GALAXYCON 2019: A Galaxy Worth Visiting
On the weekend of May 31, GalaxyCon made its way to Richmond, VA. Though the Richmond speedway normally plays host to much smaller comic book-based conventions, this particular weekend saw the first large scale convention organizer to visit Richmond since Wizard World (nearly 4 years ago in August of 2015). Formerly known as SuperCon, GalaxyCon, if you were not aware, was sold to the organization known as ReedPOP (who organizes large Cons such as New York City Comic Con, Keystone Comic con in Philadelphia, and MSM Comic Con in London, just to name a few).
Though you don't hear a whole lot about Richmond (in terms of pop culture shows), if the crowds (many in cosplay) gathered around the exteriors and interiors of the Richmond Convention Center - that weekend - were any indication, there is an undoubtedly sizable fanbase in the area eager to attend Cons. So then, for those of you reading, the question becomes: Did this show satisfy the appetite of the fans?
Well, as always, I will break down my feelings in two segments: the reasons worth attending & the things to improve...In doing so, the answer to the.question above should.be provided to you.
First, the reasons well worth attending: Panels that went well into the night.
Unlike some Cons whose programming ends when the show floor closes, GalaxyCon's programming went well into the evening hours. They also did a good job juggling the talks of all its invited guests so that there were no direct conflicts between day time panels. Parking was abundant and did not cost a kidney.
For people who attend Cons in larger cities like Washington DC, they are well aware of how much parking can cost. Many cosplayers who bring heavy gear with them, have no choice but to park as close as possible in order to bring everything to the Con. Unfortunately, the overall scarcity of parking options in such instances can quickly escalate parking prices (due to demand) as a result. Richmond’s Convention Center, however, had an abundance of parking within 2 blocks of the center. More importantly, the price of parking was only $7 for the entire day. They had both a bar-and sweets.
GalaxyCon had a bar which served a small selection of different beers and wines, which, along with the abundance of tables and chairs, allowed plenty of opportunities to sit and take a break when needed. This idea was doubled down further thanks to a provider of fudge who was on hand. A touch, which, in opinion, was genius by the way, as con-goers always can use a sugar boost dealing with the hussle & bussle of attending a Con. Also, did I mention that the fudge was made with Belgium chocolate and done in over dozen flavors? Yum.
People were grouped (according to fandom) together.
While some cons throw together their guests in what sometimes appears to be a random order, at GalaxyCon guests were organized together according to your interest: the wrestlers had their section, the voice actors had their section, and so on. As an attendee you instantly knew which section to go to depending on your own interests. It really helped with the flow of people inside that area.
Cosplay and Information Desk in the middle of the Show Floor.
Cosplay malfunctions are most likely to happen on the Show Floor when a person steps on your cosplay, or your fabric gets caught up on a vendor booth. In order to help cosplayers, GalaxyCon set up a large booth in the middle of the show floor to help with any emergency repairs. And they also used that booth as an additional information booth. Too many Cons either have information kiosks that are sometimes difficult to spot, or have them outside the floor area (perhaps because they want to free up as much space as possible inside to sell space to potential vendors). GalaxyCon may have lost one vendor space, but they gained a ton of goodwill from attendees.
Now, in terms of the elements which GalaxyCon could improve upon, I would note: Be more upfront about cancellations.
There were a lot of cancellations in the 2 weeks leading up to the Con. Though the event was transparent about them, you (as the attendee) really had to hunt for it. The information about cancellations needs to be placed more prominently on the main page, because this does influence attendees who may be coming just for a specific guest.
All in all, I was very impressed with my first attendance at a GalaxyCon. They have not announced yet if they are returning to Richmond next year, and that may be because they are crunching the numbers to see how well they did economically. I hope the numbers show they should return. I would attend again and this time stay overnight. GalaxyCon is an A + Galaxy worth visiting.