Sunday, June 29, 2014

My British Fest Experience!

I don't exactly remember when I first learned of BritishFest. Thinking back it must have been a Facebook ad that snagged my attention. It was advertised as a convention in Omaha, NE, for people who enjoy British TV, movies, games, and books. It was scheduled for the final week of June 2014 and the price was extremely reasonable ($15 per person per day, if you ordered before a certain date). Husband Mark and I both enjoy British media so I asked him if he wanted to go, which he did. So we bought some tickets and waited for the big day to arrive.

I have only been to a handful of conventions. I have been to three separate star-studded cons in large cities in neighboring states and I've been to a couple small cons featuring lots of vendors and a couple pros (usually comic book artists). I can honestly say that BritishFest was my favorite convention experience.

Both Husband Mark and I work a lot. It isn't easy to get away and this June was made even more difficult by the fact that we both already took a week off from work earlier this summer to spend time with our extended family up in Minnesota. So we decided to keep it simple and only attend the convention on its first day.

We each attended a series of workshops. Friday started out with "I Moustache You A Question" -- which was a "Sherlock"-themed open discussion about the current BBC revival. That workshop ended with a trivia contest. Husband Mark nudged me onto the stage -- thereby hammering home how very little I actually know about this great television series. That said, I earned our team a point by correctly answering "Guy Fawkes Day."

We then split up so that I could attend a self-publishing workshop facilitated by self-published Steampunk author Melissa Ann Conroy. She is the author of Steam on the Horizon and is finishing her second book Clouds of War. Conroy did a great job of walking through the resources that she has utilized to become a self-published writer -- not to mention marketer and merchant.

Husband Mark went to a workshop about "The Voyage of Sinbad." He said that not many people attended that particular workshop, but he enjoyed the opportunity to learn more about the program and to chat with the workshop leader about "Sinbad," what he liked about the show, and their theories about why the show eventually got canceled.

We both attended a workshop titled "Doctor Who 101," which ran through the various incarnations of the Doctor and his various companions. We got to that workshop a little bit late, so I missed the names of facilitators. However, I had already met Lars Pearson years ago at an event sponsored by an old "Doctor Who" fan group that I used to belong to called UNIT. Pearson has edited numerous "Doctor Who" reference books and possesses tons of knowledge about the TV program and everything related to it. I really enjoyed this program, but it's really hard to cram 50 years worth of popular media into 60 minutes! That said, I got to eat my very first Jelly Baby at this workshop!

This is how my day continued. I managed to attend workshops on the Spice Girls (co-hosted by the 2012 Miss World Steampunk Laci Neal), "Steampunk 101" co-moderated by Ms. Neal and the very handsome Johnny Irish, and a "Torchwood!" workshop. We then listened to a band called the Brits before deciding that we're a couple of old men who need to sleep before traveling back to Iowa City the next day!

There were some really wonderful costumes at Britishfest -- everything from Steampunk outfits to random "Doctor Who" characters to "Harry Potter" to "Sherlock". I even saw someone dressed up at The Stig from "Top Gear."

I really regret coming for only one day. We ended up missing workshops about "Red Dwarf," "Star Wars," "James Bond: 007," and "Transformers." Additionally, there was a Quidditch Game that looked really interesting -- not to mention "Doctor Who"-themed belly dancing, contests, charity auctions, a Steampunk Ball, movies, inprov, and the infamous Timey Wimey Puppet Show! Actually, there was much more than that Saturday and Sunday -- and we missed it all!

I am really hoping that there is a BritishFest II in 2015! Husband Mark and I will definitely be there and we will both make the effort to attend from start to finish. I keep thinking that it would be fun to cosplay when I return. Of course, that implies that I can find a British character with my body type who interests me and who is recognizable enough for others to appreciate. I'm thinking of hosting a poll later this week to seek input on this question.

I just want to take this opportunity to thank everyone who organized BritishFest. I know that it takes a lot of time, energy, and commitment to pull everything together and to roll with it when portions don't work out as planned. Everyone did a marvelous job. Thanks from Iowa City!

1 comment:

Britfest said...

I am glad you enjoyed the con!
We are still in the works about next year. Updates are on the website or on our Facebook page.
Thanks for the kind words! ^^