• GalaCon 2016: A Retrospective By Gameleon

    Another year and another GalaCon has passed. On the weekend of July 30-31, hundreds of My Little Pony fans gathered at the Forum Am Schlosspark in Ludwigsburg, Germany for the 2016 edition of one of the major European pony conventions. This year was a special occasion as well, because GalaCon celebrated its 5th anniversary.

    While the EQD crew had a great time at GalaCon last year, due to circumstances we had to size down our presence this year to our sole European on staff. Still, with the help of some friends over at the con we are able to bring you this follow-up.

    Find the GalaCon 2016 convention followup by Gameleon below the break!

    On a good friday afternoon, after a long day of work it was time to head to Amsterdam Airport. After getting stuck in traffic for 4 hours on our way to Ludwigsburg last year, flying seemed like a faster option.

    After a short 45 minute flight the plane landed in Stuttgart, and my travel companion and me went on our way to the Galacon site in Ludwigsburg. On our way there we stopped by the big volunteer dinner, where a nice dinner for the volunteers and guests of honor was being held. The food took a bit longer than expected to arrive, so it was a long bonding, but very hungry, endeavour.

    Filling up with that good old German beer. Just remove the beer part.
    After getting settled in the hotel and a good night’s sleep, it was time for the con proper.

    The con centre the evening before the storm

    As always the GalaCon opening ceremonies start with the big opening ceremonies at 10:00. This year this event was all in the theme of the 5th anniversary, to which we were introduced by the song “Make A Wish”, to which the audience clapped and sung along to.

    But the musical side of the opening ceremony didn’t stop there. After the introduction of the Guests of Honor and community guest, we got another musical surprise. Annelli Heed, voice actor for several ponies on the Swedish dub, treated the audience with a live rendition of the well-known fan song “Lullaby for a Princess”.

    The con floor of GalaCon was spread out over the two floors of the convention centre, its panels rooms and the side rooms. All over the convention you saw people wearing cosplay, playing games, attending panels, buying merch and making new friends.

    That is some serious dedication

    The first day consisted of several panels, including the Brenda Hickey panel, where she gave the audience an insider look into the several stages cover art goes through before it enters the view of the public eye, and the retro panel in which Julia Meynen, Anneli Heed and DustyKatt discussed the various types of animation from the past and how it and its fandoms evolved over the years.

    Later during the day there was the yearly PlushieCon event. A huge collection of plushies from attendees and vendors that are neatly and orderly spread out over the stage. After a total amount of around 250 plushies in 2015, this year PlushieCon consisted of about 500 plushies. I believe putting that many plushies on a stage and not allowing anyone to take any of them is a crime in at least 12 countries.

    But no GalaCon is complete without its gala event to end the first day of the convention. Featuring a live singing performance by Rebecca Shoichett and a instrumental performance by SketchySounds, the event brought many fancy dressed con-goers to the eastern parts of the con halls

    Or if you were in a less fancy mood (or just forgot your fancy clothes), there was the convention concert a few rooms away from the gala.

    And while Nightmare Moon would love the night to last forever, eventually the partying must come to a close to rest and prepare for the next day.

     A beautiful Sunday morning in Ludwigsburg

    Just like the first convention day, the second day was filled with panels, activities and hanging out with other pony fans. The panel highlight of today was the Rebecca Shoichett and Amy Keating Rogers panel, which consisted of a Q&A part and Amy Keating Rogers playing a PonyVille version of the song "Margaritaville" by Jimmy Buffet on her Ukulele.

    Around 15:00 it was time for the traditional GalaCon Auction. Under the supervision of auctioneers Perrydotto and DustyKatt, many kinds of pony merch was auctioned off to the highest bidders among the huge audience. As with each year, the infamous GalaCon Fanta bottle and Perry’s hat were auctioned off as well.
    One thing is for certain, never underestimate the generosity of a pony fan at a charity auction. The total amount raised was €16,240.

    A cardboard coffee-machine was auctioned off as well. I don't have any comments on that.

    And for the third year in a row, a fan brings Fanta related item to the GalaCon auction to be auctioned off. GalaCon is not sponsored by Fanta in any shape or form. Yet. 

    But as always every convention must come to an end. The GalaCon auction wrapped up and the stage was set up for the closing ceremonies. The staff members, volunteers and guests were brought up on stage to say their final heartfelt words to the huge audience.

    But no Ludwigsburg based convention is complete without a good after party at the Towers Irish Pub near the Ludwigsburg Marktplatz.

    After a good time at the Irish pub we all said our goodbyes and each went our own way. Some heading home directly, some preparing for a good night’s rest before heading out on Monday. Some by car, some by train and some through air. Some returning home after their fifth GalaCon, some returning home after their first convention experience ever. But it can be assumed that all of them had a good time during GalaCon.

    Final words

    For me, this was my second GalaCon and I can say I enjoyed this one as much as I did the 2015 edition. Most of the pony conventions I visit are located in the USA so it’s nice to attend the more local pony conventions when possible. The GalaCon staff did their best and succeeded in creating another great convention worthy of Canni Soda’s 5th birthday, and I hope that there is more to come in the future. Onward to GalaCon 2017!

    Some of the photos in this article were made possible with the help of the amazing AlexPhoenixWing