Hafan Y Mor Holiday Park, Pwllheli
Wow. This year’s Sci Fi Weekender was a blur – it went faster than light speed. All the usual geekery was in full swing, though I’ll be gosh darned if I can remember everything and what order it happened in. Too much blue milk?
Never mind, I have numerous photos of the weekend to share; to help report on this cosmic adventure. Except that didn’t go to plan this year. My trusty Canon was on the blink, so I resorted to a little digital snapper and my phone.
Not ideal, but sometimes you have to compromise.
So what is Sci Fi Weekender? For the unititiated, it’s a weekend of events and special guests, all held on site at the Hafan Y Mor holiday park in Pwllheli, North Wales. Think Comic Con but at a holiday camp and with a party atmosphere. All manner of interview panels, Q&As, games, and musical entertainment are part of the festivities.
Plus a prog rock festival – HRH Prog – was also being held on the same weekend. Not a massive tie in with science fiction you may think (at least not without Hawkwind playing). However it gave additional entertainment for those with musical interests.
Our weekend began with four of us – Adam, Greeny, Kurt and myself – driving from our corner of north east Wales to the north west. On the way we popped into Cob records in Porthmadog to feed our vinyl addition. Then we settled into our caravan home from home – complete with haul of supplies from the local ASDA – and planned our DVD watching schedule for the night.
Unfortunately the DVD player wasn’t working, and without tickets for the Thursday evening SFW party, we were stuck. Rather than watch TV, we went for a pint in the onsite pub. We then popped in to see what the prog rock was all about. We didn’t think we would get in, but it was no problem. As a result we were able to see Third Quadrant (quite good) and the excellent Crazy World of Arthur Brown. Arthur is over seventy years old and jumps around on stage like a nutter. Highly entertaining and some great tunes.
Friday began with the bad news that Kurt was ill. He’s only 16 so booze wasn’t the issue. As a result, Kurt and his dad Greeny were pretty much out of the running for the day. They watched TV and chilled. Plus Ste, our remaining member, had burst the inflatable camp bed by leaving it too close to the fire. He suffered a bad night’s sleep on the sofa as a result.
The rest of us headed over to the arena and started checking things out. I took a few photos and looked round the stalls. We caught a Cosplay panel with Tabitha from Artyfakes that was very interesting, with extremely impressive Space Marine costumes and hints and tips about the hobby. I bottled asking my question though, which was “How do you go for a wee?”.
I also watched an interview panel of comic book artists. The panel consisted of 2000AD greats such as Glenn Fabry, William Simpson, Clint Langley and Simon Davis. Hosted by Dez Skinn, the panel was informative and also amusing; it seems some of the assembled masters had been on the pop? Either way, these guys were like rock stars to me when I was a young 2000AD fan, so it was pretty cool.
The vibe around the arena was good natured as always. I took some cool photos (thanks everyone) and despite our numbers being depleted, we had a good afternoon.
After a delightful pizza from the onsite Papa John’s (it was great!); we were ready for the evening’s entertainment. I’m afraid to say that the Imaginarium and magicians weren’t really my thing this year. It’s difficult to dig the magic when you can’t see it up close.
The highlight was the one and only Professor Elemental, steam punk hip hop pioneer. His smooth raps mixed with groovy beats like a well tuned gin and tonic. A pleasure to witness, as always.
At the end of the night, I teleported across the site to see the end of the set by Caravan. Not only a very apt band to be playing, they were actually pretty good. The Soft Machine were on last with a more jazz orientated approach. All very impressive and I’m glad I got to see something different.
I’m ashamed to say that we all ended up crashing out early on Friday night. Illness and lack of sleep took it’s toll. I was last man standing, going to bed at 11.30pm. Pathetic, I know.
In Part 2: Brian Blessed, the Cosplay final, more Prog Rock…
PLUS: will we be able to stay up late?
Stay tuned to this frequency…
The Sci Fi Weekender site is here.
You really should check out Professor Elemental. His website is here, plus he’s on that Twitter and stuff too.