Mancunicon 2016

Discussion in 'Conventions and Events' started by Stephen Palmer, Feb 9, 2016.

  1. TheEndIsNigh

    TheEndIsNigh ...Prepare Thyself

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    OK, so now it's all over what did people think of the event. I think I was disappointed. Both with the venue the organisation. I know I'm a naturally negative person but even the most positive person must have seen something they thought could have been improved. I have a list.
    1 space: I was turned away from at least five panels because they were full. The rooms were far too small and I suspect if you added up the total seats for attendees in all the rooms you would have found a massive discrepancy against the number of tickets sold for the event. I would hazard two seats for every three tickets sold.
    2 organisation: nobody seemed to have a clue what was going on when. When i asked for information on quite a few occasions I was just told to get the on line app because that had the latest info. Quite apart from the fact some people don't do internet on their phone (with discrimination implications there too) when you did go on line the information wa not necessarily up to date. The critique event that I mentioned had two sessions and the program never reflected this. Several events had their start time altered and the room they were held in changed. Again reflecting the poor planning of the program.
    3 Events: I know it can be difficult to predict what events will be popular at these things and fair enough some things will seem a good idea till people vote with their feet etc. But singalong a frozen???? I'm sorry this was an in the main an adult event not a Disney fans family do. That wouldn't have been so bad but when this event was on in the largest of the smaller venues on floor 2 people were being turned away from the Authur C Clark awards in the minutely small room next door. The singalong Frozen tracks were blasting out to an empty room.
    4. There were some surprising events. We particularly enjoyed the juggling event. The chocolate event was interesting and informative, and everyone should look up any links from that event to the sites about the chocolate harvesting by slave 10 year old children. - quite shocking. The friendly atmosphere of attendees was excellent but that reflects more on the nature of Manchester folk than the organisers. Another interesting aspect on the venue though, was the option and access to alternative
    restaurants in Manchester. Something that the NEC will find challenging next year not to mention what the situation for parking will be.
    It has to be said that I thought the food available this year was dreadful. I know the prices were not too bad but the quality on the event menu was lacking IMO.
    Having said all that we did manage to enjoy the four days . However, we will probably give Birmingham a miss and next year and go for the Harrogate trip in 2018 always assuming it all hasn't ended by then of course.
     
  2. Jo Zebedee

    Jo Zebedee Come away, oh human child - Waters and the Wild

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    I'm sorry I missed you :(

    I enjoyed the panels and events I went to but found the venue horrid. No time-out spaces,ludicrously small rooms for the panels, atrocious food etc etc. Also, updates via twitter weren't picked up by me so I didnMt know, for instance, about the disco. (But was having a thoroughly nice evening catching up with Millymollymo and Abernovo elsewhere.)

    So, yes, venue poor: the actual con good.
     
  3. Ursa major

    Ursa major Bearly Believable Staff Member

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    Sorry to hear that things were not as well organised as they might have been. (And also that I was unable to be there, so missed meeting at least some of you. :()

    I've only been to two Eastercons, those held in 2012 and 2015. Glasgow (2014) was a bit too far for me and I was put off by Bradford (2013) by the small size** of the hotel. I can't recall why I didn't book to go this year, but it probably had something to do with the number of rooms (279) at the venue (which can be an issue for those, like me, who procrastinate when booking a room).

    The 2012 and 2015 Eastercons were held in large hotels across the road from Heathrow airport. Even though I booked my room late in 2012, and so couldn't get a room at the venue, I did get one in the next hotel along the road, giving me a walk of no more than 150 metres. Food -- well, lunch -- was a bit of an issue at both venues and, as one might expect, the hotels' own food wasn't cheap (although last year, cheaper food -- burgers -- was available an area reserved for Eastercon attendees next to three of the meeting rooms, including the second largest).


    Regarding 2017.... The event is being held at the 790-room*** Hilton Birmingham Metropole, (near the NEC and Birmingham airport); its website states:
    If the local Eastercon organisation is up to scratch, and they've booked enough space, it should be okay. I'm certainly hoping to attend (give or take Burns's warning about plans, mice and men).


    ** - And they had, quite rightly, emphasised that priority should be given to those attending as official guests and people with mobility issues (because the alternative accommodation didn't seem to be situated that close by), etc.

