For me London Film and Comic Con (or LFCC as its known) is one of the highlights of the year. The venue of Earls Court is easy to get to and normally very accommodating, the wide variety of guests appeals to a large audience and the trade stands are always new and fresh. It’s at this early point in my review that I’m going to address the elephant in the room and talk about what every one is talking about. The crowding.
Now events of this size will always have long queues to get in and if you don’t pre-buy your tickets there is no guarantee that you are going to get in. Saying that, once inside LFCC the organizers hadn’t thought their spacing out very well. As soon as you were through the main doors you were greeted by a large dragon skull from Game of Thrones which was very impressive. So impressive that every one wanted to stop and take a picture of it which left very little room for the people behind to enter the convention. Around the skull were partition walls and small pathways which just bottle-necked the whole situation. What also didn’t help is a large number of costuming groups had been placed down one “lane” which became one of the routes around the main stage so very often people got stuck in a crowd of people who weren’t really moving. All the event needed was to move the main skull back about 20 feet and move the costuming groups to the back of the convention like previous years and everything would have been a lot easier.
Ok that aside and dealt with let me look at what I really enjoyed about this convention. Once again it was the people! I was costuming with the UKCM at this event so was in the building early to help set up our stand and I will be honest apart from a little delay in getting our tickets and location sorted the staff were amazing. All weekend one there was one guy on the side door checking for Costumers or Tradesman wristbands and he always had a smile on his face. I have heard that in other areas of the convention the staff weren’t so helpful with either no helpful information or contradictory advice. Now this could be seen as a downfall of the event as if the staff cant help what use are they? But then again a majority of the staff were volunteers and with an event that size situations and correct information can change rapidly. What could have improved situations would have been two things in my opinion, a detailed floor map so guests could find what they wanted easily and a basic set of rules for meeting actors which cannot be changed.
Inside the venue the signing and photo areas at the back of the hall were well laid out with a few trade stands and set pieces to look over whilst you waited in line to meet your heroes. One great stand I ran into was Lucky Seven Caps, a custom cap stall run out of the back of an American chow truck! With a huge selection of cap styles, patches and trims to choose from you could have a one of a kind cap in about five minutes of asking and, however tempting it was to put my Nostromo crew hat together, time was pressing; I had a meeting with a star!
I only got the chance to meet one actor properly over the weekend which was Casper Van Diem of Starship Troopers fame. The virtual queuing system LFCC were using worked rather well in this case. I went up around 10am and was given a ticket with a number on it. All I had to do was check back around for my number group to be shown and I walked right up. This left me plenty of time to look around the stalls and take in some amazing costumes. If I had been an autograph hunter this means I could have theoretically waited in numerous lines at once.
One of the big draws of this event was of course Stan Lee of Marvel fame. It was his last convention here in the UK and thousands of people turned up to meet the famous man. Personally I didn’t but from what I heard the line was long and people only got short amounts of time with him. He was a great man to meet and chat to and like the other celebrities and stars the virtual queuing system worked well.
One thing I will note (and would like you all to remember for next time) is that Sunday was much much quieter than Saturday. Although you still had the queues for both early entry and pay on day tickets both of these cleared and by the end of the day you would walk in and out of both halls with ease. Bar a few actors and authors who weren’t able to make the Sunday due to other commitments the turnout was good and the stalls as packed as ever but with the added bonus that you were able to stop and peruse them with ease.
In conclusion it was a good event. Saying that, there is a lot that could have been improved but I’ve never had to put a convention together and I imagine the logistics would be a nightmare. The crowd in attendance was fantastic and the atmosphere very friendly which is something I always get from LFCC. I hope those of you who made it enjoyed it as much as I did and I will see you all at the next drop!
All photos © Renegade Revolution
You can view our LFCC 2014 photo album on our Facebook page.