Exclusive: Arizona Convention Directors Speak About Current State of Conventions

I wanted to write an article about the current Arizona convention community and give my opinions on it. After all, there has been a lot of changes with some of our favorite conventions and I wanted to talk about those that have impacted us the most. After giving it some thought, I thought it would be better to go to the people who put on these conventions and let them talk about the current state of Arizona conventions. I came up with five questions that I thought would cover some of the topics in the convention industry.

[Updated: February 10, two more responses added to the article]

The following individuals agreed to participate in the article:

Mike Olivares: Founder of Tucson Comic-Con

John Lester: Co-founder of Game On Expo 

Matt Solberg: Convention Director of Phoenix Comicon 

Michael Spadafore: Convention Director of Taiyou Con

Hal Astell: Vice Chair of Westercon 70

Greg Fennell: Convention Director of Saboten Con

I know these individuals have much longer resumes but in the context of this article, I listed what was being referenced. I want to thank each and every of one of them for taking the time to give their insights and thoughts about the current state of Arizona conventions.

On To The Questions >


One thought on “Exclusive: Arizona Convention Directors Speak About Current State of Conventions

  1. Hola Robert.

    Nice article! I’m glad to see you covering a range of Arizona conventions with your questions. Many of the best cons we have are struggling to be noticed.

    Of course there are many more than just these four, as the Arizona Penny Dreadfuls highlight in their Arizona Fandom History pages: http://azpennydreadfuls.org/azcons/index.html. We tracked 45 conventions in 2016 and have 27 already documented for 2017. It’s a shame that more con chairs didn’t reply to your questions.

    I realise that LepreCon wasn’t a con that you reached out to, but please feel free to ask any questions you like of us for future articles. Beyond maintaining the above website, I’m also the Vice Chair of Westercon 70, the most prestigious sci-fi convention in the western US, which is celebrating its 70th anniversary here in Tempe over the 4th July weekend. As this event is sponsored by Leprecon, Inc., it’s also LepreCon 43. At 43 years of age, LepreCon is the oldest active sci-fi convention in Phoenix (TusCon is a year older than we are), so we’ve already seen a lot of changes in the convention scene and expect to see a lot more in the future.

    All the best,


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