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Statement from showmasters

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Hi Everyone

 

First off i just want to say Sorry to the fans that had issues at the event on Saturday

 

I plan to go into each issue we had on here and also explain what we did differently on Sunday to help things work better and what we have planed for next years event to make it work 100% of everyone attending.

 

 

 

our pre show tickets were good just like Glasgow and Cardiff which we felt was the same type of events so we could use the same models to run our first Newcastle comic con.

 

 

the day started fine with the morning early entry on Saturday, all going in like normal.

 

pre paid ticket holders came in and pay on the day customers came in without an issue and everything was fine at that point.

 

we had talked over with the venue what numbers of public we both felt would be safe having in the building at one time and we would review that over the day every 30 minutes or so as it was a new event.

 

we then let in the 11am standard pre paid and pay on the day customers and as normal the pre paid went in faster than pay on the day, so we felt that they would all get in with out any issues

 

we knew that the hall would start to fill up like all our events and we would have to stop the pay on the day customers and impose a one in one out again like we have done at other events in the past. it slows the door down and works well. things on the day seemed normal and there did not seem to be any issues and things would be fine and all was on track.

 

The door continued to enter both sides pre paid and pay on the day for around 25 minutes. then the venue management called me on the radio and said that they wanted to go over numbers and capacity. we had been looking at the main hall and it looked fine and was flowing well still at that time.

 

we met up to review the numbers and we started to see that there were some bottle necks in the lobby forming and that as more people came in this may create some issues later on. also something odd was happening , the early birds that came in at 9 am was not leaving, something that normally happens.

 

At all our events when the 11 am crowd come in a lot of the collectors that come in at 9am start to leave the show its around 400 to 500 a hour and we take this into consideration when working out our numbers in the hall.

 

it hit me that the food outlets at Newcastle arena are very good and there is nothing outside the venue so the big leave that happens at all our events was not happening and the fans planed to be there for much longer that our other events.

 

so before things got to a point where it was unsafe in any way we needed to act and act fast and do the right thing to be safe.

 

we talked this over with the venue and agreed we needed to close both lines for the show, both pre paid and pay on the day and as people left the venue we would first let pre paid in then when that line was clear we would let in pay on the day customers.

 

we did this, it was slow at the start with people leaving but for everyone that did leave we let in another pre paid ticket holder.

 

then we had the issue of people with photo ops that are time sensitive

 

i went down the line my self to talk to each person to ask if they had any photo ops and what time would they be and if there was going to be an issue i would have taken them to the front of the line.

 

Just at that point i found some very upset people that had been told to join the wrong queue by the security guard at the back for the venue. this guard did not understand the system we had in place where pre paid are on one side of the building and pay on the day on the other. so he was telling everyone join what ever queue you want which is not right and was creating bigger issues for us. he was not a member of our crew but contracted in by the venue.

 

so i stopped what i was doing then and went to the back of the building to stop him giving people that wrong info.

 

i then got 4 of our showmasters crew to go on the back of all the lines to inform people what was the right line to get into rather than leaving it to the contracted security people.

 

we then spent the next 30 minutes going up and down the line finding people that were in the wrong line and taking them to a new line we created at the front of the venue so these people that had queued for a long time did not have to join the back of the pay on the day line and have to start again as that would not be right or fair ether. so we did this and after 45 minuets we had the right people in the right lines and we were once again on top of this.

 

now it was back to getting the people with photo ops in so they do not miss there shoots.

 

By this time the line for pre paid was moving forward and at a reasonable pace.

 

Some people at this time had missed one or two of the Dr Who shoots but as we had a Tardis shoot with both Dr Whos we could give them as a upgrade so they did not loose out on the shoot. so we found everyone that had a shoot and took them to a new small line at the front of the venue and filtered them in also. there were only around 25 of them and i would say is was around 5 to 7 people that had missed their shoots that we offered a swap for so that resolved the photo shoot issues. the line was going in much faster now and by 2pm the pre paid line was in.

 

its not how we would have wanted it to be but we did our best to look after the pre paid line as soon as we found out there was an issue.

 

now for the standard ticket holders that were paying on the day to enter. we leased with the venue over the day to regulate the number of people in the venue and it was very clear that the public did spend much more time in the hall than at our other events around the country and that was something we did not expect. this did create an issue for getting the people into the the show but we had a one out one in system in place which got faster as more people stated to leave the venue.

