If you’re interested in participating in the Geek Out Challenge, read this post here! Each day I will be posting a question for that day for the next 30 days. Follow along each day with your own post or feel free to wait until the entire challenge has been released and take it on when you like! Be sure to link back to the master post at the end or link back to each post for each day.
Day Four: What was your worst convention experience?
For the purposes of disclosure this will be one of the more personal and subjective blogs I’ve written in this challenge so far, so with respect and for your consideration, the witty anecdotes and memories are elsewhere. I’ve long held an issue and intolerance for large crowds and confined spaces, I can operate in a tight area and not panic however to be clear, I am a large tall individual at 6’4, when you feel constrained to move and walk freely it can be daunting. My first job when I was a teenager involved working at a stadium and arena selling merchandise for concerts and sporting events, an enjoyable part of my life but certainly thrusting me into a situation where you could be surrounded by thousands of people during a show and having to tolerate and abide the circumstance. Ever since, thankfully my work has allowed me to avoid these situation where possible, one of the reasons I was loathe to attend a convention of any variety was the anticipated audiences and crowds that would be there. To add to this, a slight condition of IBS which makes eating food tricky. So, to paint you a picture, intolerance to people and restricted on food intake, not a great foundation to spend a day in a new location surrounded by people relying on unknown food to get through the day. One of the key lessons I’ve learnt since this experience, preparation is everything and will make for a more enjoyable and relaxed experience, for my first I was not so lucky.
I deliberately picked the ‘quieter’ of the days of my first convention, it was a real attempt to push myself out of my comfort zone and enjoy an experience I had been putting off. Having worked at events previously I am aware of the necessity and need for some form of queue control management, getting the train into the Excel centre was restricted to say the least with fan in bulky costume taking up space. I loathe the tube during rush hour in London, this was a strange experience where we were there by choice, being uncomfortable and cramped by choice. Thankfully, the queues moved swiftly but stepping inside the Excel centre you are overwhelmed momentarily by the size and sheer volume of people in attendance. Earlier on the in day for those with the early attendance straps you could move somewhat freely down the central concourse and in the two main event halls without bumping into people. Unfortunately as the day progressed and more people arrived it just became uncomfortably full and tight to move around, trying to find somewhere to grab something to eat was a challenge with no real room to move in the middle and no clear indication of where to wait if you did find something you wanted to eat. I will say for the purpose of being fair, the Excel on the day had opened or had open one of their other hall’s which was not being used but empty so if you wanted somewhere to sit and escape from the large crowds you did have this opportunity. It was a God send, never had I been so glad to sit down on a cold marbled floor and just enjoy not being crushed and squished.
I had wanted to attend a number of panels and discussion which seem like the foundations of a convention but honestly, the large crowds and uncertainty had left me tired. In the end, I managed to work up the energy to visit one of the smaller stages where Troy Baker and Nolan North were discussing and sharing anecdotes from their perspectives as voice over artists. This again could have attracted a larger audience and there were a great many people standing at the back, myself included jostling to be able to hear and see these two artists. Certainly my preparations for LFCC kicked in after this and that was a more pleasant experience, crowds wise, with being more organised. Having read a few of the other answers and pieces to this, including the original answer from Megan I am fortunate to be able to have attended at a stage and point in my life where events and conventions such as these are by choice and relatively stress free. Perhaps the anxiety and stress from crowds will diminish, for now, it’s an aspect of the convention I will tolerate but one I really don’t like and do wish in an entirely selfish and impossible way they were restricted to how many they could let in, and I would be one of the fortunate ones to be selected.
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