in magic or what influenced you to become a magician?
Rodd explained: “I was out for a drink at the Anchor bar in Portstewart one night (I was 26 years old at the time) and I seen a guy doing a trick and it absolutely blew my mind.
“I couldn’t figure out how he did it and to me that was just amazing.
“It changed my life because if I hadn’t of been out that night I wouldn’t have seen it.
“A lot of people say they grew up with an interest in magic but that wasn’t the case for me.”
Are you looking forward to your performance at Stendhal?
Rodd said: “Yeah I am really excited to be given the platform of 10,000 people.
“BBC will also be streaming my performance so it’s a ready made audience.
“It’s going to be done at dusk so it really will be something special.
“When it comes to magic, if you watch it on tv, there is always the possibility the spectator will doubt it or think there is something else going on so I believe it has to be seen by your own eyes to believe it - I’m excited as people will get to see it at Stendhal.
“I travel all over the world – I was in America in March doing a mini tour then I was in Milan and Monaco, so I’m never performing at home.
“Stendhal is only 20 minutes from my house so this will definitely be something different for me.
“It’s going to be really special and at the end of the day, you can’t beat your own crowd.”
those attending Stendhal festival this year, Rodd will be in attendance from Friday August 16, working his magic with festival-goers, along with his big stunt which will be taking place on Saturday, August 17.