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A weekend with Atlanta Fandom: Jordancon, Trek Trax, Atlanta Comic.

By Shawn Scott Smith| April 22, 2013 | Comments Off on A weekend with Atlanta Fandom: Jordancon, Trek Trax, Atlanta Comic.

This past weekend we went to three conventions in Atlanta. Three cons in one weekend seems like a lot when you step back and look at it. I’ve always been against local fandoms competing on the same weekend (there are 51 other weekends), because surely there would be some crossover, and it has to affect some attendance numbers. Of course Atlanta was recently named the no 1 best place to live as a Geek mostly because of all the conventions it holds.

We took the conflicting schedules as an opportunity to make our gas and hotel mileage worth more and bring you a little bit of coverage on three shows at once.

jordancon
First up was Jordancon a convention in it’s 5th year, which also just happened to be hosting Deepsouthcon 51, a traveling convention that is held in different cities each year throughout the south. Jordancon started as a convention for fans of Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series, and has added a great deal of programming in the literary fields, They offer something for every fan of fantasy literature, and every aspiring writer, while not forgetting their roots as a Wheel of Time fan convention.
For me Jordancon was excellently run, smooth panels with professionals who knew what they were talking about. A dealers room that was small but complimented by having the art show in the same space. If your a fantasy reader the art in this show is to die for. I’m not even big into the Wheel of Time but some of the pieces were instantly recognizable.
The programming was split amongst 5 panel rooms, and the show had a gaming room as well for those hours when you needed something else to do.
The consuite was well stocked and had items not normally found at your average consuite. (We sampled some Alaskan Salmon).
This show had a lot of good going on, and I was able to enjoy it without being a big Robert Jordan fan. Considering the shows focus, that should tell you that Jordancon is a convention that will be sticking around.

Which leads me to show #2.
trektraz <http://trektrax.org/”>TrekTrax Atlanta is a show in it’s 3rd year. I had high hopes for the show as Star Trek was my first fandom, and something I carry with me to this day. As soon as you entered the building you could tell something was amiss. The place was too quiet. The hotels atrium is used for some of the larger programming events and there were maybe thirty to fifty chairs spread out for the main events. The fact that it was enough seating for the guest of honor Manu Intiraymi says alot about the current state of the show. I’d estimate the show had attendance of around 100 people if lucky. The show had 3 programming tracks, a dealers room, two viewing lounges going on while we were there, a consuite, and they take up most of the function space at their host hotel. The problem is, most of the panel rooms were empty during panels, and you could have combined everyone into one small room.
The promoters of this show love Star Trek, that much is obvious, but they would be better served scaling back their show, making it 1 or 2 tracks of programming and move the dealers room (which was tucked in a far wing of the hotel) into a programming room, or even into the atrium. If they adopted a Relaxacon model with a Star Trek Theme, I bet they would have the same attendance but they would benefit from larger groups at each programming piece and the attendees would still have time to socialize. I’m usually a huge fan of the 1/2 hour breaks between panels, as it gives people time to go to the consuite, go to the dealers room, etc, but a 1/2 hour break at this show just made the whole place feel like more of a ghosttown. This show could be great with some tweaks but I wonder if they can continue financially. They did have a indiegogo campaign to help with this year, but if they don’t see larger numbers of attendees, or scale back on hotel space, I don’t know how they can survive in the busy Atlanta Fandom circuit. Star Trek always ebbs and flows in popularity, but for TrekTrax Atlanta it may be going in the wrong direction.

Show #3 was the Atlanta Comic Convention. It’s a show that goes on a few times a year, that is basically a big dealers room. atlantacomic.
There is also a good artist alley, and they did a good job of not just having superhero comic guests. The dealers room could be a little more varied, as most carried comics only (it is a comic show afterall) but there were 1,000’s of comics to sift through so plenty for the avid comic fan to see and shop through. I got a few discounted Graphic Novels, and was pleased with the visit.

A long weekend enjoying Atlanta fandom. Whoo!
Can’t wait to return this fall for the big one, Ole Dragoncon.

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