This year, ConFusion had a new convention area. But let’s get one thing straight: the convention area was a catastrophe. It was one big expo hall, that’s it. A few walls had been put up to create rooms for lectures, movies, and activity. But between these rooms there were only fabric curtains, so you could hear everything going on in the other rooms. The sound level was overall very high, and it quickly became painful to stay in the hall. There was no calm place where you could relax. The layout in itself was difficult to understand; the main way in-and-out was a small aisle between the stage technician booth, and the stores. It became a bottleneck and was always too crowded. The stage was not separated from the rest of the convention, so you could hear the stage from every part of the hall, and you could not dim down the lights for the stage, something that is important for skits and other stage shows.
The problem with the old location was that it was too crowded. The solution is not to get an expo hall. A better solution would have been to keep the old location, just sell fewer tickets.
I’m skeptical if they even looked at the place before deciding to be at Svenska Mässan. I have a feeling they just thought "Cool! We can get Svenska Mässan. It must be good". Speaking of Svenska Mässan, shouldn’t they be used to handling a large amount of people entering at the same time? Then why did it take 2-3 hours to get in the first day?
Speaking of queues. It was a queue to get into the sleeping halls! How did that happen? And it moved really slowly. Kim Synnerborn found out what was going on. Apparently everyone had to be put onto lists, and this was handled in a very inefficient way. So Kim made some changes and now the queue moved more than twice as fast. Because of this Kim received a scolding from the sleeping hall organizer. Wait what!? The lists contained information about whom and how many that slept in each room. So according to our list, there should be 15 people in our room. If they necessarily had to know who/how many slept in what room, then there should have been an option to select a room already when buying the sleeping hall ticket.
We get to our room and see the world’s smallest classroom. No way will that 15 people fit in this room. Maybe 10 at most, but not 15. I sneaked around a bit and saw that other much larger rooms had about the same number of people, but more than double the space. How the hell did they think here? We tried to fit everyone, but it kept coming in people that apparently should sleep in our room. We realized that there was no chance in hell that everyone would fit. One person even chose to ignore the staff and just move into one of the larger rooms. It ended with the sleeping hall organizer laying puzzle with our mattresses and managed to squeeze everyone into the room by totally ignoring the fire safety markings. And even then we would not have had enough space for the person that had already left.
This was the first time since NärCon Winter that I cosplayed at a convention, and I had almost forgot how fun it is. I had redone almost everything of my Sailor Jupiter cosplay and I wore her for a few hours during Saturday. There were some nice photoshoot locations in the form of walk-bridges. I also walked back and forth through the expo hall, and got quite a few photo requests from random people, which is always fun. But after 1,5h both my feet and I grew tired of the concrete floor.
My original plan was to compete in the cosplay competition, but when they changed the rules so that you had to do a performance, I sold my cosplay ticket. Then they changed again so that a performance was optional, but by then I had sold my ticket and lost the pepp for competing.
The cosplay competition itself was a bit silly and sloppy, but the cosplayers were incredibly good and full of energy. I don’t think I’ve seen such a high average quality in a regular competition before. I could not from my place in the audience decide on a favorite for walk-on. My favorite skits where Rasputin from Anastasia (solo), and Stormwind Champions (duo).
I found it interesting that T-Rex Gymnastics had their own scheduled time for a longer skit. The skit itself was good; a bit slow in the start, but got really good towards the end. It contained everything you can expect from T-Rex; insults, song, and physical humor (in this case fun special effects during a fight)
If I have to say something positive about ConFusion then I would without a doubt say the panels. I have never been at so many panels at a single convention before, and the panels were really good. The talk show with Peter Harrysson was really fun. "International Relations in Naruto and SnK" had a discussion format that I want to see more of at conventions in Sweden, though I missed the first half of the panel because it took such a damn long time to get into the convention. The Sailor Moon panel was filled with nostalgia. The makeup workshop had a cool way of showing the makeup on the big screen. The CMV-panel was both educational and fun (mostly because VändettA are like they are). Pimp my wig was a workshop I wanted to go to because I like that they had a practical workshop after the theoretical lecture, but I was busy cosplaying Sailor Jupiter at the time.
Reading this just before posting I realized that, except for panels and the cosplay show, there where nothing to do at the convention at all, and you had seen everything in 10 minutes. ConFusion 2014 didn’t feel like a convention, it felt like someone had pieced together traditional convention elements into a very bad location and desperately tried to make it work like some kind of convention-Frankenstein.
ConFusion 2014 lacked a soul, and only my friends (and the fact that I already had bought a train ticked for Sunday) kept me from leaving early.
"ConFusion lives up to its name"
The only thing saving ConFusion 2014 from a flat 0 is the panels.
After a night sleep home in my own bed, I feel that I have some more things to say about ConFusion 2014.
- There were no food at the convention; the cafeteria didn’t even have 50cl bottles that I could fill with water.
- The sleeping halls opened at 21 the first day. I understand that this was because it was a normal school day, so they didn’t have access to the building until then. But if you don’t have access to the sleeping hall, then at least provide a place where you can change into cosplay. There were only a few small toilets, and a hallway for cosplayers to use. I even saw people changing into cosplay at Burger King.
- The cosplay show had really good intermission acts. The pirates skit succeeded in bringing up the pepp, despite not being able to turn down the lights at the stage. The Disney Christmas skit felt warm and fun, and Figgarow’s singing was really good.
- I understand that almost everything at the con was organized in less than two months. It should not be like that, but the staff did the best they could with the shitty situation they had.
- There was always a queue to the wardrobe (at least when I needed it). I mostly just ignored it and just placed my bags in some corner. The last morning the queue was so long it reached halfway through the hall. But they must have done something right this time because it moved really fast, and when I walk out from leaving my bags the queue was gone. Well done wardrobe team!
- The convention opened at 11:00 during Saturday and Sunday. What should a morning person like I do for 4-5 hours every morning? Something I really can’t understand is why the sleeping halls closed at 11:45 on the Sunday and we had to bring all our bags with us to the convention area (resulting in the super long queue to the wardrobe). Wouldn’t it be better to have a second wardrobe at the sleeping halls that would be open until 1h after the convention closed? This way the sleeping hall staff has time to clean the sleeping rooms, there will be no queue or bags in the corners at the convention, and everyone will be happy.