This past weekend, I was at GalaxyCon Raleigh 2019 in North Carolina! This convention was previously known as Raleigh Supercon, but a new owner bought some of the SuperCon franchise, so some of the Supercons will still have that name moving forward. The ones under the new ownership are called GalaxyCons.
I’ve been watching with interest this trend in con ownership, such as the one that happened with MegaCon in Florida. More about that later.
HOW WAS GALAXYCON RALEIGH?
I’ve attended several Supercons in my day, but this was the first GalaxyCon I’ve been at. As always, there were some great aspects to it, but I do have some suggestions for future events! (Don’t I always?)
The guests were great, including David Tennant, Tim Curry, John Kusack, Jonathan Frakes, Summer Glau, Wil Wheaton, Jason Mewes, Mary McDonnell, and Edward James Olmos. As far as comics creators, there was Ed McGuinness, Greg Kirkpatrick, Peter David, Mervyn McKoy, Jae Lee, Fabian Nicieza, Tim Seely, Keith R.A. DeCandido, and, of course, Richard Rivera.
This was a four-day con, starting early Thursday afternoon. Often the exhibitors floor was open pretty late, most likely until 8 p.m., except Sunday, which closed at 6:30 p.m. Starting time was most often 10 a.m. except for Thursday, which was 1 p.m.
The exhibitors area, celebrities space and the panel rooms were all large enough to hold the crowds, which were big. Each day the number of attendees grew. with Saturday being the largest. It was also the sold-out day as far as tickets go.
I don’t often get to the after-hours entertainment, but this time I got to see a wrestling bout with many genre characters in it, including Green Lantern, Kylo Renn, and many others. The crowd got into it, but I have a tough time enjoying wrestling. I do have to say that there was one time when one wrestler threw a Pokemon into the head of another. I heard the crack all the way where I was. Owwww!
Artist Alley almost truly lived up to that name. There weren’t many comics for sale there, but there was quite a wide range of art available, from smaller knick-knacks to larger portraits and more.
The support volunteers were incredible! We were located in with many other comics creators, and those folks came by and asked us very regularly if we needed something. I often asked for bottles of water and we asked for food from the Green Room occasionally, which they happily provided! Well done!
My suggestions include the following:
First, the floor should close earlier in the future. I know some people like staying later, but honestly, usually after 6 or at the latest 7 p.m., the number of people there drastically fell. On Sunday, most of the talent had left to catch flights back home by 4 or 4:30. I’d say they should close by 6 on the first few days, then on Sunday at 5 moving forward.
Second, and it is something I see happening at many cons, it was tough to find a specific booth number. For example, Artist Alley was divided into areas with letters, from A to above. You could find the number of the location for a person in the program, but finding it on the floor was very difficult. I found myself asking again and again, “What booth number is this?” in my attempt to locate a specific one. Turned out the person had cancelled, but that hadn’t hit the program in time. I emailed the person, and he told me that… otherwise, I might still be trying to locate him there!
Third, they need to change the name of their website to reflect the new ownership.
I don’t have more numbers on this trend, but what I’ve already seen really concerns me.
CONVENTION OWNERSHIP CHANGES
I previously mentioned MegaCon and the change it went through. The people who ran it were still there running it, but it was sold to a different company. The same thing happened with GalaxyCon. The person who ran the event in the past still ran it, and that truly helped.
That’s a great thing, particularly for the people in charge. You can focus on running the con instead of many of the behind-the-scenes things that can so easily fill up your time. GalaxyCon really seemed to thrive this year.
I just wonder sometimes that, as ownership moves farther away from the fans, we’ll see things becoming less and less focused on the fans who buy the tickets and come each year.
That bothers me because, on some levels, we have already seen that move taking place. I know that celebrities need to make a certain amount of money to go. I just see the costs rising at a rapid rate, and that may eventually ace out those folks who live on a budget. We need to find a way to make it possible for as many fans as possible to attend.
I also worry about fewer companies taking control of more and more cons. Eventually, that could leave out guests who aren’t interested in working with those organizations. And that would be bad for fans, I believe.
IT’S GOOD TO BE CON PEOPLE
A lot of the volunteers at GalaxyCon Raleigh really enjoyed giving great customer service. I know that many of them are too busy with their responsibilities to listen to speakers or attend panel discussions.
Still, you get to meet many of the celebrities and creators, who almost always greatly appreciate their efforts.
You also get to be there, which I really want to see more people enjoy.
I really enjoyed GalaxyCon Raleigh a lot, and I hope I get back there next year. It’s also interesting that there are other GalaxyCons, including ones in November taking place in Louisville and Minneapolis. If those are like Raleigh, I’m sure they will be great experiences!
What do you think? Is the current trend in ownership good for the con? For the fans? Should we have more owners instead of fewer owners with more cons in their structures? Whatever your opinion, be sure to share your opinion and thoughts in the space below!