The Steampunk & Gothic Expo, 2014
When Alan Darr first approached me, early this year about coming to a ‘new’ steampunk convention in Chattanooga, I was all for it. Of course, I wasn’t sure that they could really pull a quality event together in just a few months. Folks I know who work in various conventions had mentioned that most start-up cons take at least a year or more to pull together. So, I was concerned but hoped for the best.
What I found when I arrived was a well-organized event with one of the friendly staffs that I’ve encountered. Check-in was quick and painless. They provided a well-stocked ‘Green Room’ for the guests and vendors. The Dealer’s Room was full of some great steampunk vendors, writers and artist. The ‘steampunk swap meet’ was a big hit. The entertainment, Voltaire, kicked butt and was certainly a hit with the ladies. And the cos-play/costuming was great!
The Dealer’s Room was in the Main Ballroom of the Choo Choo Hotel. While they could have sold more space for vendors, their set-up worked nicely and provided plenty of room for everyone. With it being a first year con, sales were lighter than some of the other Chattanooga conventions, namely Chattacon and Connooga. Having said that, I did more sales at this convention then the last two cons I’ve attended, combined.
There were only a handful of panels. The guest, including myself only had one panel each. Again, it was a first year event and I expect to see a major step-up in the programming next year. I will say that my panel with the lovely J.L. Mulvihill was perhaps the most enjoyable con panel I’ve ever been on.
Although attendance was light, again… first year con, the Choo Choo was rocking with a lot of familiar faces, friends, fellow writers, and folks from the local and surrounding area’s steampunk communities. Not once over the course of the weekend did I hear anyone complaining or stating that they wouldn’t return. Actually, it was the opposite. Everyone kept stating that they plan on returning in 2015.
So bottom line is… this was a great con for a first year. If they keep this level of professionalism and organization, next year promises to be incredible. For those that missed it, plan on going in 2015!