Zoe Ambrozewska Staff Writer
My LeakyCon London 2013 Experience!
When it was announced in August of last year that LeakyCon were going to bring Harry home to the United Kingdom and host their very first international conference right here in London, there was no doubt in my mind that I had to be there. For years I had been following the events of LeakyCon through my computer screen, and now I had the opportunity to attend it myself - it felt too good to be true.
The previous American conferences had obviously set quite a high standard, with special guests such as Anthony Rapp and events such as Starkid’s AVPSY. For the first international conference, however, as a first time con-goer let alone Leaky-goer, and attending on my own, I had no idea what to expect.
This year’s second LeakyCon began on Wednesday 7th August with the special event at the Warner Bros Making of Harry Potter Studio Tour, before the approximately 1500 attendees descended on the Grand Connaught Rooms in Covent Garden the following day. In all fairness, registration could have gone smoother, but each of the overly excited Harry Potter fans seemed happy to go with the flow as the staff found their feet in this unfamiliar environment.
Of course the major event of the first day was the Opening Ceremony. The buzz of excitement in the room was infectious, and escalated quickly as each special guest took to the stage. Harry Potter stars Evanna Lynch, Scarlett Byrne, Alfie Enoch and Robbie Jarvis all made appearances, along with Hank Green, Alex Carpenter, Lauren Fairweather and Matt Maggiacomo, and, of course, Team Starkid closed the show and brought us back to Hogwarts. The ceremony overall managed to successfully set the perfect tone for the rest of the weekend.
Friday began early as fans queued around the block for the autograph lottery. Team Starkid were undoubtedly the most coveted wristbands to win, and I was not one of the lucky ones, but I was happy to have received passes to both Hank Green and the Harry Potter actors’ signings. I attended both of these later in the day, and found all the stars present to be incredibly polite and kind (to the extent they could be to get through the queue in time!), especially Alfie Enoch, who came across as a true gentleman.
During day two I also managed to attend the Nerdfighter meet-up, hosted by Hank Green. Hank Green is just a fascinating person to listen to. VlogBrothers fans will have experienced this in YouTube videos, but to sit in a room full of Nerdfighters and hang out with Hank for roughly an hour and a half was just so exhilarating.
As well as this, Friday also saw the first Harry Potter actor panel. The stars chatted about the Harry Potter audition process, stories from the set, meeting Jo Rowling, and what they will be up to next. Each of the stars came across very well, the younger ones especially, for whom the whole convention must have been somewhat overwhelming. Ryan Turner (Hugo Weasley) was adorable, Benedict Clarke (Young Severus Snape) was very charming, Ellie Darcey-Alden (Young Lily Evans) reminded me a lot of a younger Emma Watson in the way she talked, and Rohann Gotobed (Young Sirius Black) also came across positively. Oh, and Robbie Jarvis said he liked balls. Yup.
Later in the day Team Starkid took to the stage for their panel, and answered fan questions including which Hogwarts houses they belong to, and about their songs and productions, and scenes that never made the final YouTube cut. Twisted director Brian Holden revealed some special information about the show we are currently wait for on YouTube – the incredibly talented Dylan Saunders plays the lead of Jafar in the production!
The Ultimate Shipping Debate also got pretty heated during the day on Friday, and the second and last Rock Concert took place that night, featuring awesome performances from the wildly popular Harry And The Potters, amongst others.
Day three rolled around and everyone refused to acknowledge that we were halfway through. This weekend was never going to end. So we focused on the events of the day.
The Potter Mega Movie Panel saw the actors from Friday’s panel lose Alfie Enoch, but gain Chris Rankin, and quickly turned into a boys vs. girls trivia-off. The questions asked will make you doubt your own Potter knowledge, take a look at the hashtag here and see how many you can answer! As a girl I hate to say this, but the boys kicked the girls butts fairly hard, so congratulations to Chris, Benedict, Ryan and Rohann, and commiserations to Ellie and Scarlett, and the special female guests from the audience! Robbie showed up towards the end of the panel having overslept, and Evanna, rather disappointingly, was a no-show.
The ‘Who Has It Worse?’ panel also took place on Saturday, the only Lit event that was open to general attendees. During this section authors Dawn O’Porter and James Dawson rather hilariously and openly debated which gender has the adolescent, pubescent year’s worse.
And then came the highlight for a lot of people – A Very Starkid Event, London Edition! As the majority of us live in the UK, this was our first time watching Starkid perform live, and they did not disappoint! The event took the form of a Space Tour/Apocalyptour type show, and featured favourites such as Granger Danger, Not Alone and the Rogues Medley, along with many of the newer songs from last year’s AVPSY. The team absolutely killed the performance in their matching Primark shirts, and had the crowd going crazy.
Saturday night rolled around, and everyone was ready to party at the Esther Earl Rocking Charity Ball! Everyone looked wonderful; the night was totally insane and so much fun! The image of god-knows how many attendees, staff, and special guests jumping around to ‘Wannabe’, ‘What Makes You Beautiful’, ‘Bye Bye Bye’, and, of course, ‘Total Eclipse Of The Heart’ is something that will be imprinted on my brain for a very long time. As well as various special guests crowd-surfing! Like I said; insanity.
I still don’t remember how I got to the venue Sunday morning for the Leaving Feast; I think I must have been sleepwalking. But somehow I did, and as we all enjoyed our breakfast and checked out the vendor room for the last time, the reality of the day set in. This was it, and in a few hours we would all be going our separate ways. It was essentially a day of feels, and not wanting to go home. But, alas, we did (but not before some final photos!)
And that was that.
But here come some special shoutouts….
- Everyone in the Vendor Room – the merch on sale was insanely cool (I love my new snitch bracelet) and reasonably priced!
- QueueCon. To everyone who embraced the British queuing etiquette.
- Everyone who dressed up at any point during the weekend, you all looked awesome, especially Dobby, Dumbledore, Snape, McGonagall and Fawkes.
- The HPA! You guys are just awesome, and the Apparating Library was really cool.
- ACCIO DEATHLY HALLOWS
- The Waterstones Oxford Street guy. Your signs were legendary.
- Alex Carpenter. Just one of the most genuine, nicest guys ever, who gives amazing hugs, took pictures with anyone who asked, and rocked the Ball with his DJ skills.
- And last, but most certainly not least, the staff and volunteers! As a volunteer myself I saw first hand how hard everyone worked to make this weekend what it was, and you all succeeded!
(I’m on the left somewhere!)
Next year’s LeakyCon will take place in Orlando, and unfortunately I see myself attending as very unlikely. However, the Con was ablaze with rumours that Leaky will be returning to London in 2015 – if this really is the case, I wouldn’t miss it for the world.
You can check out some of my better/edited photos from the weekend HERE.
So, it is now Monday, my legs ache and I’ve lost my voice and I am descending into post-Leaky depression. And I suppose all that is left to say is…