• Equestria Daily Galacon 2018 Retrospective


    Hallo Alleponi!

    This is The Illustrious Q, and low and behold I cover things other than comic books!

    I am multitalented.

    The above joke was Ferret’s fault. But what not Ferret’s fault, aside from the fact I used the joke, is that I and several others from Equestria Daily spent a weekend at Galacon in Ludwigsberg Germany!

    That is all Gameleon’s fault. We just couldn’t say no to his adorable face.

    So, how did this weekend go for myself and others from Equestria Daily? Well, User will have his own thoughts and observations recorded further on in the blog, but as for myself my Galacon adventure--which you can read all about after the break--started on the Wednesday before the convention during a side trip to Amsterdam...


    Fries Sauce. Better than ketchup for french fries.

    DAY ZERO

    ...where I ate Burger King for my first meal in a foreign country.

    What? I was jetlagged and I looked for food which I know is edible as soon as I got off the plane. I didn’t have time to find stroopwaffels baked into pancakes for my first hearty dutch meal.



    What do you mean that isn’t classical dutch cuisine? Gameleon! You have a lot of explaining to do?!

    Anyways, the first day I was practically a zombie, so not much ended up happening aside from checking into the first night’s hotel and sleeping the night away.

    As for the second day though, that was an adventure.

    "Cereal, did you know this train is capable of moving at 300 Kilometers an hour?"—Gameleon

    DAY ONE

    We left the hotel bright and early to get to Amsterdam Central Train Station for a very early train connection on Thursday. Pretty much everyone was in agreement this train station made every single Train Station in the US look like garbage.

    Traveling to Ludwigsberg from Amsterdam is usually an uneventful affair. Just hop on an ICE train and don’t get off until you hit frankfurt. Once at Freakfurt, catch the connection to Stuttgart, and then after Stuttgart take a local DB Train to Ludwigsberg. Simple.

    In theory. In practice, experiencing 95+ degree wheather in a country not designed or equippped to handle such temperatures on weekly baisis causes massive delays, equipment failure, and the beautiful high speed trains to move at half speed and with only have the available cars on the tracks… if your lucky.

    We were not and as such missed our connection. So what is a group of hot tired North Americans (and one Dutchman) supposed to do when missing a connection? Well the logical thing would have been to wait 90 minutes and catch the next train to Stuttgart.

    However we are North Americans (with one Dutchman) and as such we do things the American way. So we grabbed our bags and showed all of Stuttgart station how North Americans maintain their schedules.

    We ran like hell to make a 6 minute connection. I was so out of breath that it reminded me of having to make an airline connection in Phildeplhia.

    Our group did a lot of train hopping that day. And we weren’t the only ones. Those little old ladies have sharp elbows and even sharper whit. Furthermore, everyone who we talked to at the convention proved this was not an uncommon occurance.

    Missed airline connections, broken down trains, the usual pileup on the Autobhan proved that travel troubles to Ludwigsberg was the standard.

    Finally, after arriving in Ludwigsberg we checked into our hotels, collasped onto the beds, and awaited for what tomorrow may bring.

    I still can't get over how beautiful Ludwigsberg Palace and the gardens surrounding them are. Astounding!

    DAY TWO

    For myself, tomorrow brought fairy tale gardens, a midevil palace, reminders of how out of shape I have become since the last time I was at Galacon, and more scorching heat.

    For those who have never had the misfortune of visiting the gardens during 95 degree weather, consider yourself blessed. Walking around 79 acres of gardens in that sun and heat was not the smartest of ideas. However, the photos I don’t remember taking tell me it was beautiful beyond imagination. For next year, pray for cooler weather so you can spend the day before the convention properly enjoying this fairy tail setting.

    After visiting the palace and getting a first rate education on the aristrocy of pre Germany--for instance Ludwigberg was allied to the British, Russian, and French Empires at the same time during Emperor Bonapart’s failed invasion of Russia--I picked up my Galacon Press Badge and retired for the evening…

    Or would have had Gameleon not absconded the entire group to dinner at Tower’s Irish Pub. Which, in addition to having their own pony mascot, everyone else at Galacon went there for dinner.

    It was hot, it crowded, the food was resonably priced, and there were more bronies than you could shake a Luna plushie at.

    Believe it or not, this is the second one of these I have seen this year.

