So this is the review of my first Jordancon I was supposed to be writing a week ago, but upon my return to reality I discovered that time was a thing I was lacking. So while the husband and kids are outside I will try to sum up the awesomeness that was Jordancon 8.
Now, I am sure you are wondering “What the heck is Jordancon and why have there been 8 of them?” So to steal directly from http://www.Jordancon.org:
Jordancon is a fantasy literature Convention founded in honor of the late author, Robert Jordan. Jordan was the author of the best-selling The Wheel of Time series. Jordancon features eight tracks of simultaneous programming, a Dealers’ Hall, gaming, an Art Show featuring original art by a variety of artists, and charity events benefiting the Mayo Clinic and other charities. Past guests have included Harriet McDougal, Brandon Sanderson, Mary Robinette Kowal, Sam Weber, David Wong, Jana G. Oliver, Emilie Bush, David B. Coe, Eugie Foster, Seanan McGuire, Michael Whelan, Larry Elmore, Saladin Ahmed, Todd Lockwood, Catherine Asaro, and Patrick Rothfuss.
Now I am guessing some of you are saying “Well who in the world is ‘Robert Jordan’?” Well, he is the author of The Wheel of Time and has managed to change many lives with what I am going to go ahead a call a masterpiece of epic fantasy world building.
But most of that is just the technical side. Jordancon is more than a Convention. For Wheel of Time fans it is like coming home. Heck, even if you are not a Wheel of Time fan you will feel like you are coming home. It is just that awesome. But enough of that let’s get to the review.
Actually I thought long and hard about the best way to do this review. Should I do it as a day by day break down or just talk about certain aspects of Jordancon or just talked about what I really like? I think it is going to be a combination of all those things….so just hold on and try to keep up 😉
As some of you may know, I am an event planner (I have a degree and everything;-)) As such I tend to look at events a little more harshly than some. I will say Jordancon got my stamp of approval. It was extremely organized. They have a website www.jordacon.org on which you can get information about the location, dates, time, guest, panels, pre-register for things (in needed), make your schedule and purchase your tickets. Even better they have a Facebook page where you can not only keep track of what is going on, you can get to know the organizers, ask questions and even make suggestions (they may not be used but it is nice to know they are open to listening) They also have an app that runs on both Apple and Android platforms. The app is free and gets updated about a week before the actual event. On the app you can see the full schedule for weekend, you can select which panels and events you want to attend and view them on a separate schedule. It also provides hotel information and you can offer feedback.
See how awesome this is and we haven’t even gotten to the actual Con 😉
Now Jordancon was my first Con and I truly hope that any others I attended will be as well-organized as this one.
Registration on Site: The registration table was the just about the first thing you saw when you entered the hotel. The table was full of information and helpful, smiling volunteers. Whether you had pre-registered or decided at the last-minute to show up there was no real stop in the flow. Upon registration you were provided with your badge (which you should wear at all times so people know who you are), a program, and the newsletter for the day. (We will talk more about that later)
Panels: I mentioned panels earlier and some of you may be wondering what they are.
Panels are 1 hour sessions set up for fans to learn about certain areas in the genre of fantasy and sci-fi and/or about The Wheel of Time. Many of the also allow fans in compete in several arenas of knowledge, learn a new craft or just act goofy. But the panels are not just set up all willy nilly. Each panel is part of Track as such each panel has a specific theme, Jordancon 8 had the following Tracks: World of the Wheel, Sandertrack, Writers, Rivets and Robots, Workshops, Gaming, Art Show, Deep South Con, and the Main Programing. In World of the Wheel Track all the Panels had to do with The Wheel of Time, the Sandertrack dealt with the Works of Brandon Sanderson but aside from the that the rest of the tracks had a great variety of subjects. And you did not need to be a Wheel of Time or Sanderson fan to enjoy it. The gaming track was a dream come true for anyone that is a huge fan of epic board games (like Firefly), Magic the Gathering, Poker (which my husband enjoyed) and ton of other stuff that I have no clue about
Most panels were about 1 hour-long and there was an ½ hour in between. This allowed time for going to the Art Show/Dealer Hall, visiting with other Con-goers, grabbing a bit to eat or running up to your room.
The Newsletter: Each day of the Con there is a new newsletter that Contained snippets of interviews from Team Jordan, Information about upcoming events of the day (like the costume Contest). On the back of the newsletter was the full schedule of the day.
Extracurriculars: Along with the Panels there were several book signings with the guest authors and Team Jordan, a SCA Fighting Demo, Costume Contest and Jordancon awards, and awesome dance (there was even a dinosaur), a Blademaster Tournament, Karaoke, and a reading by Brandon Sanderson.
The Art Show: If you don’t do anything else at Jordancon you have GOT to visit the Art Show and the Dealers Hall. Not only you have the opportunity to see the works of many talent artist (many of whom are official Wheel of Time artist) you also have the opportunity to purchase the art and get it signed. They also have a variety of other items to buy, clothing, books, beautiful stained glass dragons (I got one), jewelry and more. Ta’veren Tees (The Officially Licensed WoT store) also has booth there.
