It has been a long time since I’ve been to this event in Knoxville, TN. This was actually the first ever con I’ve attended and started my fascination for the convention scene, and for that reason I was excited to come back and see how this con has grown since I last attended around 2013. Unfortunately while this event has grown it had some hiccups that really made for an uncomfortable experience.
This convention had a wide variety of great guests and I actually had a wonderful experience meeting each one we went in line for. This con had three of the backstreet boys, which my fiance just loved, several people from Hellboy and Buffy and so many more. This convention really brought its A game when it came to the guest list. It wasn’t a long list but it had a lot of great people in it. The only problem was with the lines themselves. This convention had VIP passes and general admission but they clearly had no idea on how to manage VIP passes. There was so many of them that during one line the staff was letting 20 VIP guests go in line for every one person in general admission. This is a huge problem when you sell so many VIP passes that you can even enforce a 20:1 ratio for any line at this event. I was near the front of many lines for different people but wound up waiting hours on just the VIP guests. I had no issue with the VIP members going first, that’s what they pay the extra money to get, but there was just too many of them that it became near impossible for general admission to do anything.
We honestly wanted to go to panels at this event but we only went on Saturday and we really didn’t have time for any panels. Normally we would have but this convention did not create an event that made it possible for general attendees to get autographs and do other things.
We did do one of the photo ops, regrettably. The reason I say that is because of how long it took to get the photo. Most events get the photo out ether immediately or within an hour. My fiance and I got our photo at 2:45pm and picked it up at 6pm. We were done with the event with the photo but stayed longer than planned just to wait to pick it up. While most of the staff was great and helpful with the photos one member of the staff was just an absolute jerk. He was a younger individual and he tried so I will give him that much, but it worries me about how my photo is treated when you see an individual throw one in the floor. Furthermore this person was rude to everyone that spoke to him and people were actually nicer to him than to the people that did everything they could to be polite and helpful. If people are rude to the staff and the staff snaps back, that doesn’t bother me because some attendees are very mean, but what I can’t fathom is when people are polite and get treated rudely in return by individuals in a position where they have to deal with a lot of people.
This convention had a fair amount of vendors but, with the exception of a few booths, most of the stuff we found was either the same items sold by multiple vendors or very similar merchandise. The variety just was not there. For a convention that managed to get a wide variety of guests you would think the vendors would have a lot more uniqueness from one booth to another. Another problem with the vendors, and this actually applies to autograph lines too since they were in the same room, was the heat. It was so hot in this event that explaining how hot it was sounds like a corny joke.
Fanboy expo was so hot
(how hot was it?)
Fanboy expo was so hot even Hellboy passed out.
It sounds like a very bad joke until you release this is true. Ron Pearlman of Hellboy actually passed out during the convention. Luckily he was ok and the staff brought a fan to him, but the heat was a problem for a lot of people.
With one exception the staff was amazing. While this event went pretty badly the convention did everything they could to fix the situations. We found out the convention grew by four times since last year so my theory is that they were adjusting to the new size of the event and had a lot of hiccups in the process. This one bad experience won’t hinder my desire to go to this event in the future because I’m ruling this as just growing pains for an event that is doing well. I hope these problems are fixed by next year, but I have a feeling they will be.