    Speaking of Luna, there was a bloodmoon that night. While it is a rare occurance to see a bloodmoon even once in your life, for me this was the second time I had seen this particular celestial phoenomon. The first time was when I was on travel for work in the United States. This time I was on travel for pleasure in europe.

    So in my case, yes, the Bloodmoon did rise once again!

    No nerd experience is quite as meaningful or as well understood as LineCon.

    DAY THREE--Galacon Begins

    Galacon began as all proper brony conventions do. With attendees sleeping outside in front of the convention center. Huh, that was only true for San Diego Comic-Con….

    Anyways, for myself I did what I usualy do when attending conventions, I slept in… and instead of getting up at usual 4 AM, I got up at 8 AM.

    Yes, I actaully have to wake up before the crack of dawn inorder to get to work every day. I haven’t seen hide nor hair of my sanity for nearly 6 years now.

    Where was I? Oh yes, Galacon!

    Out of all the conventions I've been to, GalaCon has the absolute best Main Stage.

    The opening ceremonies introduced the attendees to the guests of honor, community guests Jan Animations, and outlined the general rules for the convention.

    Unlike Everfree Northwest, this wasn’t done to a musical number. Such a pity. Thornwing has a fantastic singing voice and his duet with Ingrid Neilson made that opening a highlight of the convention circuit this year.

    Aside from the opening ceremonies I had three events I wanted to cover for the day. The first was the Buckball Tournament. The second was the Vendor Hall, and the third was Andy Price’s artist table.

    Like the smart American I am, I decided to go visit Andy first.

    Blurry iPhone picture is blurry. Note to self, purchase a high quality digital camera.

    Oh my… that was quite the line. Eh this is Andy Price. His is an expert at his craft and his headsketches don’t take more than 15 minutes. I’m sure this line will fly by!

    THREE HOURS LATER

    Actually it was a little over an hour. You try passing up the opportunity for that Spongebob Joke.

    That line was a lot more dense than I thought it was.

    Of course, while I was waiting in line to see Andy, the Buckball game was canceled on acoount of rain. Which was odd since it was sunny and 95 degrees (ferheinent) outside when that announcement when out. After I had realized that, Germany had reminded me about the wonderful existance of sun showers.

    Those poor, poor fursuit cosplayers never stood a chance. Incredible work by all though.

    Anyways, after the heavens had opened up, grounded all outdoor activities to a screeching halt, and made even walking to the hotel next door a guaranteed, soak to the bone, shower I decided to do the sensible thing and pick up my Startnext campaign backer reward.

    For those not aware, GalaCon runs a fundraising campaign through Startnext to help offset expenses accrued by running a convention. In exchange for giving them a predetermined amount of euros, you get a reward you can pick up at the convention. So what is a poor American supposed to buy when going on vacation overseas?

    The logical and most prudent use of my finite monetary resources would to be frugal with my purchase and just pick up a t-shirt or something small but useful which can also serve as a reminder of my trip to Galacon.

    Basically my conbadge and convention guidebook would have served that purpose and at the cheapest price point possible. However, let me inform you of these little facts. The first, I like to collect plushies of the conventions I attend. The last time I attended Galacon was in 2015, which concidentally is also the last year Galacon had plushies, which were also Startnext Backer exclusives. Furthermore, the previous time I was an invited VIP guest of the convention who was completely unaware of that funraiser campaign.

    I also have a personal goal of collecting a plushie of the pony con mascot for every single convention I attend. I have a really nice herd of convention plush at home.

    So, inspite of all of the above, I was unable to get a plushie of Canni Soda the last time I was at Galacon. Naturally, there was no way I was leaving the convention WITHOUT something related to the mascot to add to my mascot collection. There was a 3D Sandtone figurine of Canni available on the campaign. I had no idea how it would look or what size it was going to be when saw the option to buy it. I didn’t care about that.

    My con swag was very light this year. Had a week long European Tour immediately after GalaCon with my EQD buds! 

    I just purchased it sight unseen. I couldn’t be happier that I did. For I finally have my Canni Soda!



    I JUST GOT THE PUN!!!

    Lunch at Galacon wasn’t too difficult… so long as you had cash. For the venue was selling MLP themed foodstuffs throughout the con, but as alluded to before the venue only accepted cash for food.

    When it wasn’t raining getting food in the city wasn’t difficult. All I had to do was look for the internation symbol for edible food.


