Share My Cosplay Convention Coverage: Kitacon Karnival 2016

Izzyboom attends Kitacon Karnival 2016… and survives!

As a first time attendee and completely ignorant to 18+ conventions, I had no idea what to expect when I arrived at the venue. I had heard very little about the convention itself, when I asked people anything about it all the replies were ; “It’s my favourite convention!”, “It’s amazing, a really fun weekend!” “Its hard to describe, its just a lot of fun!” I had heard rumours about its infamous parties and the ridiculous amounts of booze a mere 1000 attendee’s could consume. However no one had really gone into depth on what it was like as a convention, what the people were like and just general information on the event. This is what prompted my idea for an article on the SmC website and is a theme I would love to continue.

The Friday registration was pretty smooth. The organisers of the event feel like veterans to the scene and understand how best to keep everyone happy. Included in the ticket was a small tote bag, glow sticks for the later rave and a timetable for the entire weekend, with an extremely helpful map on the back of it. The organisers were incredibly helpful, each one of them going out of their way to answer every query or issue sent their way. The organisers alone are enough to make any individual want to return. I have never experienced such lovely people running an event, who did not think their selves above the attendee’s but included their selves as part of them and this close relationship, I believe, can only be achieved by a smaller con like this. I arrived pretty late on the Friday and unfortunately most of the panels and events were over. However I did venture back for the first party of the weekend, a ‘rave’ night similar to that of a generic nightclub, with drinks somehow priced more than London clubs. I understand that Kitacon has no control over the prices of the drinks there, and do not fault them on it at all, however I do recommend to anyone considering going to come prepared for these prices.

Onto Saturday, where the convention really found its feet. I should specify now that I won’t be writing in detail on every single event I attended because this would be an essay  Now in bigger UK conventions like MCM Comic Con, you find yourself busy for the entirety of the weekend even if you don’t plan to be. With Kitacon its a lot more deliberate and thought out, they cater to their small attendee size by organising events and panels for everyone’s tastes. With it being an 18+ convention, there is no restriction on what can be shown or made an event of and this is shown through the panels planned throughout. Despite this, I really enjoyed how varied the panels were. If you didn’t fancy the Hentai Panel there was a retro gaming room constantly open, along with the dealers hall. One panel I particularly enjoyed was the ‘Lets Play Keep talking and Nobody Explodes.’ A very interactive event where organisers picked volunteers or brightly coloured individual audience members and asked them to play the game in front of the audience. It’s a simple premise but it’s effectiveness was in its simplicity. A room full of people waiting to see if three people could talk another person through defusing a bomb and slowly counting down to add tension. If you didn’t feel like being sociable, or just fancied sitting in a room with similar minded individuals, there were frequent screenings of various anime’s and films. Its little events like this that really create this close knit community feeling that big cons lack.

Like almost the entirety of this convention, the masquerade was not at all how I expected it. Away from the elitism of bigger conventions, the Kitacon Masquerade was a pleasure to watch. The masquerade was as inclusive as the smaller events with most of the attendee’s coming to watch the incredibly skilled individuals ready to showcase their amazing costumes.  The convention allows a comfortable atmosphere that I would recommend to anyone looking to enter a Masquerade  for the first time to consider Kitacon as their debut. The audience were supportive, the judges joining in with the cheering and taking pictures of the competitors and showcases alike. It was a wonderfully inspiring masquerade to attend, full of energy and positivity something that is lost in bigger conventions.

Another highlighted moment for me was their Cosplay Chess. I walked into the room completely unfamiliar with what ‘Cosplay Chess’ would entail however I was rather pleasantly surprised. The Chess game was commentated by two brilliant Steve Rogers and Tony Stark who were looking to settle the Civil war like real men. They called forth chess pieces of various characters to the board (From Sans and Papyrus from Undertale to Bayonetta and even Sasuke Uchiha ) The pieces moved across the board in a a Wizard chess fashion until they reached the combat stage. The pieces then act out a skit between the characters so that one ends up victorious and it is probably the most entertaining chess game you could watch. Even if you’re not entirely familiar with the characters its very enjoyable to watch Bayonetta talk down Princess Leia from fighting, or to see Frisk defeat most her enemies through mercy and determination. The skits, though the cast admit to them being heavily improvised, were brilliantly done and its honestly one of the main highlights of my weekend.

The parties. Now most people who love Kitacon rave about the parties and its easy to see why. They’re well organised like any other aspect of the convention and I love the fact that they’re themed. As previously mentioned the Friday night was a Rave night, the Saturday was a Rock Night (Which was absolutely amazing) and the Sunday was a masquerade ball before a normal party. For those not to keen on the alcohol scene rest assured you’re not missing out, I met quite a few people who stayed sober and they seemed to have a pretty good time regardless. However the Majority of attendees got their selves absolutely wasted and had, and I quote, ‘A f***ing amazing’  time. Some people don’t know their limits and due to this paramedics are a noticeable presence (Though all lovely people just to chat to)

Overall, Kitacon impressed me more than I thought it would. Would I abandon the larger cons in favour of smaller ones? Probably not.. I would however recommend the convention to others, and I think it speaks volumes about the convention that people are more willing to travel all across the UK for Kita than they are for bigger events. It has a very loyal following and that shows through the event. For anyone considering going, I’d advise to go and make your own mind up about it but know that overall it was a very good weekend.

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