Indy PopCon Prepares for Large Crowds

indy-popcon-logoThis past weekend was the first Indiana ComicCon, and if social media is any indication, there were several unhappy con attendees. Most of the complaints centered around overcrowding, long lines, and a lack of volunteers. While Pure Geekery didn’t attend ComicCon (you can read all about our guest blogger’s experience though), we can sympathize with the complaints. It sounds similar to the issues we had with Fandom Fest last year.

Indiana ComicCon is not the only convention this spring though. May 30th – June 1st will mark the first ever Indy PopCon, a pop culture convention completely unrelated to Indiana ComicCon. I spoke to Shawn Smith of Indy PopCon about what sets PopCon apart from events like Indiana ComicCon, and how they’re preparing to avoid the issues ComicCon ran into.

What Sets Indy PopCon Apart

When I asked Smith what set Indy PopCon apart from Indiana ComicCon he said, “We’re local!  It seems like a silly thing to keep harping on, but we’re all Hoosiers who know and love the city, with many of us being born and raised right here.” He went on to add, “I think it’s important to note that nearly every dollar spent at Indy PopCon will stay in Indiana.  We’re from here, we primarily use vendors from here, and we’re going to create jobs here. They came to the city, put on a show, made money, and went back home.  We’re already home!”

Different Content

One thing that is important to remember about Indiana ComicCon, is that it was truly a comic book convention. “If you went to Indiana Comic Con as a comic lover, collector, and trader, you loved the experience.  If not, you probably felt like there was nothing there for you.  These people will love PopCon because we will present a large variety of things to see and do and, most importantly, interact with,” said Smith. “Their show was built from the ground up to specifically cater to comic book lovers by giving them tons of dealers and vendors to buy, sell, and trade.”

From the beginning, Indy PopCon has promoted themselves as a con for everyone, which is one of the reasons I’m personally excited about it. “We are building our convention from the ground up to cater to a wide variety of people, and encourage people to explore different genres.  We have over 10,000 square feet of space dedicated to comic book dealers, so comic book collectors will still have dealers from as far away as South Carolina bringing rare stock to buy, sell, and trade.  But we also have as much or more space dedicated to gaming, sci-fi, fantasy, internet culture, and more.”

Fighting Overcrowding

One of the major complaints about Indiana ComicCon was overcrowding. “They planned their show for 5,000, so of course they struggled when three times that number showed up.  We’ve been preparing for a large number since day one.  We have twice the space they have already booked, and we’re exploring booking a third hall,” said Smith. Which puts Indy PopCon at 150,000 square feet of usable space, double the space of Indiana ComicCon. “ICC was surprised that 15,000 people showed up, when we’ve been preparing for that number since day one, because we know that this city loves its conventions.”

Pre-Sale Tickets

Not only is Indy PopCon preparing for more attendees from the beginning, they’re taking steps with pre-sale tickets to be better prepared. “Perhaps the biggest point for emphasis with us in regards to preventing a similar problem is pre-sales.  For ICC, it was cheaper to show up at the door and buy your ticket before the show.  So their pre-sale numbers were probably low, and their estimates for attendance were based on those low numbers,” said Smith.  “Our tickets, conversely, are much cheaper to buy pre-sale.  We have zero ticket fees, and each ticket is at least $5 more expensive to purchase at the door than it is to purchase online.  This will be an extremely important point of emphasis as we get closer to the convention, so we should have better estimates on attendance before the show opens.” You can pre-order these tickets from the Indy PopCon website.

We’ll See You At Indy PopCon

We’ve been looking forward to Indy PopCon since their Kickstarter campaign. So far they’re proving to have a good handle on what geeks want, especially with their events leading up to the convention itself. Plus, it’s really exciting to finally have a truly local convention in Indianapolis.

We hope to see you there!

P.S. As a bit of shameless self promotion, go vote for the Roller Derby Q&A and Behind the Blog panels I proposed.

2 Responses to “Indy PopCon Prepares for Large Crowds”
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