    I said edible food, not healthy food. Besides when you are very hungry after spending a long day at pony convention--keep in mind this was lunch--the last thing you think about is experiencing German food. I wanted a hamburger, french fries, and a coke and there was absolutely nothing that was going to stop me!


    Except mother nature. Nothing was going to stop me except mother nature. Which she did, For like, three hours.



    That was the best hamburger I had ever had and I dare everyone who reads this article to try and convience me otherwise!

    With my hunger sated, it was time for the second most important event of the convention: GalaCon's Voice Actor Panel!


    If you ever wanted to spend an hour laughing your butt off at the wild antics of the show's voice actors, this panel is a must see.

    Running gag of the whole show: everything is about Silver Shill. Unfortunately, if you've been to one of these panels, you've pretty much seen them all.

    Though Elley-Ray is an absolute treasure and needs to be on a VA panel with Tabitha at a Brony convention next year.

    Anyways, after the VA Panel, I spent a little bit of time exploring the Vendor Hall.


    SO MUCH HAND MADE PLUSH!


    CUSTOM GLASSWARE!


    EMBROIDERED BLANKETS AND TOWELS!


    A WHOLE BUNCH OF DIFFERENT HAND MADE CRAFTS… INCLUDING HER BEST SELLING ITEM DEMON ANGEL BUNNY!


    EVEN MORE PLUSH, BUT THIS TIME OF NIGHTMARE RARITY!!!

    I have a soft spot of comic exclusive characters and seeing them as realized merch outside of the comics is always a true delight.

    You know. All of these plushies are kind of reminding me about GalaCon's most well known event.

    PLUSHIE CON!



    Were you expecting me to say the Grand Galloping Gala? Where I would have to dress up in a monkey suit, in steifling heat and humidity in order to attend the event? The event which is supposed to invoke the same sense of grandure and statue as if it were to take place at Canterlot Castle in Equestria and is being held in a convention center as opposed to a literal fairy tale palace right across the street?

    Where said palace was unfortunately also hosting both a circus and rock concert on the same night?

    Instead I did exactly what my body was telling me: take a ton of pictures of 680 plushies and go to bed.

    Prepare for Plushie Bombardment presented without commentary!






































    Tomorrow was going to be another very busy day and there was no way I was going to be exhausted for it.

    As the events of the following day showed, this proved to be the right call.

    The Ultimate Brony Mobile.

    DAY FOUR--Galacon’s 2018 Finale!

    My agenda consisted of six items. They were as follows:

    * Get breakfast with conhotel room roommate.
    * Attend Galacon Comic Artist Panel featuring MLP Comic Illustrator Andy Price
    * Attend the Galacon Jan Animations Panel
    * Get Lunch
    * Attend Galacon’s Charity Auction and Closing Ceremonies
    * Get Dinner at Towers Pub

    Breakfast with my hotel roommate consisted of meeting with a friend and going to a Turkish Bakery for a light but very delicious breakfast. Learned a ton about German history, and how Turkish immigrants have enriched both Germany as a country and as a culture …





    It was delilcious. I do not remember the name of the pastery I had had, but it was one of the best to ever grace my pallet. I loved every second of it. The company was fantastic, and we all had a delightful time.

    Once breakfast was concluded we meandered back to the convention center. There wasn’t any real rush to get back to Galacon. The venue didn’t open until 11:00 AM. Andy’s panel wasn’t until 11:30 AM. All was right with the world.



    I still find it incredible that Ford is an expensive car brand in Europe.

    There was no way I was going to miss this!

    Anyways, Andy Price’s panel went off without a hitch. Perry did her usual hosting duties for the VIP panels and Andy was a class act the entire time. None of the questions were anything surprising for me--I have attended plenty of IDW Comic Artist panels as both audience member and host so everything covered was old hat for me. However for those who have never attended one of these panels before, it is a treasure trove of information related to nothing but the comic industry, insider stories, and the usual question related to the show’s animation--9 times out of 10 it’s an animation error--which the comic staff cannot answer properly.

    Good times were had by all. Especially Andy, who was introduced onto the stage by Perry to the Batman ‘66 themesong. Perfectly fitting for one of the show’s biggest fans!

    After Andy’s panel was Jan Animations’s panel. Whereas Andy’s was primarily audience Q&A for the duration, Jan’s was something much different. The entire hour was planned and scripted from the 1st minute to the 40th, with the remaining 20 dedicated to Q&A. Jan and Shady showed off their new creation, Vulpwood with a 16 minute animatic preview of a 22 minute pilot episode. The whole thing was a complete laugh riot from start to finish.

