Sword swallowing acrobat headlines World Sideshow Festival

Beyond impossible: The world's first and only sword swallowing acrobat, Aerial Manx, will perform at the World Sideshow Festival next month.
Beyond impossible: The world's first and only sword swallowing acrobat, Aerial Manx, will perform at the World Sideshow Festival next month.

The world’s only sword swallowing acrobat will perform at Ballarat’s World Sideshow Festival next month. 

Australian acrobat Aerial Manx will perform alongside the world’s tallest contortionist, Samora Squid, and strongman The Great Gordo Gamsby in the League of Sideshow Superstars.

“Most sword swallowers will just put their feet firmly on the ground and swallow a sword and that takes years of practice. He (Manx) thought ‘I’m going to put a sword in a mouth and do a handstand’ and he did it and he didn’t die so he thought ‘I wonder how far I can push this?’,” festival director Shep Huntly said.

Now Manx does backflips and somersaults with a sword down his throat.

“For anybody else it would be crazy but for him it’s extremely considered,” Mr Huntly said.

“He’s a true elite athlete but unlike other athletes he doesn’t have the competition to make him better he basically just has to think things up and try them and hope that they don’t kill him.

“You’re watching it and your hearts fully in your mouth, you’re watching people take these risks so you don’t have to, you’re sitting in the audience getting all these rushes of adrenaline but you’re safe.”

The festival four day will also feature The Headmaster whose post modern sideshow company Pain Solution has been running since the mid nineties. 

“The Headmaster is all the way from Norway, he is the real deal, this is pure sideshow at its absolute greatest,” Mr Huntly said.

This year’s festival also includes the Silly Circus Sideshow for kids, featuring David Splatt’s flea circus and Byron Bay bubble master Dr Hubble. 

International artists include Canada’s The Monsters of Shlock. Local Emma J Hawkins will also feature in The Wild Women of Sideshow.

The World Sideshow Festival will include five evening performances at the Ballarat Mechanics Institute from May 11 to May 13. Single show tickets are $30 to $35. A $115 festival pass will give access to all evening performances. To book visit www.worldsideshowfestival.com.