Tuesday, April 1, 2014

MegaCon 2014 Recap: Day 2, Part 2

Okay, so, my last recap left off early Saturday afternoon of MegaCon, when I got in line for the Walking Dead panel. An hour and forty-five minutes in advance, mind you. So I'm just going to jump right in, tell this tale, and get it off my chest...

My friend and I had asked a few people what the line was for as we walked down it to find the end, and every single one of them said that it was for Walking Dead. Within the first twenty minutes or so of getting in line, someone from the convention center came by to count people. We were within the first 500 people, in line for a room that seats 1300 or so. Yes! We were in! Right?

Look at me! I'm in line! I'm going to get into the panel! I'm so happy!

Wrong. A few minutes after three, the line started moving. It started and stopped a bit at first, but once it got going it seemed pretty smooth...minus the obnoxious Homestuck cosplayers who'd been playing spin the bottle (not kidding) right near where I'd been waiting in line and then decided to have a freaking Homestuck parade right through the giant line of people trying to get into the Walking Dead panel.

Suddenly, though, the line stopped. We were maybe thirty feet from the doors to the room, and in front of us was just a mass of people. No more organized line. Soon enough it became clear that they weren't letting people in, and not long after that word was passed back that the room was full.

Yeah. It's been over a week now and I'm still beyond frustrated. Not just because I didn't get into the panel - shit happens and all that. Because I waited an hour and forty five minutes, and didn't get in. Because I was within the first 500 people in line, and again, somehow didn't get in. Because I could have gone to other panels and done other things that didn't involve sitting in line, and not been upset about missing the panel at all, had I known I wouldn't get in and not bothered waiting in line for it at all (or at least not past someone counting those waiting and telling me I wouldn't).

Obviously, I could go on and on about this, but I'm going to try to wrap this up as quickly as possible.

I've heard several stories regarding what happened.
  • They didn't clear the room after the Torchwood panel - the one that took place right before the Walking Dead panel - was over, and people camped in their seats.
  • They cleared the room from the Torchwood panel, but people who were kicked out pretty much turned back around and busted in with those at the front of the Walking Dead line, and no one stopped them or even attempted to control it.
  • The end of the line for Walking Dead had wrapped back around to the where the line started, and all the people at the end just wormed their way in with those in the front.
  • Convention center employees and/or MegaCon volunteers were working at cross purposes and somehow there were three lines created for the panel, and when they realized this they just gave up trying to control anything at all.
Who knows which of the above are true. I'm guessing it's a combination of at least two of them, but regardless, it was an awful mess and seriously one of the worst experiences I've ever had at a convention. Say what you want about Dragon Con volunteers, but at least they've done a good job at keeping situations like this from happening (at least in my experience, in more recent years).

Thankfully it appears that MegaCon actually worked to keep anything similar from happening as soon as the next day - when the line for the Wil Wheaton panel on Sunday started looking a bit lengthy, they handed out tickets to those who had been waiting so that they would know who to let in, and who not to let in.

But it still leaves the question: for a convention that has been around this long, and been fairly sizable for the past several years, how did MegaCon let things get so very messy for a panel that they had to have known would be the most popular one all weekend? I have yet to figure or find out, and I can only cross my fingers that next year they'll continue this ticketing system to keep something so ridiculous from happening again.

And I promise, the next part of my recap will be at least somewhat more positive :) Pin It

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