Friday, 16 August 2013

My LeakyCon Experience - Part One

Last week I had the absolute pleasure of attending LeakyCon London with my pal Ria. LeakyCon is a Harry Potter convention that typically runs over four days, and has been going since 2009. LeakyCon has evolved as the Harry Potter films came to a close to celebrate all things fandom, and the love for characters, actors and music the fandom has given us. I’ve wanted to attend LeakyCon since its beginnings but until this year it had only been held in the US – and my poor little bank account has never been able to stretch to that. However this year the lovely staff, led by Potter fan and figurehead Melissa Anelli, decided that it was time to bring the conference over to Harry’s homeland… England. The convention was held in the truly beautiful setting of the Grand Connaught Rooms in London.

The night before the convention all kicked off the attendees, staff, and friends and family were invited to buy tickets to an exclusive evening at Warner Bros Studio Tour to celebrate the behind-the-scenes aspects of the movies with one another. I was lucky enough to have attended the WB Studio Tour when it very first opened, but a lot had changed since then and it was great to go back and experience it with a few hundred other Potter fans. The atmosphere was absolutely electric. The lovely Scarlett Byrne who plays Pansy Parkinson in the films also welcomed us to the tour and ushered us in, which was the very first magical moment of a very special weekend. After leaving the tour Ria and I grabbed some pizza from Ecco Pizza on Drury Lane (I really recommend them, they are so tasty and such good value for money in London) and relaxed ready for the mad weekend ahead.

The next day Ria and I woke up bright and early ready for Day 1 of LeakyCon – well, as early as we thought we needed to be up! It turned out there was already a large queue forming outside the GCR so we rushed down there. After over an hour in line we were registered, grabbed a quick hot drink from CafĂ© Nero and were on to the first of four very busy days. On that first day we attended the Leaky first-timers meet up, where they gave us tips and tricks on getting the best experience out of our first time at LeakyCon and squished all of our nerves. After that we attended the Whovian meet up, which was incredibly packed and we all shared our excitement about the 50th anniversary and the new Doctor. 

When that ended we got into the queue for the Opening Ceremony, which if I’m being totally honest, was the worst part of LeakyCon for me. The venue was a bit small for the amount of people there, and they hadn’t yet figured out to handle us. Instead of being in any sort of queue every attendee was squished together in the lobby, pushing and shoving, blocking all of the entrances and exits. However they managed to get us all in the room in an orderly fashion eventually, and the ceremony started.

The Opening Ceremony was amazing – Melissa welcomed us, speakers from HPA and Lumos spoke about the important charity work that they do, Evanna Lynch, Scarlett Byrne, Alfie Enoch and Robbie Jarvis each spoke to the crowd, the Wizard Rockers warmed up for the evening ahead with quick performances, Hank Green did his first Accio Deathly Hallows performance of the weekend and Team StarKid surprised the audience by appearing throughout the room randomly before making their way to stage to perform.

We had a quick wonder around the vendor room to look at the beautiful merch on sale before sitting back in the grand ballroom and resting our weary bones ready for the Wizard Rock concert that evening. Wizard Rock is a genre of music inspired by Harry Potter books and films and is a huge part of the fandom. Two of my favourite YouTube personalities were playing that evening – Alex Carpenter and Hank Green, so I was excited to be right at the front, centre stage in front of the mic. The whole evening was amazing, and I got introduced to some amazing acts that I had never heard of before. After the gig I was lucky enough to grab a picture with Alex Carpenter before heading back to the hotel for a couple of hours sleep.

For what happened on days 2, 3 and 4 – stay tuned!
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