Well, the inaugural Salt Lake Comic Con is over, but not without controversy.
But to begin with, I’ll just say that, overall, it seems like everyone I talked to had a great time. There has been some grumbling since the end that the organizers may have dropped the ball on a few things, and I can’t say that I disagree with those points.
The venue where the event was held was the Salt Palace, but it was originally scheduled for another, smaller venue: the Southtowne Center.
Deemed too small as the guest list grew, the venue was changed to the SP, and as they continued to grow, it seems as though the organizers didn’t know when to say “enough.” it wasn’t until Saturday afternoon that they finally declared that the event was sold out, and the numbers that have come out have attendance at over 70,000 people, with some estimates hitting 80,000!
Anyone that was there can tell you that this was too many for the venue to handle. People were being held outside due to the fire marshall citing maximum occupancy codes.
BUT, despite all of these negatives, there was still a sense of wonder and enjoyment on the faces of everyone that I saw there. Sure, the HUGE crowd waiting to get a photo-op or autograph with Stan Lee got a bit unruly (although no violence ensued), and there was quite a bit of confusion during William Shatner’s morning photo-op (which I can say with honesty was a bit of a cluster, organizationally), I think that a big portion of those problems might stem from the over-selling of general tickets and/or the expectations of the VIP pass holders.
I really believe that next year’s comic-con (which has apparently already signed a 6-year agreement) will be much better organized. Longer hours, better ticket and venue control, and this year’s experiences should ensure that the organizers can both limit the difficulties while simultaneously growing the event beyond even this inaugural effort.
If you’re in the area, make it a point to come to next year’s con. Salt Lake it a wonderful town to visit, and the experience should be exceptional.