Unfortunately, year three was very disappointing. The artists were increased from the previous year, with what I feel was close to 30+ artists. Unfortunately, attendance suffered immensely. There were no sales and almost no people past 6, and the alley closes at 8. Similar to last year, the alley was split into three-four rooms (one room only seemed to have two large booths in it). I was placed in the second to last room, farthest down the hallway. I am not sure if the other rooms did better, but I noticed that traffic was very slow, especially towards the end of the day.
I get the unfortunate feeling that Washicon is stagnating a bit as a convention. I never see any local on campus or off campus advertising for the event, and this is a shame as the local university has many opportunities for advertising with dozens of free flyer boards and a well circulated university paper that would be great to run some ads in. Washicon seems to primarily be running on word of mouth, which is unfortunate as the attendance of the previous two conventions does not seem to be carrying over. This may be a result of a lack of diverse programming and new events. With seemingly very few attempts to draw in new people and not enough variety to keep the old audience, Washicon's attendees are steadily dropping.
The atmopshere overall was very subdued from the previous year. There was a noticeable lack of excitement, and attendees were less interested in buying. Washicon in past years was a convention where it was easy to carry on long conversations with attendees, but this year did not carry that same attitude. In general, it felt like there were too many artists to attendees, and I'm hesitant to recommend this convention to anyone unless Washicon really steps up its advertising for the next year.
That said, the layout was definitely more spacious as compared to last year (the middle rows were removed, leaving only tables along the walls, which was greatly appreciated as it made the room much less cramped). Staff is very helpful and active, and the convention is extremely affordable, especially for artists just starting out (tables remain at $30). But I would not attend this convention in the future unless it was very local (less than 30 minutes), and be prepared for the last half of the day to basically be empty. I really hope Washicon can address these issues in the future, as I do want a convention in my hometown and connected with my university to succeed.
All in all, I believe Washi Con is worth it, especially for those just starting out! I hope to return next year and be a part of their Artist Alley for sure!
The people running it were really great. I was pleasantly surprised, I will definitely go back.
The rest of the event ran smoothly! They had helpers holding the doors open for the vendors/artists! They also had these cute laser cut little badges that looked kind of like Pokemon badges! They got more attendees through the door than anticipated too! Honestly, my complaints are pretty minor and can be learned from for following years. I think the con itself was run pretty well and the venue was pleasant but kind of a pain to load into.
Overall, I would recommend this con to others! I think the staff will grow with the show and things will get even better as time goes on!
The convention was held at EMU and any college-held conventions can have it's drawbacks for space. Aside from the artist alley being rather warm, everything was put together really well and I'm very happy with the unexpectedly high attendance rate. We outsold our previous high selling one-day convention and will definitely be returning.