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Pyrkon 2014


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The biggest Polish fantasy convention has reached another record! Only on the first day, Friday at five pm, last year's attendance was surpassed – over thirteen thousand people visited Pyrkon area, enlarged by two more Poznań International Fair's halls. More space, better attractions in all the sections – will the Poznań team manage to keep the upward tendency? We'll try to reach a conclusion after finishing the coverage from every day.

FRIDAY

This year Pyrkon greeted us... without queues? Is it possible?! Every year from both sides snake queues coiled with masses of extremely impatient fantasy fans. This time from Śniadeckich St there was basically no problem with entering, at least around two pm. The sky-high amount of visitors was noticeable only hunting for cloakrooms, that had an hour work break because of overfilling.

There is no denying, already on Friday there was really a lot of participants – however, reorganizing lecture rooms and renting two additional halls resulted in - at least according to what could be seen – the fact that you couldn't complain on overcrowding.

As on every convention in the world, also here convention rules applied – the most interesting shows and lectures started only in the evening, when there would be the most participants, Saturday was a climax, Sunday dropdown... Quite a new thing, rarely present on other convention in the country (pity!) was children corner and beginners section. As far as the first one can be found sometimes, the other is a rarity. It’s an interesting experiment– those who, for the first time, could see what comes from what, why fandoms are like that and not different...

On Friday one could catch some interesting lectures, although, like last year – popular science and movie sections attracted great interest that simply resulted in harder entry. The more resilient participants waited for an hour by the room to get into the desired lecture. The rest played in game-rooms, LARPs, anime section, took part in or watched all kinds of tournaments, hunted for autographs or trained at workshops, surfed on free wi-fi, occupied exhibitors’ zone, took photos in the Photocorner of our magazine, looked for a piece of floor to place foam pads in the sleeping hall... In one word, no one could complain on boredom!

The Friday night was triumphantly closed with the concert of Percival Schuttenbach... now wait a second? Weren't they there last year? Sure they were! This time, however, the concert had a far better sound system and gathered twice as much audience as in 2013. And if the form and band proved good, then why not?

And the best was yet to start...

SATURDAY

People. Lots of them.

Already at noon attendance passed twenty thousand! It wouldn't be strange if it turned out to be a record on the whole Europe ecale. This time, two additional halls did nothing to improve moving around the convention space. But it was colourful!...

Two pm sharp Masquerade, the great contest of cosplay costumes, started. Naturally, they all could be observed earlier or one could pose with a cosplayer to a photo together – dressed-up people happily paraded around the main hall, patiently withstanding every solicitation from delighted fans. Cosplay, especially the great and detailed one, has its drawbacks after all – for how to attend a lecture in a huge costume of Amidala? How to cosplay Girls&Panzer amine when characters need to sit on an armored vehicle? Right, small remark – in the guide the place where those cosplayers were sitting was labeled as "Tank". Correcting – it was not a tank! It was an armored vehicle type BRDM-2, used back in the "old system" and everywhere to the east. Tanks have tracks (and many more details), armored vehicles – wheels. Why there was no tank? Because bringing over such a huge thing comes with blocking two lanes on the base-Pyrkon route. Everyone who has eyes will see that a tank is a tiny bit wider than a car or even a bus... Well then, girls, good work! "Berdek" passed the test.

Thus, we shouldn't envy the big cosplays. Aforementioned girls had to sit on the BRDM almost all the time, just like great Warhammers were doomed to huge, almost all day long show off. It's not a bad thing – everyone "showing off" not only give joy to other participants but also makes potential room for other attractions.

