Convention Report: HarmonyCon Retrospective Part 2

Part 2: Saturday Events (19th February 2021)

$12,000 Raised for DASH Immigration Charity.

Note: For more convention reports, you can read them here, or use the search label 'convention'. Part One is here.

You can read about the DASH Immigration Charity here. 

Day Two of HarmonyCon 2022 was the most fun day by far, with plenty of fun to be had. There were plenty of unusual characters, including this rather unusual gentleman trying to find as many mares as possible. As you can see, he has quite an interesting theory worked out about the government's plans to deprive humanity of this important resource. More details to follow as soon as we get them. In the meantime, here's some more about the event he crashed.

Brave renegade Alex T Pones detailing how mares are real, block radar, and for this reason are being hidden by the Government


Panel – VIP Panel 

This was the first panel we attended on the day. Slightly sombre and melancholy, reflective of the two years of time together lost to the pandemic, but nevertheless a welcome return to events. The atmosphere was positive and the feeling of relief was visible on the faces of the guests and attendees. For many it was their first panel or convention since the lockdowns began. It was only the second US convention since Trotcon in December.

The guests were Elley Ray Hennessey (G4 voice of Mistmane), Tony Fleecs (G4 IDW comics artist), Lea Dabssi (Imalou, G5 MLP designer and creator of Izzy), Claire Corlett (G4 voice of Sweetie Belle), Gabrielle Brown (fan musician and occasional G4 voice extra) and Ingrid Nelson (G4 voice of Maud Pie). Many interesting questions were asked, and the answers were very thorough. I detected that some of the panellists were eager to vent about the pandemic. Clearly, the pandemic had left people very pent up, but as the panel soldiered on the feeling subsided.

It was clear we're back in business, baby.


Cosplay Competition

The change in atmosphere set us up nicely for this next event. With about 300 people in attendance (at least by my counting) there was clearly still a strong desire to see some very... interesting individuals turn up in what can only be described as an exhibition of fancy dress costumes from an assortment of cultures/eras/narcotic influences.

A wonderful array as always, with competitors in similar numbers to previous years, and some fun role playing to boot.

  Event – Roaring 1920s Dance Lesson

Do you like music that feels younger than your last fling, but came from a time older than your gran? Do you like dancing like a coked up Spike Spiegel on rollerskates? Or can you only re-enact John Travolta's awkward dance scene from Pulp Fiction like you're on heroin and valium? No worries – this tutorial had the steps, the stings and the songs to put the pep in your step, the wowzers back in your trousers and the flirt back in your skirt as you and your darling date flap the night away. Hosted by Crackle's Cousin Cosplay, this was a fun and engaging tutorial, which this author had to sit out of, on account of the last time he tried this, he was convicted of affray and battery in three states simultaneously, and put at least one Starlink out of orbit.


Thoughts – Other Events

Today the array of creative events was greater and better placed in the timetable. The Budget Art Panel and Design Team Q & A panel were very interesting, as well as the other informational panels such as Internet Safety and HN regular Minty Root's panel on pony gimmick accounts. There were plenty of other interesting panels, such as the Centaurworld panel which raised the interesting question of just what the hell to call us when we like ponies beyond MLP.

Coltchella (Saturday Night)

In my opinion, the musical events are the heart and soul of conventions. They are a major, major aspect of the community and a real draw for everything else, including the charities. And this particular night built on the momentum gained from the previous evening in its efforts to rebuild some of that good old community spirit.

Bluebrony started off the set with some of his more well known tracks, including his electronic arrangements. Combined with an unusual and some might say risky keyboard arrangements, this was a nice gentle lead-in to 4everfreebrony's set. This had a nice variety of his more classic tunes interspersed with his newer pieces, showcasing an interesting contrast between his older, more accoustic style and the interesting turn taken in recent years with an approach more oriented around synthpop, with a gentle deadpan delivery that comes across much like Bill Wurtz's at points.

After the intermission, people were now eager for something a bit more intense, and relatively new artist Whirly Tail kicked things up a notch with her fast-paced happy hardcore set, including her remixes of the New Generation movie's opener, Be My Day. Koa continued the hype streak with a variety of songs, with wonderful track composition and excellent vocal work. Her combination of powerful synth and well-paced vocal melodies brought out the manic side of the crowd.

Then the party really started. Eurobeat Brony's set got the crowd into full swing, and then time was lost to the crowd as Faulty, John Kenza and Pegasys lead the crowd into a full frenzy: conga lines, mosh pits, party poppers, small fires, the odd land mine... it's never a proper party without a land mine...

And as we melted away into the night, that special, almost feeling that could only come from a group of random oddballs congregating to party like only pent up geeks can... with that single purpose in mind... was back in our heads and our hearts. The feeling that, simply, holy shit, we're back. Written all over the wall of the coming year, scrawled in a violent splash of hand sanitizer that nobody would ever need, saved for two years and released in a powerburst of pent-up pandemic potential energy.

Part 3: Sunday Events (20th February 2021)

Event - VIP Comic Panel Reading

The first event of the final day – this involved all of the VIPs taking turns to read an MLP comic worked on by VIP Tony Fleecs and colleagues at IDW. It required lots of improvisation, clever emoting, and very very silly voices. Not much to say, other than it was pretty fun, and that the main hall had about 250 people attending for this. There was a lot of laughter, which was only stopped for a moment when the lines became confusing, only to start again right after!


Event - Coltchella Special Event

This was a little mid-day after party, exclusively for fans of Gabriel Brown if you like that sort of thing.


Event - Charity Auction

The last big attraction of the day, this ran over time because there were so, so many different lots to sell. This was hosted by Fiaura. This was by far the best fundraiser the convention has pulled so far, and managed to raise $12,000 exactly for the DASH Network – Dallas-Fort Worth Asylum Seeker Housing.

This organization provides housing assistance to asylum seekers while they wait for government work permits and other documents and who would be homeless without them. It also provides connections to social services, job training for ESL individuals, and a supportive community. You can find them at www.dashnetwork.net

Other Events

There were several other events, evenly spaced, though the only drawback was the Musician's Panel colliding with part of the Charity Auction. Fiaura's Brony Church was interesting, and had more weight this time, brought about by the fact that more people have turned to pony to help cope with the pandemic and other issues creating a lot of anxiety. There were plenty of fun games, including Pony the Interruption and convention stories panels, not to mention the MLP Dating Game and the Squid Game (Saturday night) for a nice little bit of cringey fun.

There was also the Secret Santa meetup, which was highly fun. And very cringey. 

 

Things we found at the Secret Santa event, as well as a candy house construction project. Totally normal.


Closing

Sadly, things had to come to an end, but yet another great convention was had by all. It was a shame that Bill Anderson couldn't turn up, and Ponysplosion had to be cancelled. Weedhorse Theo, the host, is okay. However, the new venue has used its space well, and as you can see from the map, the vendor hall is more well placed this year, right next to the main hall, allowing for people to see nearly everything from the double doors when they pass to enter the main hall events. This is not the first convention moving to a new venue this past year – Griffish Isles and the new Dutch Convention have already done so. It's all change. But change can be a good thing. I'm not sentimental. It would've been nicer if they didn't have to change because of the circumstances, but nevertheless they managed to make it work.

It's already been conformed for next year, and I highly recommend you to come. Because this con is full of wonderful eccentric characters like Alex T Pones. This really IS where the magic happens.

 -- Foal Duke, on an oil field hunting for mares, in the BLM's crosshairs.

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