Friday, 3 February 2012

My Return To Wales: Part 3, SFX Weekender 3 Hi-de-hi Campers!

Have you ever heard the expression, ‘if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all’? Well, if I was to apply this to my opinion of the SFX Weekender 3 this would be a very short post... Along the lines of: Arrived, saw dancing girls, went home...

*Insert comedy caption here*
I can, hand on heart, say this was the worst event I’ve ever been to.

I have to confess I’d not really given SFX much thought before I actually arrived, I wasn’t even sure what guests were going to be there, but the idea of it really was appealing, a few thousand like minded geeks taking over a holiday camp for a weekend, what more could you ask for?

Check in was from the Thursday afternoon, however, if you’ve read part 2 of my Wales posts then you’ll know I was busy climbing Snowdon that day, so we decided to get there on the Friday morning and go straight into the event.

On the Thursday though the little alarm bell in my head began to ring upon hearing stories of people waiting hours to check in... Not too promising. Luckily when we got there on the Friday there wasn’t a queue so we checked in quickly and then went off to find our ‘Gold’ level chalet...

A couple of familiar faces!
If our accommodation was gold, I would dread to see what the silver and standard were like... Apparently the site had been refurbished the year before; if this decor was a year old then I’m a Dutchman!

But, let’s face it, as long as there is a bed, what else does a room need to be? I put the quality of the room out of my head and we went for a wander round the venue.

Midday saw the opening ceremony take place where we had the treat of the Area 51 dancers. I have to say, for a mainly dominated event the organisers knew their audience, I could of happily sat and watched the dancers all day.

Dancing Girls, Woohoo!
The first hitch of the day also took place, there were massive rail delays just outside London, which resulted in guests being delayed or not being able to attend at all. These things happen as they say, however the communication and updates of what was happening was a bit lacking, the main annoyance for me was the Anthony Head was meant to have been there as a guest replacement, however he didn’t make it, this was fine, but at no point was anything officially said!

Next on the list of ‘what were you thinking’ was the virtual queue system, the idea was to give people a timeslot for their autographs, this failed before it even started and was scrapped (it was also to blame for the queues the previous day). My question is, why not just do it like everyone else does, have tickets and get people to check when they get up to their number, simples!

While on the subject of autographs, the signing area was located in the canteen, this was never going to be a good plan, especially at lunchtime when the autograph queue and food queue all merged into one... the queues also didn’t have anyone managing them as far as I could see so this resulted in multiple queues for the same guests and all sorts of nonsense.

I’d purchased a signing pass, but decided to just give the entire fiasco a miss and steer well clear of the whole thing...

The event itself was split into a number of rooms with various activities taking place throughout the day, this in theory worked well, but for me I just wasn’t feeling it, the whole venue just seemed cramped, just because a venue says it can hold 4,000 doesn’t mean you have to put 4,000 in it...

Not been very positive at all yet has it?

On the plus side I did bump into the guys from Charity Daleks, who run the Corsham event, it was good to catch up with the guys and just hang out, even if I was just dressed casually.

Next on the gumbles list was the heat, yes, it was freezing outside but inside the venue was like a sauna! It wasn’t helped by the fact that the ceiling fans were pumping out hot air. Compared to the food quality however the heat was nothing...

As I type this I’ve actually become bored of moaning about the event, I’m sure you’re also bored of reading me moan...

Here’s some dancing girls, I know they always cheer me up...