Crowds flock to Metro Radio Arena to meet their idols
On the 8-9 of March, Newcastle’s Metro Radio Arena was taken over by swarms of aliens, superheroes, and fantastical beings as part of Newcastle’s Film and Comic Con 2014. An event of unexpected popularity.
Crowds of film, comic and sports fans descended upon the huge venue, with the chance of meeting some of the events’ star-studded guests.
Amidst the group of over 30 celebrities were: John Rhys Davies (Gimli,) the seventh and eighth Doctors – Sylvester McCoy and Paul McGann, and Carl Weathers, whom many will recognize from his role as Dillon in the original Predator.
Astrophysics student Louise, who donned 8ft gold wings, a black frock and tall head dress, said: “Goddess Isis was only mentioned in the series so this is my take on how she would have looked.
“I sometimes dress up as Wonder Woman, zombies, pirates and characters from Warhammer 40K. I like dressing up and doing make-up art. Today is great fun.”
One convention participant on the Sunday, Daniel O’Brien, recalled John Rhys Davies’ Sunday Q&A as a highlight of the show, alongside posing for a photograph on the Game of Thrones Iron Throne. This in particular being something Daniel had “set out looking to do, and it came out looking great!”
The event, still only in its first year, boasted an unforeseen popularity. Though this resulted in many people being forced to queue for hours prior to entry. Upon Daniel’s arrival “the queue had… snaked all the way to the very back end car park.”
Although his queue time was roughly one hour, he stated that, “hearsay from other queuers was that the Saturday visitors had it a bit worse with up to 3-4 hrs waiting.”
Despite this unexpected influx of visitors, Daniel’s experience was still incredibly agreeable as he recounts that it was “very ordered and organized, and they were generally pleasant and understanding, desiring to process people promptly.”
The queues were at least kept entertaining through costumed individuals. Comic cons are famed for extravagant outfits, and the Newcastle event was no exception. Daniel recollects a “Judge Dredd Judge prowling the queue outside at the start of the day.” There was also a group of Storm Troopers and Ghost Busters “dancing to AC/DC Highway to Hell.”
Andrea Swinsco, 43, who originates from Lemington, Newcastle, is a director with Showmaster which puts on the shows. She said: “We have been running these events for many years, mainly in the Midlands and down south but we have been wanting to expand up into the North. Newcastle was the first on my list.”
The convention was an undeniable success, if going on the unprecedented number of attendees alone. And although these numbers resulted in an undesirable amount of queuing, it was met with responsive care and organisation.
Image: Luke Daley