Normally I would be posting, reviewing books and saying “Hellos” for a couple weeks after the expo but not this year. The Expo is, sad to say, my annual ‘holiday’ which used to charge my batteries for the next year. Sometimes inspiring but never dull.
When asked to describe this year’s event -and a few people have asked- all I could say was that it was like one of the old comic marts but not quite as much fun. This is very disappointing. Every year since 2004 there has been the running technical problem with powerpoint presentations, short films and so on. Nothing new there. But this year it was the final straw for me. No one wioll believe that I left a comic event at 1500 hrs –I’ve never done this in 30 years of going to them.
Last year I spent quite a bit of time on the internet defending the new organisers -it was their first event and they had been made aware of problems and promised to take note.
I leave that answer open because I never saw much improvement. This week I actually found myself once again defending the event and organisers against criticism. However, I then realised I was defending people who could not even get press releases to one of their staunchest supporters since 2004. Organisers that never responded to my emails before the event.
I am hoping (I do NOT pray) that the organisers get things together. For fecks sake this used to be the best event of the year and now smaller, newer events are pulling people away from it.
One guest, when I asked if she was enjoying herself responded: “This is shit. What happened? It’s got no atmosphere and it looks…crap.”
One person asked me: “Who’s the old guy in a wheelchair -he’s hardly had anyone at his table all weekend?” Al Davidson. You’d think a bigger show might be made of the fact that he was there. But then, Star Wars artist Tanya Roberts was equally idle…a guest not on the guest list tucked away.
One pro who attends the event each year, when I asked if he was having fun, took out his 2014 planner and pointed to the Bristol Comic Expo now being crossed out as an event he was attending.
Where were all the Small Pressers?
Where were all the comic dealers??
Where were all the pros sketching and signing?
Why was there no schedule of events hand-out or at least a big sign with the schedule on -not a sheet pinned to a door with lots of other guff?
Event staff gave me two different times for Olivier Cadic’s talk which was my MUST attend panel. Both times were for Sunday…the panel was Saturday. I missed it.
The days of saying “ahh, let’s just throw it all together and see what happens!” are no more. You have to compete with other events. The Expo is losing.
2011 was very likely the last great Expo. I really, really hope the organisers can sort things out but if 2014 is the same as this year then….
And thanks for all the complaints. I have NOTHING to do with the Expo. Contact the organisers -maybe you’ll get a reply. :-/