    *** - According to Booking.com.
     
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  4. millymollymo

    millymollymo Automaton in disguise

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    Meeting up with Chronners made the con for me. Polite, pleasant and downright unruly conversations which I was lucky to be a part of. (Thank you!) While I did use the App I found the booklet the most convenient. The panels I attended on the Saturday were for the most part disappointing, mostly because, as The End Is Nigh said, rooms were full.
    As a result on Sunday everyone was the wiser and chose a room to camp out in. I still ended up retreating earlier than planned, missed all the things in the presidential suite - hundreds of people...3 lifts? Wasn't going to work when the free beer was on the top floor. I agree, the venue spoilt a lot of voluntary hard work, which is a shame.
    There was a refreshing element, I'm seeing other cons adopt a Nine Worlds Approach to things, Nine Worlds does have this 'down pat' though. Still. I did wonder at the Frozen Sing-a-long timing.
    I was really glad I went...though I shall never, ever buy "con food" again :( Soggy wedges!
     
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  5. PeteMC

    PeteMC @PeteMC666

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    I had a really good time and met some lovely people, but I agree the venue was horrible. I am *so* glad we stayed at the Jurys Inn round the corner, which was actually very nice.

    There were several panels I wanted to go to and had to miss because they were full as well, and I think a lot of people had that problem. The panel I was actually speaking on was in rooms 8&9 (the "big" room on the 2nd floor) and it was so full there were people sitting on the floor! I'm fairly sure they were all at the panel to listen to Sarah Pinborough not me though... ;)

    The food was a bit rubbish but not as bad as it was at FantasyCon last year, to be fair, and at least the bar prices were reasonable.

    The lifts were just ridiculous, and the "presidential suite" is actually tiny. We had the Angry Robot party in there and it was packed (and roasting hot!) with about 25 people in there at a time.

    But all that aside, it's the people who make a convention. Everyone I spoke to was lovely and I made some new friends so overall I'm calling it a win.
     
  6. chrispenycate

    chrispenycate resident pedantissimo Staff Member

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    Taking off my technical jacket (which cuts down my conversations with others, but makes me feel useful) I can't disagree with the previous criticisms, although the organisation not knowing what was going on felt about par for the course (and I can't speak for the food - a couple of sandwiches being all I ate on site (but the real ale was good, while it lasted).

    The lack of space was dire, but some of this was due to catering for the disabled - four wheelchair spaces replace twelve ordinary seats, and the inductive loop 'impaired hearing' seats had to be held for those who really needed them.

    A lot of hard science, particularly radio astronomy and cosmology - good for me, as I don't think you can overload me on that without somebody scribbling illegible equations on a blackboard, and power point or equivalent is now universal, but I imagine some attendees would have appreciated somewhat softer.

    And I took few photos(relative to the meetups) - Met MillyMolly, but no evidence, and would have missed Nesa entirely 'cept that I saw her and her giant arrive:D
     
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  7. Verity

    Verity Active Member

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    We had a great time, but I have to agree about the small rooms, and the wedges! We got to see almost everything we wanted to see, and met some lovely people.
     
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  8. Brian G Turner

    Brian G Turner He's a very naughty boy! Staff Member

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    Jo Zebedee made an interesting post about the lack of representation by indie authors on the panels:
    JoZebwrites: EVER HEARD OF….?

    A couple of years ago I might have argued that the trad authors obviously out-sell the indie ones. However, from everything I've been reading, this is absolutely no longer the case. Which begs the question of how representative SF/F cons are of genre readers?
     
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  9. thaddeus6th

    thaddeus6th Well-Known Member

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    Just on the updates: I don't have a mobile phone. I don't want one. And if I asked what was on or wanted to check the time/place of an event and someone suggested using an app, I'd be less than impressed.

    It's the equivalent of asking your spouse what's for tea and they suggest checking their Twitter feed.
     
  10. TheEndIsNigh

    TheEndIsNigh ...Prepare Thyself

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    Aparently you were only minutes in front of me going through the upstairs dealing room accorning to Ian Whates. (Another ridiculous concept, having two rooms taking valuable space). I did look for your badge but never saw it. I was using Sam Tein.
     
  11. Teresa Edgerton

    Teresa Edgerton Goblin Princess Staff Member

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    They did that at SVCC and it was horribly confusing and discouraging, because there was no way of finding any of the panels we wanted to see. I suppose at an event held in Silicon Valley it was a little more reasonable to suppose that everyone attending would have the appropriate electronic device, but even there I thought it was stupid, and if that is going to be the way going forward for SFF conventions everywhere it may be that TEIN is right and the end is truly nigh.
     
  12. TheEndIsNigh

    TheEndIsNigh ...Prepare Thyself

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    Teresa: a convert.

    Your membership form to the:-
    Worshipful Society of Doom and Gloom Merchants
    is in the post.
     
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