Catch up.. Wake Up with Dan at MegaconLive Manchester 2023 plus review by Kevin Bennett

 

We arrived at the somewhat historic Manchester Central Exhibition centre around 9am on the first day of this years MegaconLive, brimming with excitement and anticipation of a great event.  As you walked through the streets of Manchester city centre, you could see the steady stream of cosplayers headed toward the venue, which added to the excitement and on entering the exhibition centre we were greeted by the venue staff who quickly showed us where to collect our passes and this was done in a timely, efficient manner, great start! On entering the main hall, there was a really cool exhibition of steampunk inspired gadgetry and props which was pretty awesome, usually at most events you have a huge prop or an event sign of some description for event goers to get photographs with, for social media and marketing purposes.  However, I always feel this can cause a bottle neck to form as people try to get photos and a queue builds and tempers flare so it was good to see that MegaconLive’s organisers had identified this possible issue and acted accordingly and I felt it went a long way to ensure the calm and positive atmosphere I felt from the beginning of the show till doors closed at 5PM on the Sunday evening!  Huge thumbs up thus far!

 

Now lets talk about the layout, I’m a veteran when it comes to attending these comic con styled events… My first being the inaugural Manchester MCM event in 2011! I often find that these events have a tendency to cram as many stalls as possible into the space available and you often find a lot of the vendors at these events are very similar, often having 3 or 4 stalls next to each other, all selling POP Vinyl figures… However, this wasn’t the case at this years MegaconLive Manchester, a lot of the vendors were independent small businesses, selling handmade products which delighted the attendees, many people I spoke to loved the unique items they were able to acquire during the event and many business cards were handed out as well which must be a welcome boost to these retailers also, again huge thumbs up!  Another big thumbs up was the way the stalls were spaced out… It didn’t feel cramped and was easy to navigate the aisleways between stalls and vendors with relative ease, which for me being on a walking stick and not being the most mobile individual was a huge plus for me!  I spoke with a few vendors who explained that the organisers were charging incredibly reasonable prices for space and the quality of space was incredible value for money, which again is great to hear as this will encourage those independent retailers to attend these events because they aren’t being “ripped off”. There was something for everyone, and something I thought was brilliant was the “Kidtropolis”, an area of the event especially for those with young children where they could play and enjoy themselves, I know many with young children who’ve only been able to attend events for an hour or 2 at tops because their younglings have become bored and started to act up so this was a really cool addition which other events would do well to take note of!

 

There were also many areas with different background sets etc for taking photographs with many scenes from movies and TV shows which cosplayers delighted in grabbing content for their various social platforms!  The standard of the cosplay at the event was amazing too, but something which struck me was there was such a relaxed atmosphere amongst the cosplayers we spoke to, and I personally believe this was due to their not being an air of competitiveness around the event, a lot of events nowadays seem to put a lot of emphasis on competitions and such but this didn’t seem to be the case at MegaconLive which was really refreshing!

 

The guests were brilliant, all seemed to be having a great time, we spoke with several and the overall consensus was that the event was run really well and everyone was so relaxed and enjoying the event! The Red Dwarf crew were swamped for the majority of the weekend, Craig Charles arrival for the Sunday lead to an influx of queuing however the event and venue staff did a really good job of organising things and although people had to queue for a while, they seemed pretty happy with their interactions and the opportunity to meet the crew of the iconic British comedy classic on the 35th Anniversary of the show!

 

To summarise, the event was really well received by those in attendance, I look forward to attending next years event and look forward to seeing what improvements and additions MegaconLive make to the event!  Please check out the pictures we took during the weekend!


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