This event had appeared on my Facebook timeline a few weeks back and I was undecided as to whether to attend or not. After chatting with my friends Ian and Denise over a beer or two on Friday evening, we decided that we’d head over and see what was going on. And I must say, I’m really glad we did!
Holding such an event in a shopping centre could prove to be awkward. It’s not easy to hold an event in a purpose built environment, so I was interested to see how they coped with using a busy shopping centre. The event was a lot bigger than I thought it would be, but how well attended it was really took me by surprise. The place was packed!
With the pull of some guest signings really did make the difference compared to other smaller events. Paul Warren & Clem So were in attendance, who both have credits for work on Star Wars films, as well as many others. The guest list also included Colin Spaull and Simon Fisher-Becker who also boast a myriad of credits themselves, including Doctor Who.
I got chance to talk to Paul about his thoughts on the event. Paul who had travelled a considerable distance to attend was really pleased. “Yeah, it’s been good so far this morning. Lots of people have been bringing their own Funko Varmik figures in for me to sign, which is great. I’ve met some really nice people and everyone is so kind. I’m due back tomorrow, but I’ve also agreed to another ‘Geeks’ event on May 4th and 5th in Birmingham at Star City, so I’m already looking forward to that.”
It was great to see families chatting away to the guests and it felt as though it was a very relaxed and personal experience for those attending because of the nature of the event and environment.
Artist Solly Mohamed of Topps Trading Cards fame had a great display of prints and original art for sale along with many other local dealers offering a wide range of merchandise.
As well as the guests and stalls, there was a fun area, where a vacant shop had been turned into an event area, with a set of an Arkham jail cell with an electric chair and a VR experience to try your hand at. Members of the ‘Geeks’ team were there in various cosplay guises and there number were boosted by the many members of the public who were also turning up in their own costumes.
I caught up with organiser Mark Longman and he was overjoyed at the turn out and the success of the event. “I had my doubts about holding this event in a shopping centre, and so did the Saddlers Centre management team. We all agreed to give it a try and it’s gone so well, so far. We’ve got some great guests and lots of stalls selling all kinds of collectibles and other merchandise here. I don’t think I’ve ever seen this shopping centre so busy for a long, long time. We’re here again tomorrow (Sunday 27th January), so we do it all again and hopefully it will be as busy then.”
If you’re in the area today, please head over and show your support. I’m hoping this now becomes a regular event in the calendar each year. Well done to Mark and all the Geeks Events team!
Photo Credit: Steve Galloway & Ian Atkinson