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Was MegaCon Live a Mega Fail? (Birmingham 2023)

I am not affiliated with MegaCon, TokFest or the NEC. All opinions are my own.

MegaCon Live is an event organised by Malo Events and powered by the co-founder of MCM Comic Con, Bryan Cooney (and his team). Unlike a lot of ‘nerdy’ pop culture conventions, this one was weirdly connected to TokFest. MegaCon Live Birmingham took place from the 25th-26th of March (sorry for the review taking so long).

Here are the links both to MegaCon Live and TokFest for those interested.

Starting off, there was nothing massively wrong with this convention. There were food and drink available from the NEC, panels and guests, many artist and sellers and displays. And while I only attended on Sunday, the only difference between Saturday and Sunday, as far as I know, were more people on Saturday and an extra guest on Sunday. So let’s dive into specifics.

Artists and Vendors

I spent more at this convention than at the past few conventions I have attended, MCM last November included. There was a large variety of sellers, people with collectibles, anime figures, artists selling prints and stickers and badges. I wished I had a space (and money) for a Pokemon Terrarium since they’re beautiful creations.

The aisles had room for people moving both ways with only the occasional blockage by someone asking for photos of someone’s cosplay. As far as I know, how things were laid out was not an issue to the artists and vendors.

Guests and Panels at MegaCon


Panels were my biggest issue. I went to this comic con to meet actors David Gareth-Lloyd and Kai Owens, known for their roles in Torchwood. When I saw there was a panel on Sunday, I was excited, and finding out their autographs were £20 each when at a previous convention, Doctor Who guests charged anywhere from £20 to £70 per autograph.

The problem was, their panel was twenty minutes long. West End Kids’ rehearsal before their panel ran over. By the time the actors came on stage for their panel, it was almost ten minutes after their panel was meant to start. During the panel, Gareth David-Lloyd had to leave the stage to deal with an issue. When he returned to the stage, he sat down and was almost immediately told the panel was over.

Unsurprisingly, I have love Torchwood, just like Doctor Who. My last post was my favourite New Who episodes which you can read here. I was excited to be able to ask these actors a question but when I’d mustered up courage, the panel was over. Thankfully, I had a chance to talk to them afterwards while getting autographs (and not for the first time in my life, was mistake for being many years younger than I am). I discovered from them that their Saturday panel had a larger crowd compared to the, at most, twenty people sitting in the huge main stage area for their Sunday panel.

A similar thing happened to Danny John-Jules and Chris Barrie with their Red Dwarf panel. They were asked a few questions and it was over in half an hour. At least their panel had a far bigger audience.

A photograph of the West End Kids rehearsals.


The guests for this convention included the Red Dwarf and Torchwood actors mentioned earlier, David Morrissey known for The Walking Dead (but I knew from Doctor Who), the voice actor for Professor Oak from Pokemon as well as some minor actors from Game of Thrones and a few other guests I didn’t know.

The best part of MegaCon for me was how reasonable the autograph prices were. Compared to Jodie Whittaker’s £70 fee at Showmaster’s and the disappointment of hoping to meet guests at MCM on Sunday only to find most of them hadn’t showed up that day, this convention was only an improvement on previous experiences.

What’s The Deal With TokFest?

While MegaCon and TokFest were organised by the same people, they bizarrely connected MegaCon and TokFest. TokFest itself was largely empty, with some backdrops, a food van and one fairground ride alongside a meet and greet with social media content creators.

From TokFests’s website, a single day ticket cost £30 (or £25 with an early bird offer). What I saw in the hall was not worth £30, not when my MegaCon general entry ticket (from 11am-5pm) cost £15.

The issue with TokFest itself wasn’t the convention, though it did look rather empty and somewhat boring, was that some of the people at TokFest were rude. They did not follow cosplay etiquette (or basic courtesy) of asking for photos and videos. One person complained on Tik Tok that they were insulted by some adults attending TokFest.

MegaCon Staff Issues

After receiving wristbands at around half ten, I waited in the registration hall. This is where I had my only issue with staff. Naturally, a queue formed. One staff member then started shouting to ignore the line and to just move right up close to the barriers and wait for them to open. He said that we should crowd up and not queue, which is my opinion could have lead to issues if there were more people. Thankfully, there were not.

MCM had a similar issue with people rushing the entrance queues. Their solution was similar but handles a lot better as there as a large space for people to wait and they didn’t even start to gather into a tight group until the convention was five or ten minutes before opening.

However, I have seen several cosplayers complain about harassment from other guests and touching props without permission. Apparently, the staff responded with ‘just ignore it’ and similar remarks. While I can’t confirm this happened, I didn’t see any staff prepared to handle any of this. Perhaps staff would require some sort of training if this is true.


MegaCon’s marketing was bizarre as I saw none. The only reason I saw this con existed was because I checked the NEC’s website for anything interesting going on. I had no Instagram adverts about their guests or panels, no Facebook ads. The convention didn’t even show up on google when I searched for local conventions two weeks before. There were no advents on Tik Tok for either MegaCon or Tokfest. Though, after the con I saw lots of videos about or from MegaCon, filmed in the NEC’s corridors.

Conclusion and Improvements

With a few improvements, MegaCon could be a great convention. it already drew the vendors that Showmaster’s was lacking. With longer panels, with guests doing one panel over the weekend rather than two short ones on each day, it would give them time to have more questions from the audience.

While the backdrops were good for cosplayers, MegaCon and TokFest combined did not seem like a good idea. Many cosplayers are on TikTok, but TokFest was not aimed at the TikTok side of cosplaying. It may have been more successful if it had been.

Daleks at MegaCon Live Birmingham.

More things to do and look at would be nice as most of the cosplayers outside were bored. I’d never been to a convention where there were more cosplayer sin the NEC corridors than in the hall itself (before closing time of course). Whether it’s more variety in the panels, more displays similar to the Steampunk display, or a better area for gaming (and maybe including tabletop games). There were no cool activities like axe-throwing or sabre training like at MCM. Something like that might have been a great way to keep people in the con itself.

Overall, with a few improvements, MegaCon could become a great and fun con outside of buying merch and meeting up with cosplayer friends. All it needs is a few minor improvements. Longer panels, more interactive parts. If I return, it would likely be for guests and autographs.

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