Nova Scotia Con Overwhelmed By Crowd

Lines to get into Halcon. Photo by Julia Wong.

Lines to get into Halcon. Photo by Julia Wong.

Hal-Con, a media con in Halifax, Nova Scotia, is in its fourth year but still making rookie mistakes. When crowds exceeded capacity on Saturday (November 9) the fire marshal refused to allow any more people into the facility, including many who had bought tickets in advance.

Several factors contributed to the problem. The con sold prepaid day passes that didn’t designate a particular day of attendance – and unsurprisingly, many fans wanted to come on Saturday. Even more problematic, Hal-Con allowed free admission to the first floor of its facility, the dealers area, only requiring tickets for the second and third floors. So plenty of non-paying visitors were in the building when it reached capacity.

According to the CBC story, the crowd erupted in anger at the announcement — implying fans expressed violent emotions, although comments on the story said people were upset but orderly under the watchful eyes of firefighters and police.

For those who stayed, the wait to get in was reportedly six hours. Refunds were offered – and those who wanted them ended up standing in another long line in the snow and cold.

Among the unhappy were people who had been admitted, then left the building for lunch and were taken aback when they were unable to return to the con.

A notice on the Hal-Con website said that on Sunday they were no longer allowing people onto the vendor floor for free, and that “from now on tickets will be sold per day in order for us to better know how many people to expect.”

A spokesperson told Global News more than 4,500 tickets had been sold and the con will look for a bigger venue for next year’s event.

3 thoughts on “Nova Scotia Con Overwhelmed By Crowd

  1. I am going to be so happy when geek stuff (like Trek, SF, comics, gaming, vampires) falls out of fashion and cons shrink back to some reaonable size. Horrors … what if it never does? What if geekiness will be the defining feature of Western Culture for the next 500 years? Will San Diego Comics con top 2,000,000 attendees by 2025? Will written SF books still sell a mere 5,000 copies? Probably…

  2. Well written books still seem to be in minority for casual readers judging from the tree killers Stephen King and Dan Brown and hosts of other “in demand” writers. Why are conventions getting crowded? Maybe there are lots of people with nothing better to do? And they like comic books?

  3. The Calgary Comic Con made the same mistakes in 2012, with angry fans shut out who had paid hundreds to see Star Trek actors and were shut out by day-trippers. I don’t go to media circuses like those but my understanding is that for 2013 they learned their lesson and didn’t sell tickets at the door.

    I much prefer our local readercon When Words Collide. 400 people at most, no Sailor Moons or overweight Klingons roaming the halls.

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