Hot-diggity. Salt Lake! Who knew the number of geeks living in Utah? Earlier this month, Dan Farr Productions helped put on one of the most surprising turnouts of the year.
Over 50,000 tickets sold and numbers that hit 70,000 to 80,000 patrons is what the first Salt Lake Comic Convention pulled in. Ridiculous right? And now, there’s talks about another comic related event from Dan Farr Productions just before Sundance hits? Too much?
So, why was the comic convention first slated for the Sandy Expo Center, a much smaller venue that wasn’t even in Salt Lake City? Well, popular demand moved it to the much larger Salt Palace Convention Center in downtown SLC soon enough. And honestly? Saturday was a nightmare.
Okay, okay, so I heard that the crowds on Thursday and Friday weren’t as bad. The organization of the event when I attended on Saturday though? Utter crap. If you were lucky to get in without a wait with your ticket, you would soon walk into a dead mass of anxious fans.
Yes, yes, the people watching and costumes were great.
However, lines were cornering around the Salt Palace – outside! For those who had their tickets! Now, come on…. you obviously moved the venue to a larger space knowing how many people were wanting to attend, right? And come on… you sold tickets…. hello! That is your attendance right there. If you are over capacity, STOP SELLING TICKETS!
Star Wars At-At Walker!
Now, about 20,000-30,000 people attend Outdoor Retailer (the largest show of its kind) at the Salt Palace. This is one of the largest conventions in Salt Lake. They even utilize the entire grounds of the Salt Palace! SL Comic Con only utilized the main section and upstairs ballrooms. There was still another huge building to utilize! Okay, they probably didn’t have enough vendors for that… but spread ’em out!
Manu Bennett showing a fan how to hakka. *giggle* He is sooo sweet and such a nice genuine guy, by the way. Um, from what I saw at his panel, of course.
No doubt, there was a killer line-up of celebrities – William Shatner, Claire Coffee, Ray Park, Brian Krause, Lou Ferrigno, Adam West, and even Stan “The Man” Lee himself. I heard that Stan Lee actually dropped from another convention to attend Salt Lake… pretty cool.
But the entire place felt like a market… buy an autograph with this celebrity, buy the artwork of this local artist, buy some food that we cleverly named, and so forth. Is this what all comic conventions are like? So spend $30 or so bucks to get into this overcrowded venue and try to worm your way around to buy something else?
A mass of Deadpools! And a child in the middle with a sword…
I attended a few panels after walking the floor… not that many, but enough to get an idea, I felt. Some panelists never showed, some moderators never showed, some panelists that probably didn’t even have to do with the topic of the panel? Err… The larger panels were better – celebrities that are in this business already know what they are doing and have a sense of what to do. However, I heard that the Stan Lee panel… he was scheduled for about 45 minutes and went on for about 10? A damn good 10 minutes or so, I’ll give you that… (at least that’s what I heard).
Spider-girls? I don’t get it. Someone explain to me, please!
Hopefully as the event becomes an annual thing, the producers and organizers of this event will work out the kinks in the logistics. It should only get better from here, right?