Things seemed difficult this year. Not only did the Big Four leak, there was a big garbage can in front of our table. There was no water fountains. The new owners must have wanted to cut costs, no over head signs or no names signs for the tables. Pushy at the end to sign up for next year. Some didn't make their tables. Sigh
Pros of this year: They did really try to work on foot traffic for the Big Four building. I always heard that selling in the Big Four was much worse than the BMO. But this year was actually quite good. However I heard from those over in the BMO it suffered in sales and foot traffic for them. They still need to reach a balance I think between the two.
Cons: DO NOT GO TO THE BIG FOUR IF THE FORECAST IS RAIN. The staff won't be helpful at all if you have any problems arise over the weekend
Don't get me wrong, the staff were sweet and even helped me pull my carts but they also had no idea where I should go and dragged me to the wrong building before being redirected back to the correct one.
Time would stretch on for hours where the only people wandering the hall were artists and vendors stretching their legs and trying to stay awake. Thanks to this I got to make some new friends and do some networking but I would have also liked to make some money. While it's in our contract to be ready to open for v.i.p, no V.I.Ps actually came; making it pretty difficult to convince myself to get up an hour earlier only to stare at the table across from me dozing off. Tables that didn't open for v.i.p hours were lightly talked to and reminded that they need to be open for the non existent v.i.ps. I did go check out the BMO building and was floored when I walked in and the crowds were insane! I had to squeeze and wiggle between people because it was so busy and the artists in there were sold out of many items and were doing pretty good. When I went back to the big four, it had a grand total of maybe 50 people wandering around and was overall...depressing. People that did manage to wander in there were saying things like " OMG theres more here!" or "I didn't know about this place". Anime artists and crafters that I talked to were struggling to make any sales. I didn't get to talk to people doing more western pop culture stuff so I can't say how they did. Safe to say, I didn't break even on my travel, accommodations etc
The bright side is that food was downstairs and people that felt overwhelmed with the Bmo building really appreciated the Big four so they could quietly browse and calm down.
Tl:dr Decent con as long as you don't wind up in the Big Four. Anime artists don't do well and Calgary expo's numbers are over exaggerated
Staff and volunteers are extremely not knowledgable in what to do if something goes wrong. If a thief is caught, staff get the artist or individual who caught them to confront and do absolutely nothing on their end. Thieves who are caught one year will get to return next year, and staff/volunteers do not even enforce their height restrictions or content restriction rules.
Overall, if you're near alberta or BC, try it out! If your style is more anime though, I'd avoid this convention and to Otafest instead. If you're travelling from ontario or further away, I'd advise trying closer conventions like Fan Expo to gaige if your product will do well in a comiccon environment. Fan Expo and Calgary expo are almost mirror images of each other despite being run by different people and the buyers are near the same.
Convention used to be major a few years ago, but since Alberta's recession and economy is extremely low, people are on tight budgets and don't have the money to spend like they used to. Not only that but ticket prices to get in are a bit outrageous for families to afford .
They allow people to rebook their tables early, so once your in its great, but trying to get a table for the first time was really insane. I signed up 8 minutes after the webpage went up and was on the waitlist for 9 months.