Monday, August 30, 2010

Thumbs down on the Fan Expo 2010

First off, I’d like to commend Fan Expo 2010 on their guest line up (including William Shatner, David Cronenburg, and Stan Lee) and their exhibitors (DC Comics, Marvel Comics, Disney, and Electric Playground). Their efforts here have put this convention into the top 10 in North America.

However, logistically, they still have a hell of a lot to learn. I was fortunate to have an exhibitor friend at the show who gave me a pass in exchange for working the booth. I didn’t have to endure the horrors I witnessed and have been reading about all weekend on the Toronto Fan Expo facebook page.

From the attendees point of view and mine, the Fan Expo was a terrible disappointment this year. Deluxe ticket holders were left to line up for hours just to get in, re-admission required 2 hours, volunteers/handlers were clueless and yelled at attendees, the show was oversold on Saturday, and tickets were being sold on Saturday despite the fact that they were oversold and that they weren’t actually letting people into the show.

Despite all of the crap and the hot, muggy weather, the attendees deserve some credit as there was no violence. I also felt bad for the exhibitors, as they were screwed with thousands of customers stuck outside and the narrow hallways allow virtually no traffic through.

Fan Expo really needs to expand their venue, perhaps even split up the show across the North and South buildings of the Convention Center (or maybe split the show up by attraction, say having the SCI-FI and ANIME show on another weekend), and really do some research and hire some intelligent and veteran staff who know how to control traffic flow and handle large crowds. They also need to treat attendees as paying customers instead of cattle ripe for herding and the electric prod. 

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