Phoenix Fan Fest is being held November 11-12, 2017 at the Phoenix Convention Center and there was been some rumblings and rumors online on what the convention will offer and won’t offer. I had the chance to ask a few questions to Square-Egg Entertainment CEO Matt Solberg, the company behind Phoenix Comicon and Phoenix Fan Fest, a few questions about the convention.
Legion of Sand: Phoenix Fan Fest is heading into its fourth year, how has this convention evolved from its inception in 2014?
Matt Solberg: We have become more focused with the offerings at Phoenix Fan Fest for its attendees. Every show grows organically based on feedback from attendees. With Phoenix Fan Fest we feel we’re in a good place with our Veterans Day weekend event, along with the focus on collectibles, holiday shopping, meeting local creators & costuming groups, and celebrities from film and TV.
LoS: Do you anticipate the con moving away from the typical pop culture convention blue print to more of an exhibit hall focused convention?
MS:We are building Phoenix Fan Fest this year as an exhibitor hall focused show that includes collectibles, celebrities, and local creators and costuming groups. We believe offering this model will allow Phoenix Fan Fest to stand on its own, and not just be seen as “Comicon-lite”. This allows for a very affordable show for attendees that focuses on shopping in the exhibitor hall, the number one activity from post-con surveys for Phoenix Fan Fest. With our more affordable table pricing we also hope to draw out those collectors who are seeking to sell off their own collections of comics and toys, for instance, in whole or in part.
LoS: How has the crowded convention schedule of Arizona impacted, if at all, Phoenix Fan Fest? Do you see the con as a long term player in Arizona?
MS: It’s always a jigsaw puzzle of finding appropriate dates for a live event, against other events taking place in Phoenix, across Arizona, and nationwide. We tried December dates before Christmas which proved difficult for attendees to afford, and we tried the week before Halloween last year which proved difficult for people to attend given their other Halloween commitments. We’re excited about our November dates as it provides a chance to buy gifts for the hard to shop geek on your list, as well as provide a fun weekend event before the holidays arrive.
LoS: Is it fair to say that Phoenix Comicon benefits from having a smaller show such as Fan Fest where ideas can be tested and worked on before being implemented at Phoenix Comicon?
MS: While we do try new processes at Phoenix Fan Fest that have been implemented later at Phoenix Comicon, our reason for doing Phoenix Fan Fest is driven by the desire from attendees to offer more options for geek and pop culture events for our attendees and supporters. Phoenix Fan Fest makes that possible.
LoS: In a perfect world, what is the ideal month and location for Phoenix Fan Fest?
MS: I think we’ve found it with Veterans’ Day weekend in November at the Phoenix Convention Center. The Phoenix Convention Center will almost always be the ideal location given its available space and central location.