I absolutely LOVE small conventions. There’s enough room to navigate the halls (or wherever they’re held), the creators and stalls there are always really friendly and happy to talk to you about anything and everything, and all the people that go always seem happy. I don’t get chance to get to many big cons (the exception being Thought Bubble in Leeds) so I try to get to every small con I can. When I found out that there was a con being held in Nottingham, an hour away from me on the train, I made sure to get there!
Held on Saturday, October 5th, NerdFest was the first of its kind in Nottingham, and was held in the Brittania Hotel, from 10AM-4PM. It featured 54 independent comics creators and vendors, and big names in the form of Gary Erskine, John MCrea, Garen Ewing, Marc Laming, Lee Sullivan, Steve Beckett, and guest caricaturist Paul Holmes. There were also bands Three Thirds Below, Prefontaine, and Kerosene Queen who played at various intervals throughout the day. Star Wars cosplay group 501st UK Garrison were also there in full costume, making it a normal sight to see storm troopers running around!
Despite the fact I got there two hours after the doors opened, there were still lots of people around, and the con was definitely bustling! While I would have liked more directions on the site for how to get to the Brittania Hotel, my buddy-in-arms Robin and I still found our way there eventually, with the help from a few cosplayers and a taxi ride. The event was very well organised and very well put together, and the panels looked and sounded very interesting! The Brittania Hotel was a great place to host it as well, as all of the rooms that the vendors were in had ample room to move and have a chat.
Anyway, preamble about the ins and outs of the event over, now to talk about my experience there! I thought there was a great selection of indie artists there, and I loved being able to meet a variety of people I knew through Twitter, and I spent a lot of money at various stalls! I got the chance to chat to Owen MacRae of Beep Club, and bought a super cute t-shirt and print from him. I chatted to Richard Smith who had taken his Red Fox comics over, and had conjured up a new short comic especially for the con. By the time I’d got to the end of the lobby, I was already a fair amount of money down, on account of buying pretties from Owen, The Dawg from Richard, and two prints from 5th Dimension comics artist James Priestly. As I walked through the rest of the hotel, admiring cosplayers and various stalls, I eventually came across the main hall, where the majority of the stalls were. While there, I spoke to Gary Erskine about his new project Roller Grrrls, and asked him to sign my Dad’s copy of The Filth. He was an absolutely lovely guy and I’m so happy I was able to chat to him. Robin and I walked around some more and we came across John McCrea’s table. After listening to him chat to some other people for a while, I spoke to him about NerdFest, bought a The Boysprint, and asked him to sign my copy of The Boys: Over The Hills With The Swords Of A Thousand Men, which he did happily. In the big hall I also met NichAngell, mastermind behind 7String and finally picked up a copy of the first volume of 7String, after having been introduced to his wonderful work through Heavenly Chord with Jon Lock.
Overall, it was a really nice day out and I got some great things! I’m already looking forward to next year.