Words can’t describe the level of relative elation that one feels knowing that the majority of in person events have returned. Such notable venues like the Great White Way, better known as Broadway, reopened their respective doors this past September after being dark for over a year. Fan conventions both big and small embraced technological aids such Twitch and YouTube to provide people with a way of “attending” otherwise cancelled gatherings. And without stating the obvious cause, because it is still making headlines, the world simply stopped. Gone were the ways in which we as human beings had to escape from the everyday grind. No longer could we gather together in places that served as a portal to different worlds, different times. Even now as we approach the two year mark, it still feels so surreal. Despite the uncertainty that took root, all was not lost.
When the world shuttered in mid March of 2020, fan convention season had just begun. I fondly remember this because I had plans to attend Planet ComicCon Kansas City. And then in realtime, as I sat debating between attending the convention or training – emails came out regretfully informing fans that the convention was canceled. And well, you all know the rest. In person gatherings became taboo, and also created the potential to become public health crises. You suddenly had the majority of people relatively confined to their houses, still needing that social interaction. Enter the creation of the virtual fan/comic convention.
Knowing that there was a demand, and quite frankly a need for an escape – actors Rachel Skarsten and Paul Amos – whom you might know from Lost Girl – created the very first virtual convention known as HomeCon. Debuting exclusively on Twitch back in April 2020, these two amazing people gathered together their fellow cast-mates, their fellow friends – and put on a fun filled two day convention that was streamed live around the world. To quote a certain former Hogwarts Headmaster, “Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, when only remembers to turn on the light.” For a lot of people, this was their first time ever attending a convention. Their first time getting to “meet” people that happens to like the same shows as them.
No words exist to accurately describe that level of magic.
Fast forward to today – there are several household name fan conventions that not only offer the traditional fan experience, but a virtual option as well. New York Comic Con, San Diego Comic Con, Galaxy Con, just to name a few. Safety is of course at the forefront of resuming these long standing events. Social distancing, vaccine requirements (which, as one can imagine hasn’t met the greatest feedback), masking, limiting the amount of in person attendees, offering live streaming of panels; are just a few ways that convention organizers have adjusted to the new world we all live in. Such passionate dedication from all parties – fans, convention organizers, the entertainment industry – have allowed for the return of the “comic” conventions.
At the time of this article, there are over three hundred fan conventions scheduled to take place this year around the world. Thus far, only a handful of them have either either been canceled, postponed, or switched to online only. Compared to this time last year, it’s truly a night and day difference. Again, words can’t convey just how much a welcoming sight this is. We are very much looking forward to returning to the convention hall floor J.
With that being said and in celebration of convention season returning in the flesh, so to speak, we will be writing a series of stories covering the various aspects of the convention experience. From speaking with convention organizers, to you, the fans. Stay 2uned was founded on the principle of taking you behind the scenes of all things entertainment. And what better way to return to our roots then by covering such a joyous occasion?
For a list of fan conventions that are still on schedule for this year, you can visit https://fancons.com/events/schedule.php?year=2022. It is truly an impeccable resource to have access to. Additionally, we will be boots on the ground at Galaxy Con Richmond in less than two weeks’ time – March 18-20, 2022, in my home state of VA. Following that, we will be covering QFX East in Tampa, FL from May 13-15, 2022. Information on both of these events can be found below – and who knows, maybe we will see you there.