The first problem that I noticed right away were the empty tables. Even before the event started there were already a considerable amount of non-occupied tables making the entire layout look barren, which was made worse by the fact that some tables were oddly placed outside the usual artist alley "islands." According to the official Facebook page there were a number of guests who pulled out well in advance of the event so it's a bit strange that they couldn't have reorganized the layout so it didn't look so disconnected. I didn't have much interaction with the staff but they seemed nice enough, it's just a shame that the overall planning was so subpar making everything else seem so disorganized.
By far the worst part of the event however were the attendees themselves, or lack thereof. Simply put this event was a huge let down. I've been to events a fraction of the size that had more attendees. There's no other way of putting it, people just didn't come to this event. Maybe it was the high ticket prices or poor location. I found myself spending more time drawing in my sketchbook then actually interacting with any people. Even when people did stop by, they simply didn't buy anything. Something that was shared by every artist that I asked (originally I thought it was just my table that wasn't selling anything). Saturday was definitely more lively due to the cosplay contest but for a two day event that boasted being one of the biggest in Tennessee it still didn't feel like it. Furthermore Sunday was just plain dead, with many artists and vendors packing up hours before the official end time due to poor sales.
While the affordability and the staff (the few I actually interacted with) were definitely the highlights, it still wasn't enough to offset the obvious disappointments. Either this was a bad year or the event organizers need to seriously reevaluate how this show is run in the future. As for me I will definitely not be coming back.
April 17, 2017, 9:47 pm
The staff were nonexistent, there was only one man at the front of the room but no one walking around or available when we needed them (at one point a guest dropped a glass bottle and it shattered in front of our table). Layout was... okay. Pretty usual for an artist's alley. Attendance was VERY low and by the end of the first day there were way too many empty artist's tables and vendor booths where vendors were deciding it wasn't worth it, packing up and going home early. The venue itself was a bit run down and outside of the city center. The convention itself was scheduled for the same weekend as Rhythm and Blooms which is a HUGE festival every year which is where most of the guests probably were. Poor planning all around.