Colorado Anime Fest 2016 Our Weekend

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I love small conventions for their charm, personality and character quirks. Colorado Anime Fest did not feel like a small convention, for a first year startup it was well developed and executed very well. It felt like an older convention that has come out of retirement to rise again.  Sure there were some snags and a few items that should be addressed but every convention has a few, even mega cons have some low points. That said I really want to commend the staff and volunteers for doing a great job. I hope to see the convention grow a bit more, the turnout was very good for a first year, 2,500+ people showed up and enjoyed the convention. The guest line up was fantastic, I got some time to sit down with a few of them and I got an interview with Matthew Mercer and got to speak with all the guests throughout the weekend. Their feedback was all positive. Well lets get into the weekend.

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Friday

The hotel was nice, I really did like the hotel as hotels go. There were 2 panel rooms, a main events hall, a game room, a photo area, an autograph area, a cafe, tabletop games area, and an artist ally up the middle of it all. I think the layout was good, and space was enough for a first year.

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Check in was okay but ran into a few minor snags, and thankfully parking was not an issue at all. I liked the hotel overall but I really did not like our room as we were right next to a train yard and it really ruined my sleep for the weekend. Don’t get me wrong I love trains but I can’t sleep when they are blowing horns and crashing all night long.

Checked out the artist ally and dealers room. Both are pretty good sized and a decent selection of merch and goods overall.

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Opening ceremony was derp overall and started 30 minutes late with no clear start or stop and no MC or anyone taking the lead on this event.

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At the last moment guest Cristina Vee was then selected to read the notes for the weekend, rules and introduce the guests. The event ran smoothly in her hands but this was a rough start and I hope to see improvement in years to come.

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We hung around main events for the AMV. Odd to have the AMV contest on a Friday, just my thought. AMV started just a bit late, but this was not unexpected. An AMV on Friday is not normal for this and many other reasons. The setup for the stage and sound system and lights had not changed from opening ceremony. Chairs and tables were left on stage in front of the small screen with the projector on the table. Seems no one took charge of this event and at one point I got up and worked with staff to remove the chairs from the stage and move the volume up a bit, but was told the hotel would not allow very high volumes due to the restaurant above the main events hall. Again this is why you can’t have an amv contest on a Friday during dinner time. Here is short list of things wrong with this event. I don’t mean to poke but this really was the low point of my weekend and many others who sat in there for 3 hours.

  • 45 minutes of “AMV’s pre-roll was a poor choice and caused many guests to leave before the contest began.
  • Using VGA to the projector caused a bad distortion that caused an off picture effect that gave us a headache.
  • The projector was throwing in the wrong aspect ratio, wrong projector for the job.
  • Lights were never dimmed and doors never closed.
  • When the show rolled over from pre-roll to show nothing was said and little transitions.
  • Speakers were set so low in volume it was hard to enjoy the music as the hallway was louder then the show.
  • Most of the AMV’s featured were old, some taken straight from other conventions from 2014 or older.
  • When asked who was running the contest I was told “not sure”

Please take this criticism in a positive light and make next years AMV something to attend.

After the AMV contest we went for dinner, while on the way back from dinner we walked out to a restaurant and back. On the way back we were turning the corner from the street heading into the hotel when someone on the balcony of the hotel 3rd or 4th floor threw a liquor bottle out the window at us, hitting a light post and shattering. I notified security but little could be done.

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After this fun little run in I retired to my room for a short while and then went to the gaming room. Had some fun playing street fighter and various rhythm games. I spoke with some folks with gaming room and had a pretty good time.

I have mixed feelings about Friday, I had an okay time but there were some pain points that just stuck out and would not fade from my mind.

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Saturday

After a rough night of lack of sleep due mostly to trains, we rolled out of bed and stumbled to the press breakfast for some coffee and information. After this we planned out our day and headed out.

I Wandered con looking for photos, I must note there were a ton of pro photographers and not a lot of space to work. I did not get many photos this year around the convention because the lack of cos players available for shooting, this is nice problem to have, side effect of having a ton of pro photographers all over the place.

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I really wanted to shoot some cosplay outdoors but the wind was so bad it drove everyone indoors. It was clear, cool and super super windy.

We went panel hoping for most of the day, stopping in at the dealers room and artist ally as we went along.

The Password game show was fun,

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After Game show we got setup for the C&C contest. This year we shot video and photos. The lighting was very challenging to deal with.

Video from C&C

Photos from C&C

Colorado Anime Fest 2016 C&C

 

After C&C we headed back to our room to unload content and get some dinner.

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Only the best pizza in Colorado. Honestly it is nice having so much food near by.

After eating dinner we voted on what we wanted to do for the evening. Had a few drinks, and took a vote.

Chris Patton Shares to much Panel. If you never have been to this panel your missing out. Chris is a fantastic story teller and will answer just about any question honestly and in his own way. This panel is fearless and open minded, if you are easily offended this is not your panel. We had a blast overall. I have done interviews with Chris in the past and he always puts a smile on my face.

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After Chris we wandered from Panel to Panel checking out some of the Adult and late night panels. Some of the content was over the top, so much so we felt it worth mentioning to staff. I won’t go into details about these instances but I feel they won’t be an issue next year. After that we stopped into the Gaming Room\Area.

Game room

It was a pretty nice room, missing a few things but not bad overall. We really enjoyed the music games and PC setup.

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We went back to our room and I shot some more photos from our balcony.

Denver Night photos

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Rave

After this we got some Caffeine and headed down to the rave. I took some photos and dance around for a while. I really wished they booked more DJ’s as the tunes were all the same beat, same speed and over time became dry.

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Sunday

 Sunday came quickly, We we had to clean our room,  back our bags and get everything loaded up. We headed back to the press room for another quick breakfast meeting and  After that we a sit down interview with Mathew.  This was a shared interview with the CAF PR Team.

After this interview we packed up our gear and got some lunch. We wandered the Con floor and checked out the dealers and artists all one more time. At this point the weekend had caught up with me, and I got sick. We at this point had to leave.

Final Thoughts

We had a good weekend overall. There were some highs there were some lows, but overall a fantastic first year convention. I would recommend CAF to anime fans, gamers, and geeks alike. I hope to see this convention grow, I would love a bigger hotel and less trains in the future. I enjoyed the guests and the events and honestly I feel next year will be even better. I hope the staff takes the feedback and addresses it, I feel CAF has a bright future and with some tuning and changes can become even better.

PROS:

  • Fantastic Guest Lineup
  • Well organized events *for the most part*
  • Solid venders room and artist ally
  • Fun events and good game rooms

CONS:

  • Bad AMV
  • To Many Pro Phtograhers setting up everywhere in public spaces
  • Lack of Line control caused confusion at times
  • Trains and the area can be rough
  • Late night panels and 18+ events need to be monitored and toned down
Chris Samaripa
About Chris Samaripa 596 Articles
Writer, editor, photographer.

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