Pop-Con: A con for fans, made by fans
Fan conventions all over the world are some of the biggest events on the calendar for genres and medias of all kinds. From Comic Con, Anime Asia, YouTube’s VidCon to a whole convention dedicated to the sitcom ‘The Office’, the last decade has seen a huge increase in the popularity of these events where fans and stars alike come together to geek out about their favourite things. There is one convention that separates itself from the exclusive target demographics of a lot of conventions and that is Indy Pop Con – a convention in Indiana for all things pop culture.
Back in November 2013, a Kickstarter campaign was launched to raise money and get backers for a new convention that would blend fans ‘favourite aspects of pop culture into one large, fun convention.’ Much like ComicCon, the premise of Indy Pop Con was to bring together different genres, medias, formats and fans of all types of pop culture to celebrate one another’s pop culture interests inclusively both as creators and audiences. As of December 2013 there were 135 backers having raised $16, 584 for the project and on May 30th 2014 Indiana held its first Pop Con.
Having been created by fans of various pop cultures from Doctor Who to My Little Pony, Pop Con focuses on both the creators of pop culture and its fans, hoping to bring people together through their shared geeky-ness. Pop Con promotes and celebrates the ability to create and self-publish in modern society and pledges to help artists grow and share their work with fans all over the world. The convention asks its attendees to keep an open mind when at Pop Con to achieve the goal of experiencing many different areas and interests of pop culture rather than just the one you may attend for. You may attend a Doctor Who fanatic but leave with a new addiction for gaming, Princess Rap Battle or Dragon Ball Z.
This year’s Indy Pop Con took place between 17-19 June at the Indiana Convention Center featuring gaming events, panels and professional workshops. It included guests such as Karen Gillan (Doctor Who, Guardians of the Galaxy), Drew Powell (Gotham, The Pee-wee Herman Show, Malcolm in the Middle), Gizzy Gazza (Gaming Youtuber), Jon Bailey (Screen Junkie’s, Voice of Honest Trailers) and many more from across the Internet, gaming, television/film, anime, art/music, comics etc.
As a celebration of all things geek how this convention differs from others in its inclusivity and fan-based foundations. Rather than celebrating one certain strand of pop culture amongst people alike it not only introduces other elements of pop culture to those who attend but it introduces fan bases to one another, creating an inclusive community where people can learn and grow from one another. Its specific focus on providing the fans with what they want and in turn, its celebration and promotion of creators and self-promoters, allows for a crossing of boundaries between creator and consumer, breaking down barriers that other conventions may create and emphasise which allows creators to thrive off of the response from both old and new fans.
Indy Pop Con 2017 will be held at the Indiana Convention Center, July 7-9.