It cost £25 to enter the opening ceremony. It was wasted money and i will never encourage anyone to do that again.
I have just come back from Destination Star Trek Europe. This is a convention to celebrate 50 years of Star Trek - or so i thought. Turns out this was not really the case - yes it was mentioned in a few of the panels, but i was expecting a bit more of a celebration - similar to that of the Star Wars Celebration earlier in the year.
I got myself a 3 day pass, a number of paid for talks including the opening ceremony, and a couple of photo shoots. I was expecting there to be a lot to see and do, so i didn't want to overload myself.
After a 2 hours wait, we finally made it close to the front of the queue to get our wristbands. For some reason, the organisers thought it would be a good idea to only have one box office with about 4 people in it to process hundreds. Of course, this failed totally. Not a good start at all. I went with a friend, and we were slightly concerned that we would not get inside in time for his first photo shoot. We did, once they sped up the whole process (the process they should have used from the start).
Initial impression were VERY disappointing. There was hardly anything there. A massive row of seats for Autographs, 3 photo booths, 3 stages and a very small amount of stalls. These stalls looked like they were part of the organisers, so had very little variety of stuff. As we only had tickets for the ceremony that day, we went and had photos taken on both the bridge sets. They were not brilliant, but suitable for the photos. We then hung around for a bit, had food (pricey) and started to Queue for the opening ceremony. Queuing became the bane of the show, as we seemed to queue for everything.
The opening Ceremony cost £25 to get in. We queued near the front of the plebs entrance (this entrance was for everyone who did not pay a fortune for their tickets) and waited patently for the doors to open. The show was supposed to start at 7pm, but for some reason only known to the organisers, they decided to not let people in until 7pm. Of course, it takes time to scan and let 2.5k people into a hall, so the show didn't start until 7:30pm. It was for an hour, and an hour it was. Luckily we managed to catch our train back home with no issues. The ceremony itself was a parade of the people who were at the show - and nothing much else. I was hoping for a bit of information on the new series, maybe a sneaky trailer - but it was fast becoming obvious at this point that this was no celebration of Star Trek, but a money making event for the organisers.
Day one was pretty disappointing, but day 2 was much better. Not from an organisation point of view - but from the talks point of view. I am a fan of Wil Wheaton and TableTop. I had tickets to see Wil on stage (was well as his panel on TNG, a Photo Shoot and hopefully an autograph). His talk was amazing - a highlight of the event. A lot of the other talks were flat, or were mis-sold. If Wil Wheaton was not at the event, i would have been very annoyed. I will write a blog post about Wil's talks at a later point.
The queuing was a killer, and i ended up with some seriously bad knees and feet. The crew tried their best, but they were just the front people. The organisers themselves seemed to be away enjoying all their profits. I think they sold too many tickets for the photo ops, and thus people were being rushed (i will say the people within the Photo Booths were amazing - they were well organised and got us in and out in under a minute). I had about 3 seconds to meet Wil and Alexander Siddig, then it was onto the next. Not a major issue, as i have some amazing photos. Queuing for these was vert chaotic.
All in all, i am happy that i went. Very happy with my photos (which i will scan and upload at some point). Happy with my purchases, cheap DvDs of the Star Trek Series. Happy that i met some amazing people while queuing. VERY happy to have my photo with Wil Wheaton (yes, i know i have already mentioned this). Not happy with the organisation.
Will i go to another event? Sure, but i will change my expectations. It was nothing like Star Wars Celebration which i think it really needs to evolve.