Most people who are passionate about Transformers, or other forms of geek culture, will have tried to attend at least one convention in their lifetime. Whether it’s a small scale local event, a larger collector’s fair, a comic con style event based around dealers and guest signings, or what I would class as a traditional convention (guests, dealers and activities spread over a full weekend), there’s something available for everyone. But some conventions have strayed from the norm and offered their attendees activities that are a little off the beaten track…
The Star Trek conventions I started attending at the beginning of the 1990s always had parties and discos every night at the end of the main programme. So even back then music of some sort was an integral part of the evening entertainment in some capacity. Some conventions branched out into karaoke for attendees brave enough to take to the stage but others took things a stage further…
Some conventions are fortunate enough to invite guests who have a hidden (or sometimes publicly known) musical talent. If persuade, they can often manage to get them to take to the stage for a pre-arranged concert as part of the convention preceedings. While not as elaborate as a dedicated show with staging, lighting, sets etc. they’re always great for attendees.
From a Transformers point of view, Stan Bush has been a regular at many events performing live, the Transformers-themed tribute band Cybertronic Spree has appeared across Canada and America, and even Beast Wars’ Garry Chalk has taken to the stage surprising fans with his acoustic blues sets.
It’s Vegas, Baby!
Probably the most innovative and original idea I’ve ever seen was at Botcon in 2005. The convention decided to hold a special casino evening during their convention weekend complete with all manner of casino tables, and a selection of some of the most popular slots for attendees to play. At the start of the evening those attending were given convention dollars to play with rather than real money and at the end of the night these were converted to use in the convention’s charity auction.
The auction, which offered up a huge selection of Transformers toys and merchandise much of which was donated by dealers trading at the show, managed to raise a staggering $3,400 for charity!
Another popular event that’s been seen at conventions where voice actors are present are script readings. While some have actors performing actual scripts from the shows they have worked on, most adpot a more fun approach and get brand new scripts written for the guests to perform in character. The chance to see these parodies played out on stage with the stars of your favourite shows is an experience that has to be seen to be believed.
The Car’s The Star
One last thing that’s more suited to conventions with outdoor space at their disposal is vehicle displays. While it’s unlikely that any event can get actual filming vehicles from TV shows or movies, there are plenty of accurate replicas available for hire that attend events around the world. One of the first I ever saw was a near-perfect replica of the Batmobile from the 1966 TV series. While that particular event didn’t allow fans to get photos, it was stunning to see.
Transformers wise, we’ve seen plenty of vehicles from the movies make an appearance at shows globally, and fans worldwide have recreated cars from the animated shows that they happily showcase as well. I don’t know about you but unless you get to be a part of the movies themselves, I don’t think that there is a better way to see these up close and personal! For the younger fans, this is a highlight of the weekend!
* * *
Have you come across anything else while attending conventions? Let us know your favourites in the comments.