How far would you travel for a convention, festival or special event?

A few weeks ago I went to my first convention – The Hub’s All Hell Breaks Loose III Supernatural convention – which was a one-day event in Melbourne. I had such an amazing time that I’m now planning to travel halfway around the world to do it all again.

Creation Entertainment’s Salute to Supernatural in Vancouver, Canada, is an epic three-day event, which is held annually in August, and I hope to be there in 2013.

In the lead up to All Hell Breaks Loose III, and whenever I mentioned it to family and friends, I almost always had to repeat myself and clarify.

Me: I’m going to a Supernatural convention.

F/F: A super what? Oh… a Supernatural convention. Is that some new-age thing?

Me: It’s an event for fans of the TV show, Supernatural.

And then, in most cases, I’d get a moment of awkward silence or a weird look, as if I’d just told them I was going to the moon. Admittedly, I’m discovering conventions in my 40s instead of my 20s… but hey, what can I say, I’m young at heart… whatever! I don’t need to justify anything… do I?

There are only a few people who understand my obsession with Supernatural and that’s because they are almost as obsessed as I am, so I’m not about to attempt an explanation here…

Well, okay… I’ll give it a try!

Supernatural is a show about two ‘fairly attractive’ brothers, Sam and Dean (played by Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles), who travel across the US in their 1967 Chevy Impala saving people and hunting things (monsters). Or, as Misha Collins (who plays the angel Castiel) says, “It’s a reality show about two underwear-model brothers who hallucinate and shoot at ghosts”.

What’s not to like?

But, I digress. Going back to the day of the convention, the thing that amazed me most was the number of fans who’d travelled huge distances to be there (including a few people who’d flown in from New Zealand for the weekend). It has inspired me to go to the event in Vancouver, particularly as this is where Supernatural is filmed (and also because my brother lives there; a perfect opportunity to visit).

Naturally, I’m curious about how this will turn out. Have you ever travelled a long way to go to a convention? Or perhaps something else… such as a concert, festival or sporting event? Have you ever done something that has made your family question your sanity? What was it? And how did it turn out? Was it worth the time, effort and expense?

Last year, while watching Eurovision, friends of mine decided that it would be cool to travel to whatever country won (to attend the 2012 event). They waited with great anticipation for the announcement of the winner – Azerbaijan – and were really excited by the result. This was a country they’d never considered visiting! Unfortunately, late release of tickets and the sky-rocketing price of accommodation prevented them from going, but they haven’t given up on their dream to get to Eurovision one day.

Also in 2011, my sister-in-law’s niece travelled from Vancouver to the Black Rock Desert in Nevada for the Burning Man Festival. She entered the Thunderdome (as in the movie Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome) and proceeded to beat the shit out of some guy twice her size (with a padded weapon). I still laugh when I think about it… and if you don’t believe me, watch the video on youtube.

There are also some pretty obscure sporting events around the world such as Cheese Rolling (in the UK), Man versus Horse Marathon (in Scotland) and Mountain Bike Bogsnorkelling (also in Scotland). Not to mention festivals, such as the La Tomatina Festival in Spain, where revellers pelt each other with large, red ripe tomatoes.

Compared to some of the above events, hanging out with the stars at a convention seems like a perfectly sane thing to do. What do you think?

Last year, while I was in Vancouver, I was lucky enough to see a couple of scenes of Supernatural being filmed (see my blog: Supernatural, Twitter and the Reluctant Groupie).

It was great to get a glimpse of the show being created and only made me even more keen to attend the convention in Melbourne.

The convention experience

One of the things I love about Supernatural is that the writers are not afraid to poke fun at almost everything – from movies to TV shows, from actors to obsessive fans – and the show doesn’t take itself too seriously. In season six, they pulled out all stops for an episode titled The French Mistake – Sam and Dean were thrown into a parallel universe where they were two actors named Jared and Jensen who starred in a show called Supernatural. It was the ultimate meta episode and they let loose on the cast, crew and fans.

