CONVENTION REVIEW: Nerd Fest Comic Con

nerdfestlogoSo the newest con on the block Nerd fest Comic Con took place in Nottingham on Saturday 5th October among those attending was artist Heather L Sheppard who was kind enough send in a writer up of the event. Here’s what she had to say.

NerdFest! Finally! A comic convention in Nottingham – an undeniable hub of comics and geekery, and hometown of my long-suffering partner! There was no way I was going to miss an opportunity to support a comic con like this!

I first heard of NerdFest through Twitter back in March, when I think Kev Brett was just gauging interest from comic creators and comic fans. There must have been a lot of positive response, as shortly after, exhibitor tables started to become available. I still hadn’t attended my first comic con as an exhibitor by then, but I was fairly confident that even if Bristol (My first con) was a huge, unmitigated disaster (it wasn’t), I could at least handle a 1 day con, so I booked a table.

I was very glad I did!

After a particularly lost and confused drive to Nottingham the night before (every road we tried was blocked by miles of roadworks) we bundled onto a bus from my partner’s parent’s house on Saturday morning, with bags filled with goodies to sell. When we got to the comic con, there were tables everywhere, with many exhibitors unpacking their wares, and people in yellow T-shirts running around – this was a good sign! We saw some familiar faces, quickly said hello to them before hurriedly unpacking and setting up the table, and informing people where the nearest bacon sandwich could be found. Before the doors opened, there were rumours floating around that there were over 400 people queuing up outside – I never got to see the queue myself, so I wasn’t sure how true the rumours were until after the convention, when the organisers posted this photo;

nerdfest2013

Soon, the ballroom saw the first trickle of people enter, which grew steadily throughout the day – there must have been an awful lot of people walking through those doors that day.

Sadly, I didn’t get to walk around the convention so much myself, as I was busy with sketch commissions and selling. My partner on the other hand, disappeared for most of the day, so I can only assume he either had a brilliant time, or discovered a doorway to Narnia (But he didn’t mention anything about Mr.Tumnus, so I’m assuming he didn’t) So for the most part, I can’t comment on the activities for the day – But there was one thing I particularly enjoyed and I hope more cons pick up on;

THE BANDS.

Local bands playing at their local comic con is a FANTASTIC idea! It’s great promotion for the bands, and, it makes a fantastic change from the chatter that permeates the exhibitor room. Yes – it can make it more difficult to hear your potential customers, and new friends, I won’t argue there, and it’s a thing of personal choice and taste, but I found it made me more relaxed and I wasn’t so nervous about drawing in public. It also helped the (few) quiet times go by pretty quickly. The bands playing that day were Kerosene Queen, who opened with a really great acoustic set, then came Three Thirds Below, who also closed the day, and Blind Thieves – all three of them, I’d recommend following up – one thing I know about Nottingham, is that they cultivate great local bands.

Kerosene Queen

Three Thirds Below 

Blind Thieves 

The cosplayers! Oh there were so many! And such brilliant costumes – There was one old-style Cylon who you could hear at every point in the room along with 6 and Gaius, UK Garrison made an appearance with some very authentic Star Wars costumes (and a lot of happy/terrified children) Stargate Cosplayers which made me very happy, A lot of anime and comics cosplayers – and many young children turning up in costumes of their favourite super heroes, which was especially lovely to see.

I did talk to a lot of people attending the con that day, and one thing that I kept hearing was how much fun everyone was having there, and what a great con it was – there are so many people hoping for a con next year, and an awful lot of people who would love to see it extended to 2 full days. Nottingham is a hub for both Comics and Games geekery, and we really need to support festivals like Nerd Fest. It has some of the best Comic shops I’ve been to, there’s games developers both of the traditional kind and Computer kind, there’s University courses in games (we were talking to a lot of students while we were there, and passing on our Games Industry experience – my partner even offered to do some portfolio reviews for some students) and then there’s Game City, which a lot of our indie game dev friends frequent – so why on earth has it taken so long to get a comic convention there!? I’d love for Nerd Fest to one day become as big as Game City has become.

Kev, if you’re reading this, I hope you, Piddley Pix and Geeky Comics do this again next year – it was great fun, in a great city, with great people – You should be proud of yourselves 🙂

Oh! And I got my traditional con-hug from Gary Erskine, so I’m happy 🙂

Reporter: Heather L Sheppard

 

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