So, in case you hadn’t heard Phoenix Comicon is hosting a second convention this year, the Phoenix Comicon Fan Fest, and we have some updates providing potential attendees with a better idea of what to expect this coming December.
Recently, the Convention Director, Matt Solberg posted to the Phoenix Comicon Facebook page, providing some insights about the upcoming Fan Fest.
First, Matt Solberg explained the timing. It was just over a month ago that they considered a second convention, and once the opportunity presented itself, through the University of Phoenix Stadium, rather than waiting until the winter of 2015, Phoenix Comicon decided to act. While the time table they’re working with may seem “daunting”, and definitely ambitious, it’s definitely possibly that the Fan Fest will be worth attending, especially if things are kept in perspective (skip to the third point, if you already understand the why behind the where).
The second thing Matt brought up was the reasoning behind the location (University of Phoenix Stadium), which as explained in the previous article came down to price, and not just for the convention, but for attendees. Because Winter is by far the best season Phoenix has to offer, that means that not just nerds are interested in visiting, and so in addition to the cost of spaces like the Phoenix Convention Center going up, so does the cost of hotel rooms in downtown Phoenix. The University of Phoenix Stadium though is less expensive, especially for the amount of space needed. This brings us to the third point, about perspective.
Matt was incredibly up front with what fans at Fan Fest can expect, and if that expectation is for a “second Phoenix Comicon you will be disappointed“. He further explained, what is now also on the Phoenix Comicon site that:
Phoenix Comicon is captured lightning in a bottle with many positive forces making it what it is in scope and size. We don’t anticipate being able to capture lightning in a bottle a second time. But if we can capture some sparks like light off a firefly, then we’ll have accomplished our goal of entertaining attendees and bringing joy to the valley.
Now I’m sure that it’s a mixture of both my love for Phoenix Comicon and for Firefly, but I have no doubt that the Phoenix Comicon Fan Fest will turn out shiny.
Getting back to space, while the convention will be smaller (it’s truly looking more and more like Arizona’s version of Comic-Con International’s Wondercon), Matt also made a point about making the most of that space in terms of who’s filling it and why. Rather than making their exhibitor space open to anyone for the Fan Fest, it’s going to be invite only for exhibitors and artists, because they:
wanted to offer those vendors and artists who have been with us and supported us the first chance at this show. While it would have been neat to simply open it to everyone, or to our wait list, we knew that anything less than making it available to those who helped build Phoenix Comicon would be disrespectful to the support they’ve given us. Let’s dance with the ones who brought us.
This really demonstrates one of the things I love about Phoenix Comicon, as a growing organization there will always have to be decisions made about how to actually grow. Sometimes that growth means putting new attendees or vendors first, however Phoenix Comicon is choosing to grow through this new event, AND honor those who’ve been along for the ride, setting themselves apart from other conventions that have appeared to care more about their bottom line, rather than the experience over the years.
When it comes to programming, even without Matt’s comments about spacing, we should expect it on a smaller scale, but with actor and author announcements on the horizon, I’m not expecting any disappointment.
If anything, despite Matt’s statement that:
This event may well be the one where we fall flat on our faces
Phoenix Comicon knows that the reasons fans have high expectations of their convention every year is because of the high expectations that they’ve set for themselves. At absolute worst I think that Fan Fest may result in a stumble, but the kind where no one notices, and you keep on walking. If anyone’s going to fall flat on their face, it’ll probably just be some cosplayer who didn’t follow the visibility guidelines that Phoenix Comicon provides.
And speaking of cosplay, cosplayers should feel just as awesome at Fan Fest as they do at Phoenix Comicon, because Cosplay is NOT Consent, is expected to be featured again.