A couple of seasons earlier, we were introduced to an unlikely prophet, Chuck Shurley, who was the author of an under-appreciated series of books titled Supernatural, which then led to another episode titled The Real Ghostbusters, where Sam and Dean are tricked into attending a Supernatural convention by their biggest fan, Becky.

Which, in a roundabout way, brings me back to my first convention. And, I’ll admit, I wasn’t sure what to expect.

In The Real Ghostbusters the fans were all dressed up as their favourite characters, there was LARPing – live action role playing – and there were real ghosts. Fortunately, none of this happened in Melbourne (although I did spot a couple of people in trench-coats masquerading as angels).

Over the years, Supernatural has garnered a cult-like status with passionate fans that are highly active on social media and, in January 2012, the show won the People’s Choice Awards in the Favourite Network TV Drama and Favourite Sci-Fi/Fantasy Show. Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles constantly acknowledge the support of the fans and, at the conventions, the cast and crew seem genuinely happy to mingle with the fans. It really does feel like one big happy ‘Supernatural family’ and I think this is why the conventions are so much fun.

Guests in Melbourne were Misha Collins (Castiel), Richard Speight Jnr (The Trickster/Gabriel), Jim Beaver (Bobby Singer), Traci Dinwiddie (Pamela Barnes) and Corin Nemec (Christian Campbell). Highlights included seeing the Impala as we entered the resplendent foyer of the Park Hyatt Melbourne (even though it was an Aussie version of the show’s trademark car), rubbing shoulders with Misha Collins for the photo opportunity and the Q & A sessions with all the stars. Richard Speight Jnr and Corin Nemec stole the show and had the audience crying with laughter.

I’m now looking forward to All Hell Breaks Loose IV in Melbourne (June 2013) and Salute to Supernatural in Vancouver (August 2013). Maybe I’ll see you there.

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11 thoughts on “How far would you travel for a convention, festival or special event?

  1. this is awesome! I was there as well and hope to also be in Vancouver next August 🙂 Fingers crossed our dream comes true!

  2. My brother recently went to the UK for 2 weeks just to see a few soccer games (but he also caught up with family too). I don’t think I’d travel specifically for an event but I’d incorporate an event (such at the Tour de France) into a bigger holiday where I did other stuff and visited relatives/friends too. I’m currently scheming to see if I can get overseas to attend a work conference with the aim of adding a bit of sightseeing and visiting friends/family in the process.

    • Actually, your comment reminded me that I did once travel interstate to go to the Tour Down Under… but we also took our bikes and did more than just watch the pros cycling. Next year I plan to do some hiking in the US after attending the convention in Vancouver. It’s a long way to go for just a weekend 🙂

  3. In answer to your question. I have travelled from Toronto to Vancouver for the first SN Vancouver convention. It was a great time and well worth the price. It was my first and I thought at the time my only convention, because I couldn’t afford it again for the following year. Luckily for me, they have decided to hold conventions in the Toronto area, one last year and one this coming October. I hope you get to Vancouver 2013, I am sure you will have a great time.

    • Thanks Judy. I’m really looking forward to going to Vancouver next year and, like you, I think I’ll only do it once. I probably couldn’t afford to go to another event overseas, unless they keep making Supernatural for another 5 years lol.

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  5. I was watching Supernatural when I found this post. I really like the show.

    My husband and I drove 2,500 miles to buy a used trailer, I don’t know anyone else that would do that. If something is important to you you should do it, it doesn’t matter what other people think. If you want to go to the convention you should go. Its important to do what makes you happy so when you look back you don’t have any regrets. 🙂

    • That’s cool that you were watching Supernatural when you saw my post. It’s a great show! And I totally agree with your comments; thanks so much 🙂

      Once I set my mind to something I’m pretty determined, so I’m definitely going to the convention next year. Can’t wait!

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