For those that have never heard of Kupocon. This is an international Fan / Community event created by Alex Marine. It is a Final Fantasy focused event that has been running for about 2.5 years and I have had the pleasure the honour to be involved in it since the second Kupocon (The First UK one) when I was luck enough to be invited to be an event photographer for them.
Kupocon is coming up to its 10th event but I have just got back from Newark, New Jersey and I thought it would be nice to share some thought about Kupocon and the 9th event
I have never attended an event in the states before, I was a little nervous about it. And as this was my 5th Kupocon I was a little concerned on how the community might be different. I needn’t have worried the community was amazing. I am not going compare between UK events and a US event as they were both a little different but one not better than the other just different and that speaks volumes about the community in my view the same open loving attitude exists on both sides of the Ponds.
I have heard some negative comment about the cosplay community in the states but while Cosplay is a big part of Kupocon its still only a part of it. To me Kupocon is not about only cosplay but about the whole Final Fantasy Fandom Community and that shined thought yet again as one of the best fandom communities.
From the moment I arrive on the Thursday night I felt welcomed Included care about it was wonderful it truly was. That amazing inclusive feeling was right their age, gender, ethnic background has no affect on the love shown in this community.
The Friday I got to spend some time with one of the most wonderful men on this planet the one and only amazing Mo Gallagher who has been to New York before so gave me an amazing guided tour of NYC. Tried a Philly cheese Steak saw some amazing sights. Before meeting up with other people attending Kupocon and a stop at the Hard Rock Café next to time Square. Before heading back to the hotel for a quick shower and then off to meet up with other fellow Kupocon attendees for a couple of drinks lots of chatting and was lovely to meet lots of new people a lot attending their first Kupocon. Everyone was so excited to see what Alex had in store for us.
Did Alex disappoint? No as always amazing guests, fun games, interviews, open mic for question with the guests. At no other Event like this have I ever seen the guests get so involved with the attendees and the community its not just a simple signing, its friendship and bonds are formed sometimes that reach far further than Kupocon. He is going to hate this but I look at my friendship with Liam Mulvey of Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV and Final Fantasy XV: Comrades for all the jokes and banter Liam has become a true friend who company I truly enjoy and who has supported and help me a charity event I setup and is also involved in our second event. Liam is truly loved by the Kupocon community and that really showed at the Bigger pom just how popular he is with his fans and how much he is willing to do for them. Very much with all the guests all willing to have a laugh make fun of themselves to entertain us all, Adam Croasdell, Mo Gallagher, Neo Liu Music, and of course Quinton Flynn. All of whom are such warm loving and giving people. But for me Kupocon is not just about the guests the games, the quest logs, the cosplay, its family, True friendships being formed from a common love for the Final Fantasy Franchise.
The Saturday night saw the insomniac ball, I had a small studio setup so I could capture all the people in there amazing outfit I have to say I love doing this I get such a lovely chance to speak to so many people laugh as silly shots are posed for I love the whole event but this is my third time doing the photo booth and its one of my favourite parts of the event.
I said this to someone on Saturday night how Kupocon was more than an event it was family and they had said before attending a Kupocon that had read people saying that on the community group but thought it was just hype but how that day her first Kupocon she had realised it wasn’t hype at all it was just an amazing feeling of coming home where no one judged you and the love and support was unreal. It made me think a lot about my journey with Kupocon and all the amazing experience in my life that would not have happened if I had not attended the first UK Kupocon and met the inspirational King Mog (AKA Alex Marine) and his Team especially Steve (AKA Alan Kenny) and later at the second event I attended Queen Mog (Natalie Marine) and the wonderful Niki Anderson. These with many other members of staff and Volunteers make Kupocon Home. The unstoppable Machine that is Kupocon is powered by these people, You know i said machine and well machines is really the wrong word it’s so much more organic and beautiful than a machine can ever be Over 5 Kupocon now I have watched the community bloom like a wild flower seen it grow from a Sapling of an idea to a strong tree of love and community spreading the seeds of friendship, respect and hope across the UK, Canada and the US and soon to Australia and Japan and i am sure as much as we all know without Alex it would not have happened also without the community backing Alex and his team it would not have happened so for me Alex is our pipped piper leading us to better place.
My personal Journey so far with Kupocon has been so emotional from the first event I found my heart touched by the community and the levels it would go to support each other. I have welled up and shed a few tears at most Kupocons especially at the closing ceremonies what are so full of emotions and even now writing this its happening again tears of Joy and memories of the laughter, the Joy, the sad times of saying until next time. The last year has been very tough on me in many ways but one constant joy for me is Kupocon and the community. And the Bigger Pom was no different. I felt so lifted by the Hugs, kisses, fist bumps, and High Fives I received. But Alex has been more than just a community creator and leader for me he has become a true friend as have many others in the community not just there to listen to me complain about my life but to make me smile, to support me in my recovery (still work in progress but a lot further along if it hadn’t been for Kupocon). At Kupocon; Wee Pom I was awarded the Warrior of Light, Something I never expected to get. This is up there with all the other important events in my life. I will never forget everything that Alex and Kupocon has done for me and the support they have given me not just personally but also in Charity projects I have done and how Kupocon has continued to support that for our next one in August.
That all said Kupocon is more than just Alex and I am sure he will not mind me saying without the community backing and support this just would not be possible and Alex and his team provide the framework but it’s the community that fills out that framework to be the amazing event it is. Each one of you that has ever attended a Kupocon, who has spoken to someone they have never met before or someone that only interacted with online has made this happen and makes it keep happening. Event I have ever attended has given the people that attend so much and asked for so little except for people to respect others and have a good time and if you want proof of this let me tell you about the actions of two people I met thought Kupocon.
Anthony Jarvis and Gemma Wilson two of the loveliest caring people. Anthony not only took a day off work to drive me to the Airport on the Thursday but they was the first people I saw when I got off the plan on Monday morning waiting to collect me from the airport to take me home but that was not enough they took me for lunch first. They have help me so much over this year and to me This is Kupocon bring together people who love and support each other, who are friends in time of need as well as friends in the good times No other event does that, no other event encourages that and helps those friendship bloom.
Thank you to everyone that I have met on this kupocon road so far and I look forward to meeting many more of you because its far from over not sure there is a true destination but as in life that doesn’t matter what matters is the Journey and the friends, family you form on the way