Should There Be a Fan X?

Fan X Is ComingLast week, Salt Lake Comic Con organizers opened a poll concerning Fan X. Last year, SLCC held a con during April and called it Salt Lake Comic Con Fan Experience (Fan X). It was to be a celebration of all things with a “fandom”- comics, cosplay, movies, TV, sports, etc… Really, it just ended up being another Comic Con and attendees didn’t feel a difference. But the event was great, it brought it 100,000 attendees and celebrities like Nathan Fillion, Adam Baldwin, Patrick Stewart, and basically the entire bridge of Star Trek: TNG. It was a fantastic event that was followed up in September with SLCC proper and even more tickets were sold.

However, a scheduling dilemma has popped up and SLCC organizers want to hear your opinions. Originally planned for April 2-4, 2015, Fan X would bump into both Easter Weekend and General Conference for the LDS church. For those of you outside of Utah, the LDS (Mormon) church holds a semiannual conference in Salt Lake City over the first weekend of each April. Basically, it’s a con for Mormons! Just like Fan X, there are more than 100,000 people attending conference and it’s right downtown next to the Salt Palace where Comic Con is held. Logistically, it would be a nightmare. Parking, driving, eating, hotels, etc… And Easter plans can potentially be a conflict, too.

So, April is not off the table yet, but there are clearly issues. So the other two proposals are to hold it from January 29-31, 2015 or to not have a Fan X at all and just focus on a (potentially) larger event in September. The two big positives with the January dates are Sundance and a lack of competition. Sundance is a huge event for movies and it brings a lot of great celebrities within an hour drive from downtown SLC. So there would be the potential to bring stars like Kristen Bell, Zachary Levi, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and more. (I don’t know if they’ll be at Sundance next year; they’re just examples.) And January is the off-season for cons, so we wouldn’t be conflicting for the stars time as much as we do from late spring through early fall. For example, Fan X 2014 was held during the same weekend as WonderCon in Anaheim, CA. So some of the celebs and studios were never an option for SLCC because they were already committed to that con. Wil Wheaton was scheduled to be at WonderCon and so he was not a part of the amazing Next Generation panel at Fan X.

Comic Con Tips - Star TrekBut Utah is also known for some of the greatest snow on earth. And late January weather sucks! It’s not just cold, it’s freezing. Like “my hands burn and feel like they are bleeding” freezing. So if you’re stuck in the registration line (a big issue at SLCC 2014), you might die. And if you want to walk around downtown to find some food or get to your hotel, your Poison Ivy costume isn’t going to cut it. Maybe consider dressing as a Wookie.

What do you think? Should Fan X be held in April despite the potential conflicts? Would you rather go with the risk/reward option of January? Or just skip it all together and just wait until September? Let the organizers know here:

P.S. For my part, I voted for January. While it could be argued that two cons in the same year is overkill, I just love going. I’ve had a great time at each one, and I’m always sad when it’s over. January isn’t ideal for a few reasons, but I like the potential of who it could bring. One of my favorite things about the cons are the celebrity panels, but only when they’re celebrities from genre things I care about. Nathan Fillion was a perfect example. He has major geek cred and belongs at a comic con, but he’s also an amazing panelist and entertains the crowd like few others can. I would love to see more stars like him come to our con.

Honestly, my real vote would go to a 4th choice. A different date completely. Why are we so set on these two weekends? Is there no other time in the spring that would work? I know there are a million logistical considerations, and I don’t have all the details. I’m just wondering if there’s another weekend in the spring that doesn’t conflict with other major events in downtown SLC.


Tim Bennett
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Quite frankly, Tim is a 17-year-old trapped in a 30-something-year-old’s body. He loves good TV – by which he means something with a good serialized storyline – and movies, and spends many of his nights immersed in a gloriously complex video game. He’s a firm believer that Lost was the greatest show ever made, and that includes the ending. Oh, and Tim is a staunch defender of the Ewoks and their place in the Star Wars canon. You can listen to Tim on the Whatever Makes You Weird podcast, check out his opinions about upcoming movies in our Trailerpark Tuesday segments, and find his reporting about cons and all things nerd-ish on Comic Con Tips.