There might have been a chill in the air, though the weekend was no less vibrant as MCM lay out a fantastic event to keep any convention enthusiast happy. Taking place in Hall 4 this time around, the layout, by my consideration at least, was a lot nicer with a lot more natural lighting to give the hall a more airy and larger appearance. The way all the stalls and attractions were laid out was done so to give plentiful space for people to navigate around.
The public attendance over the weekend was, by any measure, pretty huge. As usual, Saturday was the busiest day with the biggest crowds, and you might expect to have to be charging into the thick of it to get around. Actually, it wasn’t as bad as it was in November, with plenty of pockets of reprieve to make a less arduous task. It appeared, much to the organiser’s credit, that time and consideration had been given to spacing. You could get around with relative comfort most of the time, even if you’re went always moving as quickly as you liked.
A separate hall for ticketing was set aside next door, and was – from what I’d glimpsed of it – to be moving at a reasonable pace for such a busy event. Hopefully it wasn’t too excruciating for those waiting to buy tickets, though it’s to be expected with on the day purchases for such a popular event that a bit of a wait might have been on the cards.
Inside the hall, a visual invitation of colour and activity awaited every eager convention attendee. It was a lot to take in at first glance. It was quite clear there was going to be plenty to see, from the comic village, to the celebrity signing area and the scores of dealers’ tables. Let me throw out a mention to a few I personally visited over the weekend.
There was the funky stand for David & Goliath clothing (‘chicksrule.co.uk’). As a huge fan of this brand, it was wonderful to see a wonderful selection of their products out on display. David & Goliath has great vibrancy, humour and cuteness with their designs – always eye-catching and unique. And yeah, I purchased a nice new collection of t-shirts. You can never have enough t-shirts!
At the back of the hall, there was the Robots Live mini stage set up – a battle arena for mechanical creations – or should I say, fighters? It was all very much in the vein of the TV series Robot Wars. I ventured over on the Sunday to see what all the excitement was about. The noise coming from that corner was enough to draw anyone over! It was extremely funny to see at the start of one bout that it took one strike from one of the robots to knock its opponent’s head clean off – not that it mattered, it powered on anyway! Who needs a head, right? It was all loud, proud and chock full of entertainment value, and was a big hit with the kids in attendance.
One stall that rekindled childhood nostalgia was the Street Fighter 2 stall, which sold embroidered t-shirts and hoodies with characters from the game. You could also play different versions of Street Fighter 2 on an arcade style machine. I luckily got the chance to play on the Sunday when the crowds were less, and with vivid recollection of how to play, handed out the pain with Chun Li. (Spinning Bird Kick!) Such great fun, and I’m pretty certain those who played the game as children enjoyed reliving those memories, too! (You can visit the Street Fighter 2 merchandise site here: http://streetfighterofficial.com/index.php)
Amidst the gathering of many comic enthusiasts perusing the comic village area, I about managed to squeeze through to see some of the original creations from independent artists and smaller studios, including the photorealistic Sci-Fi artwork of ‘Telikos Protocol’ by 3rd Phase Studios.
Moving on, another aspect of the convention experience I’m inclined to mention are the cosplayers, who were out in full force over the weekend. They sported some of the most amazing and inspired costume creations that brought to life everyone’s favourite characters across film, television, comics and games; and even a lot of not-so well known characters were dotted around to add a wonderful variance amongst the costumed crowds. It was a pleasure and a privilege to speak to and take photos of some of these imaginative people, who were such a friendly bunch. They certainly helped to inspire the good mood throughout the convention. Having donned my own costumes over the course of the weekend, it made the event even more enjoyable. Being able to fit in with like-minded people and having photos taken was such a bonus! It just added an extra something on top of all the other enjoyable aspects of the convention. Not obligatory to go in costume, but when there are very few times you can geek out as your favourite character, so it’s worth taking the opportunity.
With the amount of things to see and do inside the convention, staying over for the two days was a bonus to be able to take everything in and have a good steady walk around. The NEC is blessed to have many hotels within suitable walking distance, so if you do want to make a weekend of one of these events, you have a good few options!
Food and drink was easily accessible inside the event, as well as just outside in the concourse. I’d settled on trying a crepe from one of the stands, which I’d missed out on last time. Getting a seat in the food area is always a task on these busy weekends, but you just have to be patient, especially at the height of lunch. The crepe was yummy, by the way – well worth the wait!
It does get rather warm inside the event, so it’s always wise to either take a drink with you or know where you can get access to one. There were plenty of vending machines in the corridors, though it cost more than what I’d generally pay for a bottle of drink, so it is really worth being prepared beforehand.
All in all, MCM Birmingham was an outstanding weekend, beyond all my expectations. I’d enjoyed their event last November, but even so, they just seemed to excel themselves this time around with an improved hall layout, superior lighting, great organisation and just an amazing overall atmosphere. It’s just a perfect venue for this type of big event! Many I’m sure left the event with satisfaction from the experience. It’s a definite this Renegade will be returning to MCM Birmingham in the future! Hopefully those who attended enjoyed themselves and will think attending MCM again also. And if you’ve never been, I highly recommend it!
Speaking of future! MCM Birmingham will be back once again for its autumn show later on this year! Jot the following date into your diary: 21st – 22nd November 2015. You don’t want to miss out! But don’t forget, MCM is hosting other shows across the UK during the year. The next event is at the Excel Exhibition Centre in London, which is a 3 day event over the weekend of 22nd – 24th May 2015!
Keep up with all further information for the MCM Birmingham event through the following link: