LFCC - Summer
Showmaster Events is one of Europe’s largest comic convention organizers, organizing and hosting events in Germany, Amsterdam, Birmingham, London, Glasgow, Sheffield, Cardiff, and Exeter.
They provide help for any attendees that need extra help as in a carer or who cannot stand in a queue by asking them to register for a wrist band.
This was taken directly from their website:
“Extra Help pass – this is a wristband that identifies you to the crew as someone who needs assistance during the event.
Carers Entry - We offer one free carers entry when accompanying an attendee that requires extra help. This permits access to the event for the sole purpose to assist with the full paying attendee and as such those entering with this pass will not be permitted to take part in any activities as an individual e.g. Photo shoots or autographs.”
The staff on the door where very helpful, even telling us that if we did not need to be in early that at 11 am they opened the other entrances and exits for use.
The stalls on the main floor where all accessible on the Friday and Sunday, but on Saturday the show was sold out and as per Showmasters they had crammed in as many people as possible, this made it virtually impossible to get round in a wheelchair, especially as any free space, mainly around the photoshoot area, people were sitting on the floor.
All props were accessible so where the autograph lines and the photo booths. They had virtual queue tickets for the autograph lines, so all you had to do was ask for one and it would have a number on to enable you to return back later and join the queue. If the queue was small enough the staff would let you on the back of the line.
Apart from the confusion in the photo area and the crowds that were not controlled very well at all, overall the event seemed to run very well. If you had a carers wrist band you made yourself known to the crew and you were then asked to wait, but due to the numbers, this became very big very quickly and again hard for the crew to handle, then the guests needing extra help where weaved into the queue as and when it was viable to do so
For anyone in a wheelchair it was easy enough to be called in your batch number and wait your turn, I did notice a lot of people who were in wheelchairs whose carers had wrist bands using them to jump the queues, in fact, I did not have a wrist band and entered the photo booth both ways. I waited for my batch to be called for both Robert Carlyle, Jason Momoa, and Tom Ellis but for Matthew Lillard, they did not check to see if I had a carer or a wrist band, saw the wheelchair and told me to wait in the group of people needing extra care. I was then pushed into the queue without checking for any wrist bands and twice my husband was ushered for a photoshoot although he had not purchased a photoshoot ticket, but did not take the shoot and explained that he did not have a ticket.
So compared to the last time I was at their biggest summer convention at the Olympia in London, there was a definite improvement, more space, seats, better organization, staff seemed to be all singing from the same sheet and although they still crammed as many in as possible on the Saturday to the point of making it near impossible to move or access anything (after all they are a business and are in the business of making money), it ran as smooth as any major convention could ( apart from the odd hiccup which is only to be expected at this kind of things) and overall a very enjoyable experience. Keep it up Showmasters and keep tweaking it, perfection is not far away!