 

We kept on looking at the numbers and as soon as a group of 25 to 50 left we let in another 25 to 50 , the line for standard walking pay on the day ended at 4pm which is very late for us at our events but everyone that waited to get in did get in if they had waited in line and everyone was in and it was open queue from 4 pm till the show closed at 6pm

 

 

 

 

 

These are the facts we wanted to share them with you all and be up front, we also wanted to show you that we did act as soon as there was see to be a issue and i feel we did act in the right way and in a safe and controlled way.

 

now to what we did differently the next day the Sunday with the help of hindsight , showmasters may make mistakes but we never make the same mistake twice we do adapt and lean and we change things to make this work better so this is what we did.

 

 

 

 

we had a final number hall capacity that was agreed with the venue and the safety officer which we took off another 200 people off just to give us that extra bit of confidence that it will be safe and nice to walk around

 

next we planned to let the earlybird pre paid in and then let in the pay on the day early bird in but we kept it to a limit to what we would sell so all the pre paid standard ticket holders coming in at 11pm the hall would have the capacity for them to just walk in, this was done and it all worked 100% and everyone earlybird got in by 10am and the pre paid standard ticket holders also got in with in a 30 minuets.

 

The standard entry pay on the day walk ins kept on coming in for the rest of the afternoon and we did not have to limit the queue coming in as this day the morning crowd started to leave as the 11am crowd came in like all our other events and there was never a need to slow down entry or stop people coming in, so the sunday was fixed and worked how it should have worked .

 

everyone that wanted to attend the show on sunday was in the building by 2pm and most had only had to wait for 30 minuets after the doors had opened so it all worked fine.

 

 

 

 

So how to fix it for next years events so there are no issues for any of you or us in the future, this is our plan

 

 

1 we will be taking up less floor space for stands and features in the main hall up to around 30% less at the next show and moving things out of the main hall giving much more space in the main hall and giving us more capacity for the public and making it nicer to move around.

 

2 we will move both photo ops our of the lobby and into two rooms under the seating at the bottle of the corridors on

ether side of the main hall.

 

3 we plan to take out some of the wall panels throughout the main hall giving more access for people to get around the venue

 

4 we will load the talk zones from above the seating and these will be exited by the corridors underneath the seating

 

5 with these new lay out we will be able to let more people enter the event at one time which will help with queueing outside the building

 

6 when we sell walk in tickets on the day we will be holding back the right amount for all pre paid ticket holders they whey are guaranteed entry with out any issue.

 

 

 

Once again i want to say on behalf of everyone here we are sorry that there were delays and issues on the day getting into the event. this was mostly down to pure volume of fans wanting to attend and that did take us by surprise.

 

we are all con going fans here everyone of us and we want to treat you the same way we would want to be treated ourselves and on Saturday that did not happen , this will not happen again with this new plan of action in place.

 

Anyone that did not get to use there entry ticket or photo op tickets please do drop us a email and we will be happy to refund your money asap and help in any way we can.

 

we could never have believed that so many of you come to this first event and that there was going to be so much demand, thank you for the support and we will not let you down. we plan to bring bigger guests to the next Newcastle comic con as the demand there to meet the guests was like our london show so we will be looking to bring many more grate guest over the years to come.

 

i would just like to thank our Showmaters crew that on the day worked very hard to help as many of you as they could and some that stood outside all day even when everyone was inside they still stood out side helping anyone that came up the event.

 

we do listen and we do very much care about each and everyone of you and we are very humble here by this weekend ,once again sorry thank you for taking the time to read this post.

 

sincerely yours

 

Jason

 

showmaters

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The only thing I find perculiar about this is:

also something odd was happening , the early birds that came in at 9 am was not leaving , something that normally happens ?

We paid doubnle the price of standard tickets and there were talks on all day. Early in the day we were allowed to go out and come back in but by lunch time on the Saturday we were told that if we left we weren't allowed back in. I needed money and food and the cash point inside the venue had an insanely long queue that wasn't moving, plus it was £4.50 for 1 slice of pizza which I found ridiculous.

 

We ended up missing quite a few of the talks that we wanted to see as we were told earlier in the day we would be able to leave for food etc and then be allowed back in but unfortunately that wasn't the case. We ended up leaving at 1 and missing the talks I wanted to see.

