Staff are golden, as are the attendees. A reliable con. Venue is super confusing for the uninitiated though.
One thing of note, and your mileage may vary here, but I'm not a huge fan of cons in general having super invasive security. Evidently there was an incident a few years back with a gun at this one and now the security is extremely high even for exhibitors. The level of inspection differed by agent to agent, some were SUPER invasive, wanting to look through every nook of all three con equipment bags I had, and some just kinda waved a wooden stick around over your bag and waved you through. All the security agents were nice enough, though I heard complaints that there was a miscommunication that caused the security to throw out exhibitor's food. That was quickly corrected though.
Be prepared to be stuck outside for at least an hour waiting to get through this security line... eeevery day. I'm not a huge fan (again your mileage may vary) but if people wanted to sneak stuff in, it can be snuck in, all this does is delay you, stick you in the hot sun for an hour, invade your privacy, and mess up any organization you had in your bags.
Devils advocate: I can see them doing this security to ease attendee's minds. Apparently people were shy to return to the con because of that incident and the security may partially be a show to bolster confidence. Legally it may also be necessary, I don't know.
TLDR: Definitely go! (then I griped about security for three paragraphs)
Phoenix, hands down, is one of THE best shows- period. For attendees it is 4 days and only $55 if you buy your ticket from December till about March (then it goes up like $5 per month until May to like $75 for a full event pass)
-This is at the Phoenix Convention Center which is 4 levels on main hall, 3 levels on west hall, south hall they dont even need to use yet and they shut down about a 3 square block area during the con. The Hyatt, Sheraton etc all have programming as well
-The show offers about 5,000 hours (yes- thats correct, five THOUSAND) of programming from events, workshops, panels, gaming etc. NO con, not even SDCC (Ive been- very overrated and too packed) or NYCC can touch this value of what you get as an attendee. Phoenix also gets 30-50 celebs, authors, comic book people etc.
-The hotels go from $300 a night (Hyatt/Sheraton etc) to about $125 per night when you book through the con site
-Sky harbor airport (if you fly in) connects to the light rail which is about $2 one way and it drops you right at the convention center steps, which is also right by the Hyatt, a block south of the Sheraton etc
-Arizona Center is 1 block north where there are very affordable restuarants ($5-$15), the convention center has a food court and many mini-foodcourts on the vendor level (basement is main vendor floor... it doesnt feel like a basement but it is sub ground leve) and up on the 3rd floor
As an exhibitor
-$275 for artist alley, which is 6' wide by 10' deep, 2 chairs, 3 badges
-You can renew onsite
-about a 2-3 year wait list but worth waiting to get in
-Exhibitor manager is always on site, on email, on phone etc as well as other staff
-load in/out is easy (vendor is a bit different with the marshalling yard for vehicles, but that is the convention center NOT the con)
-This sees a TRUE attendance of over 100k per year, with turnstyle (which most cons count as their "true attendance") being over 200k
-Sales in artist alley average about $5K for the weekend
-For being about the 3rd largest con in the country they focus on indie as well as celebrity. Ive had exclusives 2 years in a row and it brings sales to your table. I also have a panel about military and first responders in indie art. If I tried to do that at SDCC cause im not "known" or "in the industry" it would be automatically rejected. So for being an indie artist, and wanting that before I had a table, Phoenix is the example shows should go by
-Layout- one of the BEST layouts for a con, period. When you go you can actually find thing and for over 100k people you are not crammed like SDCC and others. The Phx convention center is HUGE
I could go on and on, but even with the security issue this year (which other cons still have ZERO security, period- we do about 30 shows per year) phx is still rock solid and one of the best shows for attendees and exhibitors
the other review says it wont be around much longer.... its going on close to 20 years so thats not an accurate statement. I think the complaint is due to the change in cosplay props that are allowed
A- you shouldnt have replica weapons at any show
B- you should have a louisville slugger for your harley quinn cosplay... thats an actual WEAPON. If you disagree I will hit you over the head with a nerf bat and then the slugger- you tell me which should be allowed then lol
C- The whole cosplay scene is very tiresome when as an exhibitor MANY cosplayers set stuff down on your table, knock things over with their large props etc. If you cant take a big ass prop or something that is a weapon or looks like a weapon- you can stay home. And people use the "but too bad we dont have a show where everyon has guns and are peaceful".... yeah, at a gun show you dont get to walk around with WEAPONS IN YOUR HANDS (training/fake or real). Stupid argument and this was the CONVENTION CENTERS rules, not the con as it was nearly identical new rules for the AZ game on expo (great show) that was held a few months later at the phx convention center
Also dont know what MTOGG is talking about with "ripping off volunteers"- paid staff is now due to emerald city con being sued a few years back. Learn your history before you write a review- they are talking where volunteers had to apply to the 501c7 (blue ribbon army) to be considered for volunteering (it was like 20 bucks). If they didnt get chosen, they wouldnt get money back. That was later changed to the for-pay staff so its a non-issue even before it started. THis also sounds alot like the volunteer that went on rate that comic con that complained about the change in volunteering and said that volunteers should have things like their entire wednesday to monday morning hotel stay paid for (if you volunteer, you most likely live near the con, why the hell would a con pay for your hotel stay?????????), they demanded vegan mean vouchers (AZ center has vegan options and when you volunteer you are GIVING your time, thats it- no expecation in return, thats why its called VOLUNTEERING, if you are given something its a benefit) and many other insane demands that as bad as it sounds- is just whining
Dont know about the "dick pics" in the con- how would someone even know about this unless this sounds like vendor drama between vendors- was this an attendee, vendor, staff etc? just says "some guy"
Great show, highly recommend.