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PYRKON Fantasy Convention

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Thirty-one and a half thousand participants! 31 500! This number beats the eyes, lands a right hook and crushes to the floor. That's the number of people that checked it for this year's Pyrkon edition, which is beating the record set by... last year's Pyrkon. It is the undisputed leader in the country in terms of every aspect of the organization - location, scale of the events, promotions, attractiveness of lectures and the number of international visitors.

This year's Pyrkon broke another record, established by - as you might guess - previous editions of Poznań convent. The enormity of attractions stunned and almost overwhelmed, and finally all the assembled participants were more likely to get to where they wanted to - most of small lecture rooms was replaced with large conference rooms. Anyone willing to attend had 90% chance to enter the desired lecture. Finally! Also the youngest participants could not complain, children block, very rich in attractions run unstoppably throughout the whole convention. In addition to that, well equipped and huge dining hall, separate space for autograph signing, 24h program and the largest possible market hall with stalls full of fantastic goods made Pyrkon deserve the place at the forefront of European conventions.
Traditionally, the first day of the convention greeted us with kilometers long queues, towing in a colorful snake along the entire street from the entrance to the convent. All things began in earnest about three p.m., so many of those waiting had a chance to get to the fantastic things. This year, most of lecture blocks, especially those enormously popular and previously set in small rooms (literary, scientific) finally got much larger conference rooms, which enjoyed immense interest. Nevertheless, quite a few items on the agenda did not match the supplied list - what can and could be a disadvantage, if not for the fact that, completely by chance, one could get to a very interesting lecture. Fortunately lists posted directly on the door of lecture rooms were up-to-date, making it easy to find a way in the maze of changes.
The simple walk around the convention area and a brief look at exhibitions and attractions... took about two hours! You can imagine the enormity of the venture. What we saw? I think it would be easier to list what we did not... Almost every available space of rented halls and squares was occupied. Fantasy villages, cosplayers and reenactors, dance shows and art exhibitions, interactive and social games, dioramas, workshop area, shooting gallery and even a planetarium! That's just few of the attractions available in the convent area. All wonders could be traced fast in meticulously prepared program-locator of the conventions. We also had our own editorial photo spot, that anyone interested could visit - look through the gallery and finding yourself there!
This year the organizers graced us with a novelty in the form of a registered lecture halls. Interested participants reported their wish to come in a specially designed, separate forms available on the website - upon entering they received a little evaluation paper concerning their experience with lecture. This form would make sense if the participants were more numerous - but by far the smallest attendance was observed in those registered rooms. Perhaps the seemingly hermetic, closed form of lectures discouraged unregistered participants - although probably at all time, anyone who wanted could enter. Definitely more successfully in popularity was the English room, bringing together not only to potential foreign visitors, and the attractiveness of lectures matched the Polish ones.
The most resilient ones took part in 24h program up till Saturday. In the case of conventions such as Pyrkon, it's a waste to sleep!

A classic for every convention is that Saturday is the biggest, most powerful and most attractive day of the event. Those who were supposed to come - arrived, and those who want to return - haven't yet left, because too much is going on. The culmination of the day was stunningly great Masquerade, that is, cosplay performance by the participants of the Convention, and also dozens of other, smaller demonstrations that took place in the halls and outside of buildings. It is also said that the last day of the convention is the weakest. But not at Pyrkon! The peaceful atmosphere of Sunday encouraged sitting at no less interesting lectures. Foreign visitors emphasized the professionalism of the organization and an extraordinary spirit of fans of fantasy.
Of course, in the case of such a large undertaking, there is no way to prevent unexpected problems like program changes or cancellation of individual events. It happens, sure. In the case of such large scale events more frequently than on the smaller ones. However, there was a little unused space which could help to cope with the unattainable - large screen! Great large screen in one of the largest halls, where the stage was. Point clearly visible, by which most of convent goers passed, wanting to get to the other side of the hall. In the times of attraction taking place on the stage it was used to display happening to those further away, but there were moments when the scene was not used - maybe it could the used to display the changes in the program? It cannot be too complicated and would help a lot.
There is also the case of promoting foreign guests. Our team participated, among others, in the meeting with Jason Morningstar - the creator of such great RPG titles like Grey Ranks about children from the Warsaw Uprising or psychedelic Fiasco. A man of extraordinary imagination and knowledge, a multiple winner of prestigious industry awards, he talked about his work to... seven people, with two of us in the group. And he spoke with passion and interestingly. What went wrong? Hard to say.
Another issue - it is known that in the case of such large events it's likely that a visit from one of the many control offices will come. With that we got rid of the familiar possibility to sit by the walls at extremely attractive lectures due to health and safety standards. It's understandable that the rules are there to be respected, and sitting by the walls means blocking emergency exits, so admission to the lectures was limited to seats in the otherwise quite large conference rooms. However, a glitch appeared here - there was a situation where helpers were forced to ask out... the media! It's a pretty serious misconduct against those who promote the event. The promotion, for which usually one pays considerable sums (although the format of Pyrkon promotes itself alone and with the fame of previous editions, we have to admit that). For this and similar events, the solution is simple - promotion for accreditation. That's how it worked for many years and will forever. Just do not forget that the duty of each professional representative of the media is to collect an honest material for which you need virtually unlimited access to where something interesting is happening. We are not talking about risking the inspection and ignoring the rules for the media, but we suggest to reserve space for the press in advance. If a representative of one of the largest national media enter, would they also be asked to leave? In principle, yes. Should it look like that? Well, not necessarily. Nevertheless, Pyrkon defended themselves with well positioned (and soundproofed!) press room, to which all media representatives had unlimited access. Useful place for those who dreamed of an interview with invited guest or organizers.
Despite the drawbacks mentioned above, this year's edition of Pyrkon was the best for great many years! Attractive points of the program, resilient organization, many foreign guests, a riot of shades of cosplayers' costumes and all the other fantastic things described above created an extremely good impression, leaving fond memories of the weekend well spent. Already during previous editions we wondered if it might get better - and it always does! And once again, a deep bow to organization staff. A must for anyone looking for excitement!

We invite you to next year's edition, which will be held 8-10 April 2016 at the Poznań International Fair.
Do you want to experience fantastic Poznan still this year? Come to XXX Polcon at Poznan University of Technology, August 20-23! More on Organizer's webpage:
Translator: kantellis
Add date: 2015-11-14 / Live reports

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