phoenix fan fest

This was the third year for the Phoenix Fan Fest show put on
by the same people that do the Phoenix Comicon near the beginning of summer.
Phoenix Fan Fest was previously held at the University of Phoenix stadium (also
home of the NFL team Arizona Cardinals) in Glendale Arizona. This was the first year it was held in downtown Phoenix AZ, followed by numerous other changes for the show. Some
for better, and some I say the show can probably do without for the years
ahead.

Here are some things that were changed and some thoughts.


Month:  I know some things change for the better but I
had mixed feelings about this one, the past 2 years the show was held on a
weekend in December, as this year it was in October. The general consensus was
December seemed to be a little better for the event. Yes it was close to
Christmas and the new years, but it also made people buy more, and knew what
they had left as in money wise from the shopping they may have already
finished. The show was almost a last chance to pickup geek-ified fun unique
pieces for friends and family. I loved seeing all the tables decked out with
Christmas decorations and the atmosphere was different as well.

Duration:
Previous years the show was two and a half days, with a said preview night on a
Friday and the show going through till Sunday. This year the show was only two
days Saturday and Sunday, I think it was for the better, as the show being
smaller than its summer counterpart that is four days. If you wanted to see all there was to see, you can get it all done on the preview night, and didn’t need to return if you didn’t want to. Making the move
to drop a preview night was beneficial as it was not needed for this type of
show.
Location:  I asked a few people if they think the move to a different location was a good idea, the consensus was split. Some say having it in Glendale AZ brought
out a different audience, people that would not usually travel out to Phoenix. Being in Phoenix AZ,
they just got done having a show two weeks prior that was hosted at the
convention center as well. The best thing I liked about the Football stadium
was FREE parking and not having to worry about downtown parking,  the money for parking could have went to the
exhibitor floor. There could be numerous reasons as to why the show may have
been moved, space, cost, easy access so many factors but looks like it will be
held there again in the future.
Preferred (Paid)
Seating:
This was the first year Phoenix has offered preferred seating, you
pay x amount of dollars to make sure to get a good seat at the panel offered,
and not have to stand in line. I had mixed feeling about and still leaning to the side of not liking it. This is not a show in
particular that is known for “pay for your seat” like other conventions out
there, one of the aspects of a comicon is waiting in line. The time you
dedicate or give yourself to stand in line is rewarded when you find the
perfect seat in the panel. This I feel was an unattractive way to get money,
not every fan can afford it or wants to spend even more for a guest. This is on
top of the money that was already being dished out, whether for a photo op,
autograph or both, along with the exhibitor floor purchases. Another downside
to this is creating a two tiered fandom, which doesn’t sound fun at all, and
the opportunity to enjoy is not as equal when it comes to paid seating.
The Vibe: The show did not really have a vibe let alone a good one. How is that possible? Whatever it was giving off was not the best and has seen better. Speaking
to some of the exhibitors the down side was no one was really buying, as this is
always a hit or miss for every show. I believe it was to the fact that being
Halloween, and being a popular month for everyone to buy cosplay items or fun
merchandise for the year while things are not overpriced. The Phoenix Convention Center also held a previous event exclusive to Halloween merchandise known as  Keen Halloween. This could have been a factor with the low sales, as there was not enough recovery time, that would have allowed people to happily spend more. 
Exhibitors: I
loved everyone I talked to at the show and came across, not only chatting about
the show but connecting.  However while I
was looking at the exhibitor list before the show I noticed more than half of
them were at Phoenix Comicon in June 2016 and the past two Fan Fests held. I do
commend Phoenix Comicon for taking care of their loyal vendors, but at the same
time wish they would use this small show as window for different exhibitors to
get in. Ones that have never been and/or are wait listed for the bigger show,
maybe offering them a chance to attend. Not only would they be new, their fan
base would be new to the scene as well. Although I did see
different faces there from the last two Fan Fests I think there could have been
more.
phoenix fan fest
Top: Former logo   Bottom: New logo

Overall:  I still had a great time! I know the Phoenix
Fan Fest means well, and they are still trying to find their footing in the
comic con scene. They had a diverse guest list which included wrestlers, I
don’t understand how they got into the convention circuit, but I am glad they are there and receiving a warm welcome. The branding was different, formerly known as Phoenix Comicon Fan Fest, this year brought about a name change and logo change for the better. Like every show there is room for
improvement, this show has a much work they can and need to do before it evolves into what it
can be. I know for the most part I will be attending Fan Fest in the future.

Did you attend Phoenix Fan Fest? What were some of your thoughts? 

Until next time, Watchtower over & out.