F.A.C.T.S. 2016

One of the last conventions in the Belgian scene is F.A.C.T.S.. From this year onwards, there are two editions and we’ve gotten the opportunity to join the fall event. As this is one of the biggest cons in Belgium, it’s only natural that a lot of people attend. The question rises if the organization takes this into account and tries to anticipate. Let’s dive into a wonderful world filled with magic and merchandise.

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The organization strives to give you the best experience and this already starts when finding a parking spot. The event hall is surrounded by quite some parking areas and there were huge signs indicating which parking still had free spots. Even more, there were a lot of co-workers that were giving directions and pointing out where you could still find some available parking slots. This certainly makes everything go more smoothly.

Due to the strict safety regulations in Belgium, the organization askes to bring only bags that were around an A4-page size, so it was easier to check. There was also a weapon check, to prevent dangerous weapons to be taken into the halls. Due to these safety measurements, a lot of people feared that the waiting queue would be enormous but it went quite smoothly as there were several check-ins available.

On entering the event, it was quite clear that there were a lot of exhibitioners and activities, although there was still enough room between the several stands. The main hall was packed with shops with a variety of goods, going from t-shirts and plushies to swords and games. Even dried fruits, kimonos and alcoholic drinks were available. The set-up from the previous edition was used again, giving three big lanes, each going to one hall. The first one was the gaming section, where you could test some of the upcoming games or even talk to some Belgian indie developers. If you’re more into retro gaming, you could relive your youth on the several available consoles.

Going to the second area, you were engulfed by artists that were dying to show their work, while there were also signing sessions by David Hasselhoff for instance. If this wasn’t your cup of tea, the fan village also had quite some curiosities for you to discover. The huge ‘The Walking Dead’ container certainly was an eye-catcher, while there was also a Quidditch area to get you informed. There were a lot of different stands there to give you details regarding their hobbies, which certainly is a nice change of pace. One other hall had some movie cars and a drone racing circuit, what might sound boring but was actually quite entertaining.

The last area was dedicated to cosplay, as the competition was held there and even a workshop to make your own Pokémon ears. Cosplayers were also venturing the other halls, giving people the possibility to get a picture with one of their favorite anime or gaming character. The stage in the main hall was also used for some themed parades, where the crowd could take pictures and the cosplayers could show their moves.

There were some improvements regarding the previous editions.  For instance, the organization understood that there weren’t enough food and drink stands and that the quality wasn’t great. They tried to tackle this by placing more food stands and trying while also trying to improve the food standards. It has to be said, their efforts have paid off. The food quality certainly was a lot better and there were a variety of different stands. This also counts for the resting/eating areas, as there were a lot of tables foreseen. One other noticeable thing is that there were announcements to give people a heads-up when something important was happening as the schedule was filled with activities.

Although the organization does their best to improve the con, this also means an increase of the ticket fees. A lot of people still attended the event, but weren’t too keen on the new price. Depending on what you do on a con will determine if this is too much or not. At any rate, this is certainly something they will need to keep in mind as increasing the price might give the opposite effect.

Conclusion

F.A.C.T.S. Fall 2016 was filled with activities, food stands and merchandise, finished off with some cosplay fun. If you like to do a lot and attend Q&A’s, get photos and buy lots of goodies, you’ll certainly like this event. On the other hand, people who’re just interested in one specific part might find it a bit overpriced. Overall, the organization tries to listen to feedback and improve their baby even more, which can only be supported.

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