Over the Weekend I had the opportunity to attend one of the Biggest Conventions held in Trinidad and Tobago each year, AEX Summer Splash 2015. My experience there was pretty good, but a few things made the experience fall a bit short of what I expected.
What is AEX Summer Splash?
The short answer is that, AEX Summer Splash is a variation of AEX . AEX or Alias Entertainment Expo is a convention that has been held annually here in Trinidad (Trinidad & Tobago) for the past 3 years. So far the Con has been held in the eastern parts of Trinidad during the month of August, and It has grow in size and scale with each year. The First Alias was mainly a cosplay party for fans of anime, games, and all things considered nerd culture to dress up and have a fun time. The following year the event coordinators upped their game a lot and hosted a full convention, but this time it was not just a cosplay party. It had a full day of convention events, panels, gaming, D&D action, lots of booths with more merch than anyone could log home and so much more.
Quote from my review of AEX 2014
“However you look at it the event was a huge success” and it set a standard that I expect any Con hosted here in the future to at least achieve.
This year’s Summer Splash was a pool themed convention with lots of the events on the day centered around swimming. There was a relay based on the popular anime Free, a team event called One Piece Pirate Wars that required the participants to sit on a flotation device and navigate the pool to collect colored balls before other participants tried to throw them overboard, and there were others like an obstacle course that incorporated quite a lot of the other aspects of other events and booths. There were even underwater photo shoots and moments when anyone with the appropriate swimming attire could get into the pool and have a fun time. All these put together with a lot of other aspects made up the activities for the day. I personally did not participate in any but it was quite entertaining to see others do so. I could tell you that they were enjoying themselves, but those would just be blank words. Instead I’ll leave it up to you to judge for yourself.
If compared to AEX 2014 I’d probably say that that year seemed like a bigger affair that boasted one of the most expansive selections of booths for a Con in this country, as It had more merch, and gaming booths. However I can’t quite diminish the value of this years Con because though there were less booths, they were replaced by more activities, and food. It’s like the Full Metal Alchemist equivalent exchange quote:
Because of the limited amount of space around the pool I’d like to think that some aspects had to be decreased in size to allow for others to be available, or maybe it had to do with some other factors, I’m not quite sure, so just take this as an educated guess of sorts.
These are just Tiny nitpicking of course, as I don’t think that they diminish the amount of fun I had during the day. This year’s Con also seemed to address a concern I had about last years Con, and that was food. There was plenty food at reasonable prices. I ended up having shrimp and fries for TT$20. Last year I had to seek more variety of food outside the event so it was nice to see so much more this time.
After 6 pm the event coordinators thanked and instructed patrons that were not staying for the after party that the morning proceedings were over. Those of us that stayed were told to have a seat at a designated section near the pool while they prepared to start the party at 7 pm. It didn’t take long for everyone to pack up what wasn’t needed and for the bar and DJ to get things started, but there was one thing that didn’t quite seem right, the people. There were only a handful of us seated near the pool and so, I was afraid that this party was going to be a bust. This was supposed to be the main event for those of us that had been attending since the first Alias, and now it seemed that it was doomed.
I sat with some friends thinking to myself, “This after party is probably the only part of AEX this year that I find to be a bit controversial”. I thought back to moments before everyone left, about the people that didn’t stay, and what they had to say about the party. Many told me that they would not be staying, and when I inquired why they either said the cost was too high, because they had bought their ticket months in advance and didn’t factor in that cost or that they were not staying because their friends weren’t staying. Last year most people who were of the legal age to drink stayed back to enjoy themselves, we are Trini’s after all, but alas that wasn’t the case this year.
the big difference between this year and previous AEX events was that the party was tied into a ticket package that allowed patrons to buy a pass/ ticket that would allow them access to the convention during the day and the party after. This year the cost of the convention and the party was the same as far as I understood, but by breaking them up into 2 separate costs it didn’t seem as attractive to most event goers, especially given that the party was confirmed some time after most had acquired their tickets.
It should be noted that every story has two sides to it so how about we cover both.
Now what many of the attendees may not have known is that the after party was added closer to the actual event date, and was in fact not a part of the original plan, but because the attendees kept requesting it, it was added to the event plans. When added to the cost of the ticket it was equivalent to the stark pass from the previous year which offered access to the Con and the after party.
I hope that both sides of the story are understood and that each side can equally understand the other.
As for the party itself. It was an all-inclusive, which in layman terms means, “FREE DRINKS” for the entire party. The DJ also did not disappoint. I heard many variations of songs that I really like and then there were those that I didn’t know but totally enjoyed.
Can I just say that all of this was written without any liquor in my body. So those of you that were at the party and wondering why I was sitting on my laptop before I partook in anything, now you know.
If asked if AEX summer Splash 2015’s convention was a success. I will quickly say yes, but if you ask me about the after party, I’d have to explain. I would assume that they expected more of a turnout because of all of the people that requested it, but with just a handful of people drinking around a moderately sized pool it’s just kinda awkward at first. Yes there are those that are completely able to party and have fun by themselves away from the crowd, but most of us flourish in larger groups of people. We need our crazy friends to be just as drunk and crazy as us, and I believe that, that significantly affected the atmosphere of the party for me AT FIRST.
This tale has a twist.
As the night proceeded more and more of those that were present started to join in and enjoy themselves, and then there were some that did not attend the convention, but they did attend the party.
Before the night was over pretty much everyone was dancing with drinks in hand having a good time, I know that I personally had a good night sitting, watching them enjoy themselves under the moonlight by the pool.
and isn’t that what a party is about?
if you’d like to hear more of my thoughts on this topic, then I suggest you listen to the Buttonsmashers podcast.