Monday, 23 May 2011

Expo and convention prep

Today will probably be a slow week for this blog because I am preparing for the MCM at the weekend. This expo is set to be more busy than ever. 63,000 people are expected to visit the MCM Expo and in the other side of the ExCel centre there is going to be a large medical convention. Considering the venue size and the location, 63,000 is a lot of people. When I went last May about 43,000 people attended and I remember thinking the place was incredibly packed.

I have been asking just about everywhere for advice on time-saving when wearing lolita at expos. I found the advice I was given very encouraging, so thank you! As well as preparing my outfit, I have also been seeking general convention advice. So here is a compilation of advice I have found particularly useful. Some is based on personal experiences and others are tips I have found online.

Try and pick the things you want to see the most- Whenever you go to an expo it is easy to get wrapped up in trying to fit every single thing in to your day. The trouble is, if you set yourself too strict a time schedule, it will make the experience a lot loss fun. Look online to see if you can find stage show times and pick the ones you wish to see the most.

If you are ill, do not attend- This is more about being considerate to your fellow expo goers. Sweaty hot rooms and lots of person to person contact makes expos perfect breeding grounds for viruses. Of course, you probably wont see many of the people you meet ever again, but it is not exactly fair to give everybody your flu! If you absolutely INSIST on going, please take lots of tissues and maybe some alcoholic hand wash gel.

Take snacks and drink lots of water- From personal experience, I know how bad this can get. It is amazing how quickly time can fly and suddenly you turn around to find that you have not eaten anything for several hours. There was one time where I had no breakfast and then 3pm came and I had not eaten a thing all day. We went outside the expo to eat and I was on the brink of passing out. My husband practically had to carry me some of the way to get food. Afterwards, I vowed this would never happen again.

Do a practice run of your outfit or costume- There is nothing worse than waiting until the actual day and discovering there is something wrong with what you planned to wear. I would also recommend taking a small kit with bits like safety pins, spare hair grips etc to fix any tiny outfit emergencies.

Don't get sucked in to impulse buying- As somebody who usually has to buy merchandise online, suddenly being surrounded by stalls packed with goodies is very tempting. It is a bit like a child being let loose in a candy shop. However, stalls at expos tend to overprice items you can get cheaper elsewhere. Try to be hard on yourself. What may seem like a good purchase at a convention might not seem that good when you get home. And are you really going to use the items you buy or will they gather dust on a shelf somewhere? I find that one of the worst things to buy is imported snacks. It is amazing how just a few snacks can make a dent in your spending money.

Check your transport- This is especially important in places like London where tube line closures are known to cause a lot of disruption! And it wont just be you using the transport- if a particular route is closed, people from all around the city may be using the same route. See if you can find an alternative route because a majority of expo goers will probably use the same route.

If you are meeting friends, try to make a meeting point before you go in- You cannot guarantee that your mobile signal will work inside the venue. Also, you may not hear your phone going off with all the noise around you. Turn the vibrate mode on!

Be polite- Want a photograph of somebody? Try to ask first. Although cosplayers etc are expecting their photo will be taken, they will probably co-operate better if you ask first. And remember to thank people too.

Take spare batteries for your camera- I don't think I need to explain why to do this!

Be prepared for any weather- Try to take a few different pieces you can take off or throw on.

Expect long queues- It is a pain but queues can also be a big part of the convention experience. Find something to keep yourself busy. Or you could try striking up a conversation with the people you are standing with! When I went to the MCM last May, there was a bit where the queue went in a zig-zag so we started giving hi-fives to everybody as we went past! It was a lot of fun and helped pass a little time.

Keep your belongings safe- With all the people going past it is very easy to lose your belongings. From time to time you should check everything is where it should be. If you do lose something try to contact one of the event organisers because somebody may have handed it in. If this doesn't work, you could try asking online communities related to the expo if anybody saw your item.

Hopefully these tips will help me this Saturday. My excitement levels are starting to build up now. 5 days to go!

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