So normally my reasoning for why I go to a specific convention is to either meet specific people or because they are just a couple of hours from home; however, neither was the case here. This event’s about three hours from my home so not a horrible drive, but I mainly went because I wanted to go to a convention on my birthday for the first time. Now I’ve been to this event before and thought it was ok, but I was hoping that maybe my thoughts would change going to it a second time and sadly they did not.
First I’ll talk about guests as this event did have a great line up. They had people from Doctor Who, The Flash, Arrow, Supernatural, My Hero Academia, Star Wars it really was an incredible variety of people that represented different fandoms. Now last time I went I expressed frustration on how the guests were packed into a corner and it felt cramped in that area, but at least here they actually improved it. This time the guests were at the back of the vendors like most events do and they were not only easier to get to but easier to find and I’ll say that was a very welcomed change. The lines actually weren’t even that bad as my wife and I managed to meet everyone we planned to go see in a very timely manner. So I will give them kudos for how well this went, sadly this is where the kudos end.
Next I’ll talk about panels. Now I only went to one panel and that was the one for John Barrowman because I greatly enjoy any time I’m at one of his panels just like earlier this year at Megacon. However, this event started so late that it nearly started at the time the panel was supposed to end which was, in my opinion one, of the most extreme late starts I’ve seen in a long time. Now these things do happen but the panel was over 30 minutes late and was only supposed to be 45 minutes so they had to push their entire schedule forward to make time to do a panel at all. I’m not a fan when this has to happen but I won’t be too harsh because at the time of writing this I don’t know why this happened. I do know that John Barrowman was noticeably annoyed because like all panels he likes to make a big flashy entrance with music and dancing plus he now likes to have a screen around so he can play videos to entertain the audience. Unfortunately the music didn’t work and they didn’t have anything for him to play videos on and he didn’t hesitate to voice some frustration about that. The panel was still a whole lot of fun but it was cut short even after extending all the other panels. Overall I don’t know why this happened but it was frustrating.
One of the other things I didn’t care for was the lack of signage. I used signage for the building to try and find the panel room, which I did, but didn’t realize I made a complete circle around the 2nd floor in the process because there was next to nothing indicating where to go from the convention. I thought maybe it was just me but I found out from other fans that they made the same circle. Furthermore the lack of signage had multiple people, including myself, initially try to line up in the VIP not knowing we were in the wrong spot. Overall the panels lacked organization and the convention didn’t do all that they could to make everything easy to find.
Finally I’ll talk about the vendors. They had a great selection of vendors including Colorworld which I have nothing but good things to say about. However, due to how close they were to each other and how many people were present it was really cramped. My entire group had a hard time shopping because it was hard to see anything or go anywhere due to the crowed. I honestly didn’t bother to go around the entire floor just through some favorites that I knew from previous events. I also go to talk with some of the vendors, (not Colorworld for this one) towards the back of the venue who noted that while they make money at this event because of how the floor plan was they don’t get that many shoppers noting the concerns I presented previously. So I felt the floor design needs to improve to give shoppers more room and more motivation to look around the entire floor. It doesn’t matter if you fill the entire room up with vendors if half the fans don’t bother to look through them all.
Overall I did have fun. The panel I went to was great, the vendors were fun to shop at and this event had fun guests. However, while they improved how they managed guests everything else was just ok. Panels were hard to find and way off schedule and vendors were cramped and hard to shop. It’s not a bad event by any means it’s just also not a particularly great event either.
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