 

The Sunday was organised much better though as we were allowed out and then back in without any issues at all. The Saturday could have been managed better so that people didn't have to miss talks that they wanted to see but all in all it was an awesome weekend.

 

Just can't wait until next time =)

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yes the venue did impose that people could not just reenter the building after the one in one out was in play and we could not get them the change that on the day so some people that had left the building did have to re join the line, this was not what we wanted to do and on the Sunday we put forward a second queue for reentry to the event and that worked well .

 

it was also good as the cash points run out of money out he Sunday also again some thing that will be fixed for next time also venues are surprised that the they run out of money every first time event

 

jason

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Jason the event was too popular you damned either way :king: .....stopping the in and out from the event did cause a bit of the problem...s this is a norm with events..but stadium security are a bit jumpy there......even stop us klingons going outside because quote "we might start a riot"

DSC_0157_zpsb4de79da.jpg

Edited by gosh

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One question is there likely to be a second event at Newcastle this year as there seems to be some confusion

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One question is there likely to be a second event at Newcastle this year as there seems to be some confusion

I would assume from this following comment, no.

 

So how to fix it for next years events so there are no issues for any of you or us in the future, this is our plan

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Note from QS: Sorry, non-SM events can't be discussed on the forum.

 

 

edit: Sorry, didn't realise this at the time of posting, was just passing on info I'd received from one of the artists at NFCC

Edited by ant1012

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Simply put , it's a common occurence at ANY event that the cashpoints ALWAYS run out of money, and would hope that the Sheffield Venue management are informed of this, so that the cashpoints there are topped up on the Friday. Surely Showmasters can at least request this when liasing with a new venue ? But for all the new attendees at Newcastle, please understand that at any established event such as LFCC, MK , the cashpoints do get emptied.

 

I see people also commenting about food prices, again this is outwith SM's control, food / drink prices are down to the venue, and surely it's common knowledge that if attending an event of ANY sort , that you can expect to pay through the nose for food.

 

Maybe those with local knowledge could put together a list of places nearby where people can go for food ? As the issue with not getting back in to the event will settle down, all that happened here was it was underestimated how many attendees would turn up, and by the sounds of it, maybe not enough communication between SM and event security that's supplied by the venue ( and overzealous Security Officer ! )

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That was a good statement and answers my questions (I think I was one of the people you talked to in the queue). Thanks for posting it and good to hear everything is in hand for the next event. A massive thank you to the Showmasters staff / volunteers, who were friendly and generally canny to chat with.

 

It's also GREAT to hear it's going to be 'bigger guests' next time. As London is out of my price range, that is just awesome news :D

 

The rumour about another event this year was because the local news mentioned in their report their 'might' be one. However, they did not reference a source, so tbh that could have just been made up / wishful thinking from them.

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I can honestly say that over the 2 days I attended this event I never once encountered any problems with the staff or the running of the event...Other convention goers however were another story. I wasn't aware that there were so many ignorant cosplayers around these days, pushing and shoving there way past wheelchair users was a disgrace, especially when they were struggling to get through the aisles on Saturday. Also stopping in the middle of a very busy aisle simply to have a photo taken was just pure and unadulterated stupidity.

 

One slight piece of advice for next time, don't put the Ghostbusters guys right next to one of the entrances/exits and on a bend to the main hall. Because they had so much amazing stuff on display, loads of people would just stop and clog up the aisle. Maybe give them their own area away from a busy intersection from the entrance doors next time :)

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Jason.

 

I did not have any real issue at all over the weekend. The only issue that you covered was the lack of space in the main hall which you have covered thoroughly. I do have friends who had one or two problems with the issues you covered and they are happy with your reply.

 

I and many others can't wait until next years show and the great guests you have planned. It would be a pleasure to have Chris Judge back in Newcastle as he went down very well.

 

Keep up the good work.

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Excellent statement Showmasters! :thumbup:

 

I only attended on Sunday due to work on Saturday (pre-paid early bird tickets though) & I must admit after reading what everyone was saying on Saturday I was worried! But they pulled it together & even though there must have been 200+ people in front of us in the queue at 8.40, once the doors were opened we were in within 5 minutes!

We had an outstanding day & never encountered a single hiccup. :dance:Job well done guys!

