Large or Small Cons?

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#1 Alice-kun on 1 year ago

I tend to watch a lot of Convention vlogs to try to see what it would be like to be at that convention as I'm a broke college kid who can't afford conventions outside my immediate area. I have only ever been to a large con and, while I still enjoy it, I wish there were less people sometimes.
For those of you who have been to different conventions, did you tend to enjoy the larger ones or the smaller ones more? Also, what con do you love going to the most? :)

#2 xIkuna on 1 year ago

Is it a cop out to say medium? I've been to two big cons, C2E2 in Chicago and Katsucon in D.C., so I'm not super experienced with big cons but I can tell you I'm not a big fan. Both seemed to suffer from no panels, which fine if you have a million friends to meet up with, or your a photographer, or you like to people watch- but I don't. Smaller cons (I'm talking 6k people, give or take a thousand) I find tend to be more interesting, and as I cosplayer I stand out more than a large convention.

I still do want to try another big con, but I have no clue what I'd choose since I don't think I'll ever go back to Katsu haha I'm thinking NYCC, but we'll see~

#3 Alyxiane on 1 year ago

I'll second in doing a cop out and say medium. haha Or rather, smaller to medium sized cons would be where I'd be most comfortable at. The only big con I've attended so far is Fanime which I'd say hits that sweet spot of being large and lively, while not too overwhelming and feeling like I'm drowning from the crowd size. I plan on going to AX hopefully next year, but I am concerned that the crowds might be [i]too[/i] much that I wouldn't enjoy the con as I would've liked.

What I also noticed with smaller cons is how more intimate meeting/seeing the guests can feel. It definitely is because of the overall number of attendees, so they can take a bit more time to interact with fans during signings and whatnot. It's definitely something that smaller cons have that advantage over bigger cons whenever they do get a few notable guests.

#4 Syon on 1 year ago

My "small" and my "big" are probably different from what people from the US consider big or small. The biggest anime conventions here sell around 25.000 tickets + people who just hang around the outside areas (none of our conventions happens to be in a hotel).

I have to say I prefer the bigger events. They have the nicer atmosphere and enough to see and do, that you aren't totally lost, if you don't have a group of friends with you. The crowd also happens to be a lot less cringy.

#5 ShinobiXikyu on 1 year ago

I'm getting too old and crotchety for the big multi-day cons anymore, plus the expense, the scramble for hotels etc. so I'm definitely finding myself enjoying the small con atmosphere more. Definitely can't do more than one big con a year.

#6 Elycium on 1 year ago

I like the small-medium range. Large cons get so crowded it becomes hard to move anywhere, and depending on the convention space - hard to get to the good photo spots. Like Shinobi, I'm also getting too old to want to deal with 10k people crammed into a space anymore.

#7 Maurishio-kun on 1 year ago

We don't have cons as large as Comicons here (there was going to be a Costa Rica Comic Con next year but it was cancelled) so I'd love to try a large con someday.

The largest cons here are held at the National Stadium which is not a too big space TBH.

#8 StarsOfCassiopeia on 1 year ago

Personally, I'm not gonna travel super far to a small con unless I've heard rave reviews about it, or they have something unique that I'm super interested in.

I like the med/large range ones personally: large enough that the probability I'll have friends also interested in attending is high, but not overwhelmingly impossible to navigate or needing to feel like I have to stick to a schedule to see everything I want to see.

Eg, that's a reason I'm not 100% sold on ever trying NYCC or SDCC-- I think it'd be cool to do once, but it's not the con I'm gonna show off crazy cosplays at, because it's generally Linecon. I tend to like opportunities to do group shoots/meetups with my buddies in neat new locations, y'know?

#9 DMEAddiction on 1 year ago

I'm also one of the "I prefer medium sized cons" group.

I can't justify going to either very large or very small cons at this point in my life. Most small cons in Alberta are too far away from me or they recently kicked the bucket, so they're off the table. And I don't like the atmosphere of the large comic cons here (and they're too expensive). It doesn't help that I've found both extremes to be boring.

But medium sized conventions? No boredom, they're large enough to justify the drive, have a decent atmosphere, and I like the staff.

#10 CapsuleCorp on 1 year ago

Size is only one of the factors involved in the quality of a con. I mean, Wizard World conventions can be considered "large" but they're really boring unless you like comic books and shelling out $60 for a single celebrity autograph. That's not my scene, so even SDCC would probably be something I wouldn't find entertaining. ACen is huge but pretty boring, there's not a lot to do and the organization can be off-putting. But I'm going to DragonCon next year despite the size because it just looks like so goddamn much fun.

Up here in the upper midwest, small cons are lame and boring. You've seen everyone and the single costume they've brought to wear by around noon on Saturday, their panel and event programming leaves a lot to be desired, and sometimes the demographic skews so young that no one's in the bar except me. But I've been to small and medium cons in other states with a much better atmosphere and better programming, so I know it's possible to make a small con not boring. It's just. Everything within half a day's drive of me really is a choice between "small and boring" or "crowded, expensive, and still boring."

#11 Zoeyromanov on 1 year ago

I'm more of a small to medium con goer. Anime North is huge because it's Canada's biggest con of the year, but you can be inside or outside which is good for me because I hate overcrowded places. It gets this way because it's quite popular but again I'm just glad for the area it's held at. Its focus is on anime, but there is stuff for everything else like comics and such.
Fan Expo is bigger in size but from my perspective was very anti-climactic even with me going on a Thursday because I kinda feel like maybe I should have seen more people wearing costumes even if they were to wear their 'favourite' costume on Saturday. It's an all-purpose con but I feel there's more to see at Anime North then at FE. But it could just be me because I went on the quietest day and simply went for the Arda Wigs booth.
But the space where it's held is good too.
I do go to smaller, 'casual' cons like DTAC and Frostcon, and March Comic Con is my lead up to Anime North.
I don't mind the smaller ones because even those ones have something for me to see besides the dealer's room, plus they can be fun on their own.

