What is Q-con?
I can’t really put it into words better than the organizers themselves so here is a direct quote from the Q-con website:
“Q-Con is the annual Gaming & Anime Convention hosted by QUB Dragonslayers, the Queen’s University Belfast Gaming and Anime Society.”
This weekend, the convention returned to the QUB student union for its 23rd year! A well loved staple of the local convention attendees diet, Q-con offers a unique selection of activities that provide for everyone who comes through its doors and continually brings thousands of people through the halls of the SU.
Oh cool, so where is Q-con?
As I mentioned, Q-con is on every year in the Queens Student Union and usually takes place in one of the last two weekends of June, when most Queens students are finished their exams.
Sounds interesting, but what is there to do at Q-con?
For being only 3 days long, Q-con feels like a month just because of the mountain of stuff there is to do while you are there. There is literally something for everyone, from anime bingo to games tournaments and even screenings of recent movies like Deadpool and Star Wars the Force Awakens.
To stop this article being a billion words long, I’m just going to direct you to the official Q-con website ( http://www.q-con.org.uk/ ) for the entire lowdown and just give you my personal highlights from the weekend.
Starting at 6pm on Friday night, Q-con kicked off by flinging the doors open on the world of local artists and traders. One could find anything including hand drawn prints of their favorite characters as well as one of the largest selections of anime, manga and wargaming related collectibles courtesy of Replay (which by the way is one of the coolest shops left in Bangor town center).
The selection of local artisans was brilliant as always and there was a very wide range of talents. Some, like ShonarrrrrghCosplay and 39sankyuu specialize in handmade accessories and artworks while others like Octo-babe art and Rebecca Reynolds had a cool selection of digital artworks for sale. All of these artists have social media accounts and many of them take commissions of work so you should definitely check them out and support our local talent!
Other artisans include ABeadCstart which is a regular sight at local conventions and he makes pixel art style pieces out of beads as well as Miss McKeown’s Emporium of Fine Tea which is just as its name suggests and offers a wide range of very interestingly flavored loose leaf tea blends.
After perusing the artists and traders I went along to the Q-comedy show which was held in Mandela Hall and was only a single pound sterling to enter as long as you were a Q-con attendee! Compèred by none other than Colin Murphy, we were treated to an evening of belly laughs from the comedians Donal Vaughn and Adam Bloom. It was a very interesting and relaxed gig because all three comedians felt very at home with the Q-con crowd, even slipping in the occasional geeky gag here and there.
On the Saturday, I walked around the gaming area which was held in the Space and tried my hand at many games I’ve never played before and even took part in a tournament! If you are into your gaming, this was definitely the place to be whether you are in to casual play or serious competition.
Also taking place on Saturday was the Big Multi-talent Show which was a place for cosplayers to perform a variety of ‘skits’ to showcase their creativity and love of fun. The performances included a full reenactment of the battle between Obi-wan and Anakin at the end of Star Wars Episode III (not including force flips of course) as well as a perfect rendition of one of my personal favorite anime songs ‘Rinrinrin’ from the series LoveLive. Examples of other skits include various comedy routines, songs and dances from popular anime and game series.
The highlight of the Talent Show for me however was the mixtape dance performance put on by Ace Ventura (put on by Damien of Agent Delta Cosplay) who actually went on to win the competition! I grabbed Damien for an interview on the Sunday but he was wearing a very… ahem… different costume which you can check out on the Queens Radio Instagram (link at the end of this article).
After another couple of spending sprees or gaming marathons, one could go along to the Q-concert put on by The Irish Video Games Orchestra where the walls of The Elmwood Hall were lit up with the sound of games past and present, taking us all on a trip down memory lane. (For more on this spectacular performance, look out for my full review of it which will be posted in the next few days!)
The highlight for many people’s Saturday night was probably the annual Q-con pub quiz which saw the Speakeasy bar packed to the rafters with a mass of people all decked out in their brilliant costumes. The quiz was followed by Club Q-con and/or a round of ‘Pints against Humanity’ depending on your preferred way to round out the evening whether it be a dance or a few laughs over things you would be ashamed to repeat to your own mother.
For those not hungover, Sunday morning was the perfect opportunity to go and see some of the anime screenings that were put on over the weekend or taking part in some of the tabletop wargames tournaments because the venue was a lot less busy than it had been on Saturday. In the afternoon, the Cosplay Masquerade took place which was a great opportunity for attendees to put their costumes in the spotlight and even be judged to win cash prizes.
After the Masquerade, an anime ball was held in Mandela Hall for everyone to let loose and have a dance to celebrate the brilliant weekend. It was certainly very interesting to see some of the shapes people were throwing while in costume. When the Ball wrapped up, the closing ceremony took place which included an end of con show with music performed by Team RKT and The Spoony Bards.
If you were lucky enough during the weekend, you could also grab a chat and a photo with a couple of local celebrities who were spotted milling about over the three days including ToxicTears and PeachMilkyTea who are both popular local Youtube content creators with well over a hundred thousand subscribers each!
Wow, thats a lot of stuff happening in one weekend! So what is Q-con like to go to?
Put simply, it is an absolute melting pot of people from all over the island of Ireland and even further abroad. For more about what Q-con is like in my words and in the words of other attendees, you will have to wait for Part 3 of this short series of Q-con content! ;D
For a teaser though, you can check out the official Queens Radio Instagram to see some pictures taken during the weekend to get an idea of the range of amazing costumes that were spotted!
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