AkaiCon 2017 was great per usual, but had some serious venue issues this year. There were issues from parking, elevators not working and last-minute time changes for their late-night panels for both the Risqué Cosplay Contest and the Saturday night Rave. The staff members and con directors did a great job with handling the issues all weekend, but the weekend was more stressful than it should have been. I’ll get into the nitty gritty details of the nightmare that was the Millennial Hotel, but first I will start with the pros of AkaiCon.
- The convention location was great in terms of food. While the hotel itself had a restaurant and buffet, there were McDonalds, Wendy’s and even a Taco Bell all within walking distance of the hotel. This is great because, although AkaiCon is in Nashville, it’s not in the heart of the city and ran the risk of having con-goers travelling 2-3 miles in cosplay for food. That’s never fun and it was great to have access to three different food options near by the hotel.
- The main events were so much fun and well planned. I was in both the Cosplay Contest and the Risqué Cosplay Contest. Both went smoothly and I knew where I had to be, what time I had to arrive (even with last minute time changes for the Risqué Cosplay Contest) and where I could take/get pictures afterwards. This is especially important considering I had my daughter with me for the regular Cosplay Contest and the process from pre-judging to the actual even went smoothly and quickly enough that she didn’t get bored or irritated with staying in one place for too long.
- Panels and events this year were balanced in the sense that there were enough family friendly panels to go to as well as 18+ panels. My favorite thing about AkaiCon is that they have enough panels to accommodate all ages.
- The con-goers were great and for the most part polite. Same for the staff members. Even under pressure I was not yelled at, or belittled for not knowing something and if I needed to find something the staff were more than helpful.
Now to the cons…the hotel was awful.
- Freakin’ parking was a nightmare. I and many others had to spend at least a solid 20 minutes driving around the lot in the hopes to find a spot. By “a spot” I don’t mean a parking space, I mean a legit space where I could place my car be it on the grass, sidewalk, or wherever. There were people parked on the grass, on the side of the road, just anywhere. At one-point hotel staff made an announcement that people could park anywhere as long as it wasn’t in a fire zone. This announcement came too late considering a few people already got towed or ticketed for parking “illegally.” AkaiCon made an announcement on their page (I didn’t see it shared on their group page or event) that also came too late.
- The elevators were also a nightmare to deal with. One was known for not opening/closing and sometimes just not working. There were only four elevators and AkaiCon would reserve one for cosplay contestants/guest to get upstairs before the event started. This made sense, but also it made it harder for con-goers to get upstairs in time and getting back down was even harder. I skipped the rave because I couldn’t get upstairs fast enough and the time for it changed so that it ended the same time my panel did. Rude.
- Last-minute time changes were also a nightmare for AkaiCon’s late night panels. I don’t know who’s exactly to blame, but both the Risque Cosplay Contest and Rave had their times changed and were originally scheduled to end at 2am, but ended at 11:30 and midnight. This was particularly awful for those who made plans for late night fun and suddenly everything is shut down by midnight
Usually, I can give a con an overall rating, but this year I gotta break it down into 3 categories: Location, Venue, Convention
Location: 3/5 Stars
Venue: 2/5 Stars
Convention: 4/5 Stars
I will definitely be coming back next year and hopefully, AkaiCon will have found a better venue for next year.