After a terrible experience with the 2012 Melbourne event and stories I had heard from friends about Oz Comic Con in other states recently, I was hesitant to ever attend another one. I was expecting crushing crowds in an over packed venue, ridiculous queues with hours of waiting time and people lined up out into the main floor preventing movement, Q&A panels starting late and guests not getting their fully allotted time.
What I got, I am pleased to say, was quite the opposite, even though I thought the day was going to be as terrible as it started…
First there was a mix up at the bus station due to there being no definite signage as to where the free shuttle to the event was – they said Bay 13 on the website but as I don’t live in Sydney, I had no clue where it was. Then when I arrived, there was a very annoying mix up when a volunteer scanned my ticket multiple times while another volunteer was rudely ushering me down the line. I got told I was already checked in (that will happen if you scan the ticket more than once) and they couldn’t give me a pass. But after that was sorted the rest of the day went fairly smoothly.
One thing that I noticed straight away was what a great layout the con had. The stages were away from each other, so the noise from each Q&A didn’t filter in, making it hard to hear (something that happened in Melb 2012). Although sitting at the back of stage 1 where I was, meant you had to suffer the noise of a TARDIS from a vendor and not hear the guests. Speaking of panels, while they didn’t run overtime (miracle!) I found it annoying the crowds weren’t being moved out at the end of each one. I like this method and feel its a good one to stick with. Yes, it takes time for everyone to move out and others get seated, but at least you get a fair chance to have a good seat. And it’s more fair than letting someone park their butt up the front all day when they’re really only there to maybe see one panel. Perhaps it was because there was no area to line up for panels, so maybe something for them to think about bringing back in the future.
Another thing I appreciated were the autograph tables being well away from the main floor. They appeared to have lots of space to line up and not filter back into the crowds blocking access. I didn’t get any photos or autographs this time, but a friend waited in the token line for about an hour, which is about the standard on a general admission ticket, and certainly not the length we waited at Supanova back in June (three hours even with a priority pass).
The con didn’t seem too over crowded at any stage on Saturday, which I’m not sure was due to a lack of attendees or there really was that much space to spread out. Perhaps it was the caliber of guests this time. While its always great to see Stargate guests and William Shatner, they have all been here multiple times recently.
Overall it was actually a pleasant experience and makes me less cautious about attending future events, so well done Oz Comic Con, you’ve surprised me.
Now on to the goodies!