Home Con News The Thought Bubble Sequential Arts Festival – a visual look back at...

logo - thoughtbubble 2014I’ve been lucky to have been a volunteer at the last couple of comic conventions for the Thought Bubble Sequential Arts Festivals and, while I can only attest to the last two years, I’ve seen the rapid growth and expansion of the event as comic con culture continues to explode not only abroad but very much here in the UK as well.

The organisers, lead by an an enthusiastic and energetic collective of passionate comics fans, adapt to each challenge as the numbers swell throughout the weekend, facing challenges from the stark Yorkshire weather, demands from exhibitors when it comes to space and amenities (especially heating!), and the need to marshal the mass number of attendees that seem to seep into every corner of the Royal Armouries location.

I’ve tried, in the past, to get the Englishman In San Diego website fully up and running, attempting to balance my duties as a volunteer – and also supplying PA equipment to the Festival for the last two years – and all while trying to cover the event for the site… Like with San Diego Comic-Con, I discovered you simply cannot do the two. So, for this year, I’m focusing completely on providing the best coverage I can for you, good reader, as of tomorrow… But that doesn’t mean I don’t have some great memories to share of the last couple of years, before we get started properly with TBF 2014!


 

Thought Bubble Festival 2012: November 2012 was my first year attending Thought Bubble – I had volunteered the previous July at San Diego Comic-Con for the first time, too, and I thought that doing so in a home country event was going to be a breeze… Hardly! I spent my time, running round, setting up and maintaining PA systems in the Royal Armouries Hall for the Phoenix Comic collective, organising lines and generally doing my small part in helping the event run smoothly… This doesn’t mean that I didn’t get to take a couple of pics along the way.


 

 

Thought Bubble Festival 2013: In 2013, things stepped up a gear for me – the AEISD site had literally just gone live that October, I’d had a brilliant summer graduating from a lowly volunteer at San Diego to full-blown Volunteer Staff, actually running an SDCC room… I thought I was a bit more prepared. Clearly not! This time I provided a bit more meatier PA in the Speech Bubble space of Thought Bubble, held in a vacant area of the New Dock venue and this meant also tech-ing the panels in this very make-shift space (making sure all the radio mics were active and mixed properly, sorting out the volumes of the PA, introducing some of the panels, etc).

I loved the Speech Bubble area, it was bare concrete walls, sparse seating made up of cushions strewn over the stands, looking down on a horseshoe of cheap IKEA seats – pulled from the wrapping screwed together that very morning – flanked by a huge wall space with no projection screen, with a bar heater in the corner, not only providing the only heat for the space but also a deep, amber glow, the only real light in the room, giving Speech Bubble a sense of gathering around a campfire to hear the proclamation of renegades. It was incredibly low-fi but that added to the atmosphere of the thing… although, I’d hate to think what the tanlines were like for those unlucky enough to find themselves too close to that heater!

This meant that, for all my plans to nip off and try and catch as many guests as possible, I was kind of hampered by my obligations in that room – bugger! Still, did get to nip off every so often to see what I could see…

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