There is only one thing worth thinking through thoroughly... For there were moments of absolute overcrowding, especially in the aforementioned popular science and movie rooms. Even magical "press passes" were not good enough to work – physically one couldn't fit into the rooms, what's more, everyone interested was sometimes forced to rather unwanted "free hugs!" with the more determined participants. In the same time some ongoing lectures/meetings with the invited, foreign guests attracted way smaller interest. Even though it's a conventions' tradition to divide program into theme sections (it surely is a lot easier to grasp everything), this form slowly stops to work, especially if we're dealing with such a scale. Maybe a good solutions would be to make a survey with all the lectures, a few weeks before the actual event, and see which are the most popular? Certainly, foreign guests are worth a better room, as well as our polish writers, partly professional speakers. However, most of the ones from scientific section can talk well and in an interesting way and their lectures often are way more popular.

When asked about coming next year, a lot of people said: "...I don’t know, too many people. It’s a waste to pay fifty złoty and not be able to get onto a single lecture". A lot more happily said "yeees!", however, the first group also deserves attention. Answering a question that I asked in the beginning of the text – Pyrkon may have reached a borderline and next year it may to break the record as there were too many participants. Is it bad? Quite the contrary! For the group of young people from Druga Era club, for the scope of the event, the tiny amount of organizing discords is still shocking. Anyway – we’ll see next year. Popularity of the event grows in a viral speed. It’s possible that the place of those who will skip the thing will be taken by five times as many new participants.

Between 9-14 an interesting thing was organized – in the building and coach one could donate blood or sign in for a bone marrow donor thanks to Regional Blood Center. Fantasy fans proved their nobleness taking places in looong queues. Those still interested to follow the example are most welcomed to the Bone Marrow Team website→ www.darszpiku.pl 

Saturday full of attractions had its climax at a party organized at the Fair’s "Iglica" pavilion, that cannot be described with a better adjective than EPIC, in a more less colloquial meaning of the word. Classic party hits were mixed with a bit more "nerd" pieces like Weird Al Yankovic, cabaret The Fox by Ylvis or, known probably mostly thanks to everlasting "Hitler looking for electro" – Pokerface by Lady Gaga. The sight of fantasy fans being happy, at ease – priceless!




SUNDAY

A typical day of relax. The best part of participants came only for Saturday when most of the interesting events took place. It has its advantages – on Sunday one can still find tens of events in which they’d like to participate and the crowd was definitely smaller. Well, maybe not on the train station...

Very popular were discussion panels, at which invited artists shared their experiences and the audience could freely ask questions. It's also a good form - only for a few years panels are organized, at which the broader form than host-writer is being used, bringing together artists from varied, sometimes entirely different genres.

The most hard-bitten people participated in dynamically organized night sections, which at times were often a better idea than the overcrowded sleeping halls. One of the few downsides was the location of the manga and anime rooms, access to which was leading through a large space filled with foam pads, backpacks, cosplayers' scattered clothing, and on top of that, the room had no sound system... Then again, it shouldn't be a surprise, the Fair's space is limited. Although a small microphone with a loudspeaker would help, oh it would - last rows had no chance to hear the lecturer.

For three days our magazine’s Photocorner was also working, where every participant could come and take a photo and later find it in our Gallery. Come and see!



How this year’s Pyrkon went? It stunned with its scope, splendor... overcrowding. Some people said that the aforementioned, Saturday Masquerade required a slightly different organization or the selection of collaborators – a cosplayer, interested in the show and willing to register would hear that he should have done it before the convention and about... six in the morning. Well, you can’t spread yourself too thin – you’ll break. However, from the participant’s perspective Masquerade went smoothly and well, and most importantly – sound system was also decent, which already was the change compared to the previous year.

Logistics anyhow were good, hiring additional halls a great idea - and yearly growing popularity of the event teaches the organizers how to do better, bolder, differently.

Can you recommend Pyrkon to those who know about it only from this coverage? You have to remember that this is a huge event and for a newbie it’s better to recommend a visit to a smaller conventions. The scope of the event knocks to one’s knees - not everyone likes it, but let’s frankly admit: the event went very, VERY well.

Well done Poznan!

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Translator: kantellis
Add date: 2014-07-06 / Live reports


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