4YE Con Review: Awesome-Con 2016

Credit: Stephanie Coats/4YE

4 Your Excitement took on Washington, D.C.’s – Awesome-Con this past weekend and what a whirlwind of a weekend it was.

Awesome-Con is in its fourth year of existence run by Ben Penrod and his crew. The Con has experienced some massive growth over the past few years, so it’s lucky it has found its home in the ginormous Washington Convention Center. Although the Con has had its ups and down, this year it had some of the biggest and best guest in history.  So let’s break down this year’s event!

Venue: This review may be a bit biased because I love the Washington Convention Center. I pass it every single day, so as a Washingtonian I think this place is the best. However, although the place was easily big enough to host the Con, some of the set-up was questionable. For example, the line to get into the main Hall D for the larger than life guests required not following the signs to Hall D, but going to Hall E in the opposite direction. For those of us not lucky enough to know that information aka. most of the guest you ended up walking around the entire Convention Center twice – only to go back to where you likely started (at Hall E – where badge pick-up was also located). However, once you got the swing of the venue, most of the smaller panels were easy to locate, considering they were all in a little block of rooms downstairs. It was super convenient! Oh, but I wouldn’t recommend the Convention Center food to anyone, just go outside to Chinatown and pick up some real food – seriously! Rating: A- 

Guest: A lot of the guest we saw at this year’s Awesome-Con are ones that regularly experience the Con circuit. We had Karl Urban, Charles Martinet (MARIO), Jeremy London, John Barrowman, Michael Rooker, and so much more. However, the Con managed to snag some  bigger names as well like, Matthew Lewis, Jenna Coleman, Peter Capaldi, Brett Dalton, and Elizabeth Henstridge. Now was the Con totally prepared for the some of the big names they gathered? Well, check out the whispers section below. But, overall I’d say it was a pretty solid line-up of people. To be fair, I am more of a tv junky than a comic junky – so I’m sure some of the names I’m not familiar with really stood out to the fans.  Overall, the Con is no NYCC or SDCC. Could it get there in time? Yeah – defiantly, but it might lose some of it’s grounded comic-book focus if it chooses to do so. Depending on the direction this Con decides to go, let’s give the guest list a Rating of B

Panels: I have very little to say about the panels. They were great. The guest were great. They started on time. The tech worked. The guests seemed happy. The questions the fans asked were not only good questions, but appropriate and not awkward to the point they would make a fan (such as myself) cringe – quick shout out to the fans! Awesome-Con managed to find some amazing moderators who had great dynamics with the guests too. However, the one downside was the volunteers didn’t always count seats that were far away from the stage as available – so some rooms were presented as full, when there were plenty of seats. This problem was quickly remedied and I believe most fans got into the panels they wanted because they didn’t care where they sat. So, overall Rating A- 

Exhibitor Floor: Again, my fan girl tendencies tend to stick around the tv arena, but the Exhibitor floor was well organized and had plenty of exhibits to see. Since Awesome-Con is on a smaller scale than NYCC and SDCC, everything was just miniaturized. I could not for the life of me find the Cosplay block that was listed on their map, but from photographs, to autograph signings, to the artist ally – everything was pretty easy to find. I believe as Awesome-Con grows it will be able to attract more exhibitors and become even more massive. It might even have to move where the photo ops and autograph signings are eventually. However, I think that is still a few years off. Rating: B+

Whispers: Well, here is the gossipy, not proven, not representative of 4YE’s view of the Con (and anyone who has been on the Internet knows what this section is about). The disaster that was Peter Capaldi and Jenna Coleman’s panel, autograph signings, and picture ops. According to attendees and the Internet some VIP ticket holders, which cost around $300 + did not get front row seats to the panel. To make matters worse the panel started over two hours later than schedule. Oh, and many fans were complaining about how the stars were run ragged and looked exhausted in their fan pictures. The picture experience can only be equated to a cattle call, everyone getting about 2-3 seconds to pose and move on. No handshakes. No touching. No hugging. No probs. Some people had brought an entire garage band set and were forced to leave it out of the area. The Con continued to oversell their tickets until noon (the photo ops were at 1). So, not only did Awesome-Con oversell their Dr. Who related tickets, but they continued to sell right up until the photo ops started – not smart.  Here is a message from the founder of Awesome-Con himself:

Overall, Awesome-Con was an amazing experience and we hope to get the chance to conduct press for it again next year. However, the Dr. Who experience was a bit of a disaster. Had everything run as planned the overall Con Rating would be a A-/B+ but due to the whole Dr. Who experience gotta bump it down to a B/B- 

Awesome-Con is an amazing Con with amazing potential. It’s still a baby compared to SDCC and NYCC. I can’t wait to see how it grows next year!

Credit: Stephanie Coats/4YE
Credit: Stephanie Coats/4YE
Ilene Friedman
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