So I’ve not exactly had a splendid time at conventions recently. This year’s NärCon Vinter was a disaster, last year’s Comic Con Stockholm was a major disappointment and last summer’s NärCon is now infamous among Swedish convention goers. But one convention that I didn’t speak much about last year was Fairycon, a small convention in Kalmar which was also a big disappointment to me, to the point where I had to see some improvement as soon as possible if I were to attend it in the future.
Well, this month kicked off with Fairycon 2016, the seventh Fairycon and easily the best that I’ve been to myself. Everything at the convention, from activities to events to the staff was a clear statement that they had heard the critique and wished to improve themselves.
That’s not to say the convention was a great experience. It was fun, it was good, but there’s room for improvement. A lot of it.
Most obvious would be the locale itself. Fairycon is held at Jenny Nyströmsskolan, a fairly large high school in Kalmar which just doesn’t lend itself well to a small convention like Fairycon. When you enter the convention floor you have quick access to the stage, the café and the artist alley, which is great. But anything else, be it activities or shops, is placed in rooms far away on the second floor, divided into two hallways that are also separate.
This means that you’re constantly walking back and forth between hallways where there’s nothing to do or look at to get to where you want to be, and that’s assuming you’re finding your way around. There’s a great lack of directions and useful maps when you enter the convention, and even the maps that are put up has a lack of info on them when it comes to what each room hold.
With that said, the list of activities was a major improvement on previous years. There were more contests, more panels, more presentation and then there was the return of something I was very happy to see, a speedrunning exhibition on the grand stage. Unfortunately the speedrunning bit was poorly placed, happening in the middle of the first day after the opening ceremony, when me and most others were still taking the convention in and weren’t really looking for things to sit down and watch.
Like I said earlier, Fairycon is a small convention, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Not every convention should be a contended for the largest and there’s a certain cozy feeling that comes from a smaller and cheaper convention. While I hope it grows somewhat larger in the coming years, I don’t mind it being this cozier kind of experience in the end.
And fuck, it feels really nice to leave a convention with a happy face again.
As a final full disclosure I’ll mention that I know people who work at Fairycon and I was asked to sum up my thoughts in a blogpost by one of them. To me that shows more a wish to improve itself that’s larger than most other conventions.