I am not Brony (a "Brony" is to Friendship is Magic as a "Trekkie" is to Star Trek), having only watched three episodes of the show and having most of my knowledge of the franchise and fandom gleaned from friends and the internet, so the fact that I still managed to enjoy myself at this single-fandom convention indicates good things. Because I've only heard extremely positive, gushingly enthusiastic raves about Friendship is Magic from the Bronies I know, I have been intrigued about this show for months (the most viewed post), but never actually watched it because...well...it's a cartoon about singing, sparkling ponies. How is that supposed to interest anyone above the age of 10? (It's actually pretty good. The messages are wonderful and so is the voice acting.)
The actual convention? I'm more used to major conventions with tens of thousands of attendees and significant industry presence, as opposed to conventions like Everfree (my first small con), which are held in hotels instead of convention centers and don't need several days to peek into every room. What's interesting is that Everfree managed to pull together good aspects of small cons and good aspects of large cons. The small con part was evident in the closeness of the community (I guess that's to be expected from a convention for show about the magic of friendship). The general atmosphere was full of camaraderie, and when I told people about my very minimal exposure to My Little Pony, I never felt uncomfortable (I guess that's to be expected from a convention for a show that preaches love and tolerance) because "everpony" was so welcoming. Also, the press actually knew each other and were supporting of each other. That suggests community in a sense that isn't present much of the time at other conventions. I was really impressed with the overall spirit at Everfree. Everyone just seemed really, really happy to be there.
One of the Bronies I spoke to was Elizabeth (at right), an aspiring actress from the San Francisco Bay Area.
"It’s kind of nice to be in a place where I see tons of guys geeking out over something I don’t see every day," she said. "I think it’s [Everfree] pretty incredible - the community comes here, the big names come here."
Because Everfree is a small convention, I was surprised at how many places attendees were coming from. The parking lot was packed with plates from various states. Elizabeth, as mentioned above, is from California. Another Californian I spoke to, a volunteer who goes by Kirinotes, said "I was in college and some people were mentioning it on 4chan and I thought I would be really lame. I watched an episode and another episode and the next thing I knew it was 7 am and the sun was coming up," when I asked him about how he discovered Friendship is Magic. "[But] research the area before you go and definitely try to brush up on the fandom."
I think it's just a really positive message in general be yourself and like what you like." Amen to that.
|The acoustic music room, an interesting addition to the convention's programming.|
Community guests were also in attendance, including fanfiction authors and musical acts, which included The Living Tombstone, the guy behind the legendary remix of Odyssey Eurobeat's "Discord". The musical guests were featured at Ponystock, a series of performances throughout the convention's duration.
|Some of the performers' instruments backstage|
Because humans don't have the same body types as cartoon ponies, I didn't see a single screen-accurate, properly proportioned My Little Pony cosplay at Everfree. This wasn't a bad thing, though, because the creativity of cosplayers really shone through. I didn't get pictures of the guy who wore a cutie mark sandwich board or the one wearing an Apple computer as a helmet (Big Mac...get it?), but I enjoyed these other unique interpretations, too!
The dealer's room lacked officially licensed merchandise and was filled with mostly homemade, independent crafts/art, but the fans were still buying in droves.
|One of our contributors, instantanarchY (right), and a friend. instantanarchY conducted the interview that is the most-viewed post on this website, What's Up with Bronies?, written when the term "Brony" was first entering the public consciousness.|
|The crowd was pumped for Peter and Andrea at the main stage.|
The only real gripe I had with Everfree was the badge/line situation. Lines are a given at any convention, but the one (notice I said one, not ones) at Everfree was absolutely ridiculous. Those who had pre-registered had to stand in the same line with those who hadn't yet purchased admission, which is a self-evident no-no in itself, but what was really, really unacceptable was how some dealers had to wait in this same line. There were a couple of artists who had to stand in the same slow-moving line as all the regular attendees, who didn't get help from con staff. As dealers are one of the main draws of conventions, if not the biggest draw, it is very important to treat them well. A general courtesy provided to press is separate registration so they can spend their time working on providing coverage instead of standing in line. Dealer registration is more important than press registration. Dealers need to get in there to get their tables running and help keep the con interesting. When I left Everfree at 3:30 in the afternoon, the registration line was still packed with people.
|This photo was taken in the morning. It was still like this hours later.|
Here's a post about improving lines at conventions.
All in all, however, my Everfree experience was a great one. If I was a Brony, I would definitely come back next year. While I'm still not dedicated to the fandom, the too-friendly-for-words community I met at Everfree has convinced me to keep going, and I'm excited for the improving of Washington state's convention scene, which Everfree is impacting in a great way!