    I seriously cannot wait to see this finished! This is so freaking good!

    Describing any of the jokes spoils the jokes, so I won’t go into detail, however the show is expected to be completed sometime in Q1 of 2019. Hope they make the target date and we’re able to see the finished show sooner rather than later!

    Loved every second of it.

    Following that, Jan and Shady went a little bit into their previous history with the Brony fandom, starting with animating Picture Perfect Pony, their rise in popularity following that, 5the launch of Buttons Adventures, and then the C&D they received from Hasbro. They talked about completed scripts/animatics/recordings for Buttons Adventures, which all had to be scrapped, a little bit about the unfinished Pony Rock Anthem music video, and an overall lack of closure with their fandom work.

    Then came a surprise…




    …there wasn't a dry eye to be found in the mane hall after that. Or a person still sitting in their seats. Or possibly anyone in the Nestor who didn't hear the thunderous applause.

    Which was kind of unfortunate since the panel's Q&A was immediately after this tribute/send off to Button Mash.

    I had to compose myself after the premiere of GAME OVER, so I skipped out on the Q&A and headed out to get some lunch. However I stopped at the doorway for a moment, and looked back towards Shady and Jan. I smiled a knowing smile. Even after everything they have been through, they came out the other side stronger for it.

    The future looks pretty bright for these two, and I can't wait to see how far they'll go.

    There were several hours to kill between Jan Animation's Panel and the closing ceremonies, and thankfully it wasn't raining. So I ventured into the city to get a grab lunch and ultimately start to wind down.

    Most of the convention had a similar idea since there was a mass exodus from the convention center  following Jan's panel. And when I returned, the vendor area had a very low population count. Most of the tables were relatively empty… save for Andy Price's table which had an even longer line than the day before.

    Yes, I made sure not to sit in the same spot every time I was in the main hall. Why do you ask?

    Galacon's Charity Auction is part of the closing ceremonies for the convention and started at 4:30 PM that day. It was scheduled to run until 7:00 PM. So if my previous experience at Galacon was any indication, it was going to overrun by about half an hour.

    I was off by my overrun estimate by about 15 minutes and because two amazing somethings happened at the end of it.

    But before we get to that, here's some notable items auctioned off!


    Yes, we'll get to the hat. I just wanted to point out that Perry was in her element while she was up on stage auctioning off every single item in the charity auction!


    Fantastic Canni Soda figurine was one of the first lots up for bid!


    Even Japan PonyCon got in on the fun of GalaCon and sent in their own charity auction lot!


    IDW Comic Artist Brenda Hickey sent her love to GalaCon and this beautiful charity auction lot! Went for a high amount too.

    Yes, I had to restrain myself from bidding after the first bid sent this well out of my price range.


    The signed auction items got interesting once the final signing session for the con was over… for the guests of honor started to show up for their signed items!


    Claire Corlett hand delivering the signed Sweetie Belle Plushie to the winner was delightfully… sweet.

    Yes, I know where the door is. I'll show myself out in a moment.


    Heartswarming Con Banner signed by all of Galacon's Guests of Honor live on stage! This was a fun moment!


    I wanted that plushie. I couldn't afford the 1,000€ it went for.

    Oh Canni Soda plushie. Why have you become my white whale!


    What a Fanta… clock? The creativity in these auction items is astounding!



    And no charity auction is complete without a copy of Fallout Equestria. In this case it's the 3rd printing. Beautiful book!

    The first of the amazing somethings occurred when Perry's hat went up for auction. It's a Galacon tradition to auction off her hat at the end of the show, and part of that tradition is the hat ends up going to the person with the biggest wallet at the convention. The person is always the same… and is known only as The Joker!

    The Joker has been spotted at Brony Conventions throughout Europe and has been buying Perry's hat at every single charity auction where it appears.

    This year's auction at Galacon at first appeared to be no exception. The Joker immediately tossed out an opening bid of 600€, which knocked out any and all other potential bidders. Especially since the other high bidders in the audience had already bought other items for at prices between 750€ and 2,000€.

    The Joker had Perry's hat in the bag… until one lone voice shouted out from the upper level a counter bid of 700€. If you were at the closing ceremonies you already know who this person is. For those who don't… well, no Joker is complete without a Batman to complete him!