We will definitely be attending next year, both days this time, & I am over the moon at the promise of bigger guests :clap:

One piece of advice would be to utilise every bit of available space the best you can. Great that you're going to use the rooms either side of the hall for shoots instead of the lobby! I'd maybe use that space in the lobby where the shoots were for whatever car you get for next year. It was getting quite crowded around Bumblebee so putting it out of the way instead of in the main hall would maybe work better? Handing people a map of some sort as they walk in may be a good idea too although I know that the team is always on hand if you can't find anything. :smile:

Once again I have to say I am already super excited for next year and I look forward to the first guest announcements! :dance:

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I just want to say on behalf of all of the cosplayers that there were no cloakrooms to store items for both cosplayers and the other con-goers. This was said on the website that there were changing rooms and cloakrooms available but when we turned up none of the staff knew anything about it and then when we finally trailed around half the convention we were told there was absolutely nowhere we could store our stuff. So we dragged suitcases around the convention, which didn't help with the crowded-ness. I'm just saying that after it was put on the website they could of at least had a desk where we could leave bags and such and have someone to take care of them.

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After reading all of Saturday's negative reports we were very apprehensive about attending on Sunday. We arrived around 8.30 (pre-paid early bird tickets) and were inside by 9.05. Staff came along the queue regularly to ensure everyone had the correct tickets and, when they realised standard ticket holders were in with the early bird they immediately started a third queue which supports the statement that lessons were learnt!

We enjoyed the day but noted a few things that could be improved on (some have already been covered)

1) The stalls were very repetitive and cramped into a small space (it was funny listening to the stall holders claiming they had genuine items whereas others sold fake items)

2) The maps that were on display were incorrect and SM staff (as one said we are the minions you need to speak to the ones in red shirts lol) were unsure of where things were - we were told the GoT throne was in a side room, near the main entrance etc before we decided to wander until we found it.

3) The Talk areas were labelled A and B but the map said 1 and 2 - again this confused the SM staff we asked. Once inside the talk area it was clear they were set up for a much smaller crowd and although we were 2 foot from a speaker (facing the opposite direction to us) we could barely hear

These are small points in the grand scheme of things but they do impact on the day. I will be back next year as, if that was SM at their worst, I can't wait to see them at their best!

 

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I think that statement covers everything really well. I'm looking forward to next year. Can't wait till tickets go onsale!

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i was thinking for the Photo shoots, the arena has an upstairs with nice rooms which may have been more suitable, therefore creating more floor space plus will move some of the queues upstairs.

 

also the arena has Large TV screens in the lobby, maybe this could be used to call ticket numbers for the photo shoots / give directions / pass on information to attendees

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I was an early bird and stayed until around 3-3:30 simply because I had a Carl Weathers photo op and it was very late in the day I had to stay until, and when I asked at the door if they would let me back in if I left, they told me if I got in the queue... I ended up swapping it for a different autograph voucher because we ran out of things to do, but people stay for the talks too

 

When you say have 30% less stalls, will they be somewhere else like out in the lobby? Because I think people stay just as much for the stalls as the guests etc...

 

And we found an issue in the talks with hearing, there wasn't a lot of seating in the block in front of the guests and if you sat in a block to either side, you heard nothing.

Edited by Wall_E

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Guest johnson1970

First and foremost I'm there for the Dealers and them the Guests, so personally if there is a reduction in stalls, Imay reconsider sticking to my local event next year. Maybe as has been suggested before a list of Dealers with a small description of what they are bringing is the way forward.

 

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also something odd was happening , the early birds that came in at 9 am was not leaving, something that normally happens.

 

My husband and I left considerably early on Saturday because the last photoshoot that he wanted to go to was at half 12, however even early birds should be allowed to stay as long as they like. We pay good money like everybody else, so I don't understand why we are expected to leave early? Or am I misunderstanding something?

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You're not expected to leave early. Jason was just commenting on previous trends from events :)

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Don't worry, people don't normally get kicked out unless the show is finished :D

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also something odd was happening , the early birds that came in at 9 am was not leaving, something that normally happens.

 

My husband and I left considerably early on Saturday because the last photoshoot that he wanted to go to was at half 12, however even early birds should be allowed to stay as long as they like. We pay good money like everybody else, so I don't understand why we are expected to leave early? Or am I misunderstanding something?

 

I would not take this as a criticism. I do not think SM are saying you shouldn't be staying around for too long. Since they have a lot of experience with these events they normally have a pretty good idea when crowds are coming in, leaving etc. For whatever reason (and it's not photo shoots because they are at every other show as well) people were staying longer than normally.

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