#12 Scunosi on 1 year ago

I think I prefer medium-to-large cons honestly. I can understand feeling that the biggest cons are actually too big; PAX West seems to have only just now plateaued in the last couple years with over 60k attendees regularly and it's always so cramped there and you can spend hours in lines if you don't plan out your day or are only interested in the big ticket stuff. But at the same time I at least like having options for things to do.

I've been to smaller local cons that I was done with in just a matter of hours. And while I love a chance to shop and cosplay, I can also leave feeling a little like it was a waste of my money to go, especially if I had to travel a ways to get there. With big cons there's often more than enough going on that I can do any number of things any time of day. I know you can technically do a lot of the same things at smaller cons, but often there's only one thing happening at a time so if you're not interested there's not much for you to do. I don't mind downtime but if I've already spent hours just meandering around I'm apt to just leave.

The other thing about small cons is if they're small enough they can start to feel less like a con and more just like a big clique's meetup. And I'm actually not a very extroverted person when I'm by myself so if I don't know anyone and everyone else already looks like they're hanging out with each other I'll probably just shy away rather than introduce myself. Strangely the big crowds of larger cons make me more apt to strike up conversations with people, be it in a long line waiting to demo something or in a big group shoot for a fandom I'm in.

#13 CapsuleCorp on 1 year ago

[QUOTE=Scunosi;5062103]The other thing about small cons is if they're small enough they can start to feel less like a con and more just like a big clique's meetup. And I'm actually not a very extroverted person when I'm by myself so if I don't know anyone and everyone else already looks like they're hanging out with each other I'll probably just shy away rather than introduce myself. [/QUOTE]

Ohhhhh my god I had not even thought about this but it's so true.

There are several smaller cons in the WI/MN/IA area that are like this, whether billed as a "relaxicon" or not. They're basically the same group of about 200 people who more or less know each other very well who've been getting together in the same sense for 15-20 years, and just keep doing it like it's habit. I don't begrudge people who enjoy relaxicons but they're so cliquey that anyone attempting to drop in for the first time feels immediately frozen out and will never come back. The worst part? The organizers actually don't understand why they can't grow or bring in new blood. They try, and they fail, and they can't grasp it.

I had this experience at Marscon this past spring. Never again. I'm going to look for some bigger cons outside my immediate area and see if there's a significant difference in atmosphere.

#14 Alyxiane on 1 year ago

[QUOTE=Scunosi;5062103]I've been to smaller local cons that I was done with in just a matter of hours. And while I love a chance to shop and cosplay, I can also leave feeling a little like it was a waste of my money to go, especially if I had to travel a ways to get there. With big cons there's often more than enough going on that I can do any number of things any time of day. I know you can technically do a lot of the same things at smaller cons, but often there's only one thing happening at a time so if you're not interested there's not much for you to do. I don't mind downtime but if I've already spent hours just meandering around I'm apt to just leave.

The other thing about small cons is if they're small enough they can start to feel less like a con and more just like a big clique's meetup. And I'm actually not a very extroverted person when I'm by myself so if I don't know anyone and everyone else already looks like they're hanging out with each other I'll probably just shy away rather than introduce myself. Strangely the big crowds of larger cons make me more apt to strike up conversations with people, be it in a long line waiting to demo something or in a big group shoot for a fandom I'm in.[/QUOTE]

Ooof I can definitely agree to all of that. Most of the smaller cons in this area still takes at least 20-30 minutes to drive from my house, and ticket/badge prices already start at $30 for a weekend while the space or events just feels lackluster for what they're asking for. If I were to keep going to these smaller cons with the assumption that I don't ghost them, the money spent on them would've been more than enough to just use on new cosplays or even an entire weekend at a big con. Both of which I'd rather do, btw, even if I don't seem as "active" in the cosplay community as some other folks.

The clique atmosphere is definitely why I also tend to stray away from any cosplay meetups in the area that are otherwise free. From friends' pictures and posts, it looks and feels like the same exact people just hanging out without much wiggle room for any new attendees? My main focus for cosplay is to meet new people so I guess people are more inclined to do the same when at larger conventions.

#15 WCMorpheus on 1 year ago

For me, it depends on what's on the agenda. Sometimes, I like to shop and socialize with friends and the vendors at the small cons- you can't get much personal stuff done while you're in costume, and if you buy something, it's cumbersome and clumsy-looking to carry around. In addition, I like to take photos for my cosplay page and usually have my DSLR in tow. At larger cons, I tend to exclusive hunt and cosplay for most of the show and try to catch a panel or two.

I've been to 3 large-scale shows this year: WonderCon, SDCC and DragonCon and I've enjoyed them all, but out of all of them, DragonCon was the one show where I had real FUN. As cool and nigh exclusive as it is to attend SDCC, it's becoming less fun and more expensive every year, and the lines to do anything (even use the toilets) are overwhelming.

For shopping, I prefer smaller shows as you tend to get better deals from vendors. At big shows, organizers charge more for table space, so the vendors have to compensate by jacking up their prices.

For cosplay, I lean toward the gigantic shows like DragonCon and Emerald City, but the Hollywood influence is putting a bit of a damper on larger shows like NYCC and SDCC by pricing out the little people and charging outrageous amounts for badges and lodging.