    In a completely shocking turn of events, The Dark Knight rose to do battle with The Joker at Galcon this year!

    No one was happier than Batman fanatic and IDW Comic Artist Andy Price over this turn of events.

    It was a battle of who had the biggest wallet. The winner takes Perry's hat! The Joker would place and then Batman would top that bid, then back and forth it went. Over and over again these two clashed until Batman made an offer of 1,250€…

    …and the Joker countered with 1,500€.

    Everyone in the audience was waiting for another bid from Batman. Surely there was no way he would leave this counter bid unanswered! But as we sat there in absolute silence, it slowly became clear that Batman could do no more. The Joker's wallet was inconceivably larger than his.

    The audience was stunned. Joker was going to defeat Batman… at a My Little Pony convention.



    I hope DC Comics never sees that above sentence. Someone might just pick that up and run with it for a comic arc while completely missing the point of what happened next.

    Anyways, the Joker beating Batman just felt wrong. Everyone in the audience knew it! But there was nothing that could be done. Batman didn't have anymore funds. It looked hopeless…

    …until Batman's very presence did the very thing that all superheroes set out to do when they fight injustice: inspire others to answer their own calls to action.

    It might have been Perry. It might have been one of the Guests of Honor. It might have been Andy Price. It might have been someone from the audience. I don't remember who said it. I'm sure once the panel is uploaded on Galacon's youtube page we'll know exactly who started it, but the end result was that shortly after Batman had given up, someone shouted "Joint bid!"

    Batman needed a little encouragement, but eventually he accepted, and about 20 people—dubbed The Justice League—descend upon him, with wallets opened and cash in hand to help him defeat the Joker.


    They were up there for a while, trying to count all the money. Perry, in an effort to move the auction along since they were already running overtime, suggested that everyone who is helping the Batman move down to the stage, bring their money with them, and and they will count it there.

    With those words Batman and The Justice League descended upon the stage in their effort to thwart the Joker! Only they weren't alone…

    Those who were still sitting in their seats surrounding Batman followed. And then those who were sitting around them went down as well. And those around them…

    The audience would not stand by and allow Joker to beat Batman. All those with cash to spare rose up and descended upon the stage to donate to this bid. First those on the level with the Bat. Then those on the level below. Until eventually it came time for my turn…


    At somepoint during this moment of generosity, someone had the idea of playing the 1966 Batman Theme Song on loop over the speakers. Absolutely nothing could have made this moment any sweeter.

    Except what the final tally ended up being after all the euros were counted. The joint counter bid to the Joker's 1,500€ bid was an astronomical amount just over 4,700€. The audience went crazy!

    I, however kept my eye on the Joker. What was he going to do? He stood up and the audience went dead silent.

    He strode towards the stage with a check in his hand. Everyone held their breath. Was that check blank? Was he about to outbid the entire audience?

    Did he really want to watch the world burn?

    Joker stopped right before Batman, who was standing watch over the pile of money. He looked Batman straight in the eye and held the check between them. There was no microphone between them, so I don't know if words were exchanged. I'd like to think that adversaries such as these didn't need any.

    The Joker looked out to the audience, and then added his check to the bid. We found out shortly that he had already written out the check for 500€… and he just gave it all to Batman.


    The final auctioned off item went for over 5,000€! The grand total for the entire charity auction was 23,064.32€ (which on that date was worth $26,878.90 USD)! That wouldn't have been possible without Batman!

    Side note: after Galacon had ended, BronyCon raised $27,494 USD. Meaning between the two conventions raised on the same day raised a grand total of $54,372.90 USD for charity. The generosity of this fandom never ceases to astound me!

    With that bid the charity auction had officially come to an unforgettable close.

    But the surprises for the closing ceremonies weren't over yet. To cap off an unforgettable moment, one Galacon volunteer was given the mic by Perry for a special announcement. When he started talking about his girlfriend, I had a gut feeling about where this was going.

    Sure enough he dropped down on one knee and pulled out a ring.


    GalaCon 2018 is going to be a convention I will remember for the rest of my life. I could easily see this year's GalaCon becoming a legendary convention spoken about in wonder and awe for decades to come.

    For those who didn't attend GalaCon this year, consider heading out there next year for an unforgettable event! Until the next con folks, this has been Trusty Splendor The Illustrious Q! Take care everyone!


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