The 71st Annual IJA Festival convened at the Mass Mutual Center and nearby Symphony Hall in Springfield, Massachusetts July 16-22, 2018. Jugglers enjoyed the environs of this Art Deco city on a river in the Boston area. Special Guests included Michael Moschen, Wes Peden and Florence Huet. Moschen returned to his hometown for the event. Many other guest performers attended from around the U.S. and internationally. The convention center, performance venue, and downtown vicinity got good reviews from visiting jugglers.
The Mass Mutual convention center located downtown was devoted to the festival. One of the first events offered, X-Juggling took place with a necessarily high ceiling. Kyle Johnson demonstrated a head balance into a six-ball site swap pattern. Wes Peden contributed many moves including a back-of-head catch to seven, and five-high 360 with seven, and six-ball columns with a four-high 360. A trio performed with 15 rings and box juggler Liam Halstead accomplished several “out of the box” variations from his repertoire.
The Welcome Show, an additional variety show at the start of the week, has become an IJA tradition. This year Ross Berenson of the New York jugglers directed the show. The duo Fly by Night served as hosts with their edgy comedy and juggling antics.