Volunteering: One of the wonderful things about Jordancon is they give fans a chance to be involved, in fact they need us to be involved. Fans can volunteer to help out in several areas (registration, the art show, the Con suite). Jenna Lipnickas is the volunteer director and she is wonderful. Signing up to volunteer is easy. It is done through www.volunteerspot.com. Volunteer orientations are held a couple of times a day on Friday and Saturday. They are short, Concise and easy to understand. And you get a handy-dandy folder with all the spots you signed up for. And as an awesome bonus you get a ribbon for your name badge (trust me it is an awesome thing)
The Con Suite: Now I don’t know if they do this at other Cons or not, but Jordancon has a Con Suite. They provide food (yes, food) for the Con-goers. This, to me, is completely amazing. It is open from 8 am – 8pm during the Con (it closes at 4pm on the last day). It is an area where the attendees of Jordancon can relax and enjoy complimentary food and drinks. I like this because it encourages the attendees that don’t know each other to chat it up. I mean food is the ultimate icebreaker, right?
Now those were the major things I wanted to touch on but I know what your potential Congoers really want to know. “How much is this going to cost me?”
- Jordancon Tickets: They are very reasonably priced. Before Jan 1 they are $45, Jan 1 to March 30 they are $55. After that they are $65 and can be purchased at the door. (These were the prices for this year)
- Travel Cost: Jordancon is held in Atlanta, GA. So you will need to figure out how much it will take to get from wherever you live to Atlanta and back home. My husband and I drove. We live in Ohio (near Dayton) and with stops it took us about 8 hours. The drive was easy and relatively cheap. If you are close enough to make the drive, I would suggest that option.
- Hotel: Jordancon purchases a block of rooms in the hotel where Jordancon is held. This year the rooms were $95 per night. My husband and I checked in on Friday and check out on Sunday. With taxes our hotel bill was $262.08.
- Meals: As I mentioned before the Con Suite is awesome. All in all, I think we spent more money on meals driving to and from Atlanta than we did in Atlanta.
- Purchasing Items from the Dealer Hall:
Now this is where you may blow your budget. You can get prints of artwork at pretty reasonable. The ranged from $20 – $30. Prices to vary by artist and by the size of the print. There is also an art auction in order to buy original pieces of work. These are more expensive; I think the lowest price I saw was $150. Some of the auction items can be purchased at a quick purchase price (like the Buy It Now feature on eBay). Unfortunately, I didn’t get to purchase any jewelry so I am not sure of the prices on those, but most of it seemed to be handmaid so I that would add to the price. The items at the Ta’veren Tees booth pretty much matched up with the prices on their website.
All in all, Jordancon was a wonderful experience. It was a great first Con. Now I will say I have been Conversing with many of these people online for 2 years or so (some more like 3) and I admin a Wheel of Time fan group on Facebook and that added to me feeling welcome I am sure.
But my husband didn’t know any of these people, and while he has read the series he is not as obsessed as I am, but he still had a wonderful time. They accepted him as part of the family. He even went to a couple of things all by himself. So don’t worry if you have a friend or a spouse that isn’t into the books, there is plenty for them to do if they enjoy the genre.
Ebony’s Jordancon Tips and Takeaways:
- If possible, plan to arrive at the hotel the night before the Con starts. That way you will not miss out on the opening ceremonies and it will give you a chance to get familiar with the hotel and maybe meet some people.
- Bring someone with you. It is always more fun with a buddy.
- If you think you might want to go to Jordancon join the Facebook group, follow the Facebook page or join the Wheel of Time fan group on Facebook. It is a great way to get to know people.
- If you can cosplay, COSPLAY. I didn’t this year and I regret it. I am going to next year if it kills me.
- Plan ahead. Check www.Jordancon.org as the date draws closer to see what you might want to do.
- VOLUNTEER!! It will give you a chance to meet people and you will get a ribbon.
- Take as many pictures as possible. I am actually going to talk my husband into getting me a nice camera for Christmas just for Jordancon.
- If you are currently reading the Wheel of Time Series, there will be spoilers at Jordancon
- Kids are welcome at Jordancon, but you may want to leave them with Grandma so you can have a fun weekend out.
So now that I have gotten you all hyped up for Jordancon here is the information for Jordancon 9:
Jordancon will be April 21 – 23, 2017, at the Atlanta Marriott Perimeter Center.
Author Guest of Honor – Charles E. Gannon http://www.charlesegannon.com/
Artist Guest of Honor – Stephen Hickman
For more information, please visit www.Jordancon.org.
I don’t think tickets are available for purchase yet, but if you follow the Facebook page there will be an announcement when they go on sale.
Well I hope you guys found this helpful and informative. See you in Ga!