Big Conventions vs Small Conventions

Last weekend I was at MCM London Comic Con, which was held in the Excel building. I’d been there before for a Star Trek Destination London con, but this time more people attended and more of the rooms were open. MCM was probably the biggest con (in terms of physical size) I’ve attended so far, and it got me thinking about big cons versus the smaller ones. So here are my thoughts… Enjoy!

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  • Small cons don’t attract well-known celebrities, but at big cons you can’t find the celebrities

I don’t know if it was just me being unobservant, but at MCM I didn’t see any signs or anything to show where the celebrities were being kept hidden. So many people and so much space to navigate meant that even if I knew I had to get to Autograph Room A, my lack of ever having been in Brownies or entry-level orienteering left me unable to find Autograph Room A.

It’s kind of a lie about small cons not attracting big names, by the way. My hometown con, held in the local leisure centre once boasted Chris Barrie and Danny John Jules from Red Dwarf. That was something of an exception, though.

Part of the steampunk section display

Part of the steampunk section display

  • Big cons have more stalls, but you can get more merch-buying done at small cons

MCM had at least two rooms selling merch that I could find, one of the rooms being bigger than my aforementioned hometown. The size of it meant that I couldn’t adopt my usual system of walking around the stalls, so I ended up wandering aimlessly. I saw some awesome merch, but most of the time I was too tightly packed in by the crowd to get in for a close look. At one point, it was just a solid non-moving human crush. At least it saved me a lot of money!

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  • You don’t necessarily have to buy a ticket to enjoy big cons, but small cons don’t cost that much to get into anyway

So much goes on outside at MCM that some people don’t bother to buy a ticket to get in. Fandom meet-ups, photo shoots, dancing and chase scenes took place outside. I probably spent more time out there than in. It was a really good opportunity to people watch and drool over all the amazing cosplays. I also felt that the atmosphere was friendlier and more party-like outside. Although you can get that atmosphere inside at smaller cons. Less chance of getting rained on, too. A storm was predicted for the day I was there, which would have looked great for the Supernatural meet-up photos, but we got no rain in the end.

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  • Cosplay!

Recently, cosplayers have become the highlight of my con experiences. They can be found at cons both big and small, although at small cons there’s usually less of them and the costumes aren’t as spectacular as some of the ones you see at big cons. MCM seemed to be almost all cosplayers, which was amazing to walk around.

The verdict: Can I wimp out of making any kind of decision and say that I prefer medium-sized cons? No? Then I’d choose the bigger ones. Although both have their good and bad points, there’s more going on and more to see and do at the big cons.

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2 responses to “Big Conventions vs Small Conventions

  • kageshoujo

    MCM looked grand! I hope you had a good time. I had a friend who dropped by too and she seems to have enjoyed it. I really agree about shopping for items in smaller cons. I usually get more shopping done there due to same reasons you said. Also one nice thing to note in smaller cons is that it seems easier to talk with fellow cosplayers, because you’re rather few. ^^

  • Harlequin Tea Set

    I went to the MCM Comic Con too, and the atmosphere was pretty great, which I imagine is better than a small comic con! Would love to go to the San Diego one though, one day perhaps!

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