Everyone has heard of the big comic conventions that happen in the US, but not many know that Limerick has its own comic con, BroCon!
Emily Waters and Jay McKeown are just two members of the hardworking team that run BroCon every year. Since 2010, the convention has grown year on year with between 800 and 900 attendees expected in 2016.
“I got involved in the con from when I finished studying music and media performance technology in UL and I kind of stuck with it,” says Jay. He roped Emily Waters in to help. “I’m a ballet instructor. I teach ballet in the Limerick School of Classical Ballet. I love to game and have some experience in event planning through various projects from dance to organising recreational activities for the Special Olympics Ireland Games 2014.”
According to Jay, the BroCon name comes from a gaming term, “If something in a game feels like it is overpowered or unfair against the rules, gamers tend to say it’s broken. It was initially only a placeholder name but it never got changed.”
“It’s the tagline too, ‘If it ain’t BroCon, fix it!’” says Emily.
Besides promoting this nearly-mainstream culture in Limerick, BroCon also raises money for charity. “We do a lot of work for charities as well, auctions and raffles, and all of that money goes to Pieta House. Usually we raise two to three grand every year.”
Speaking of what you can expect at BroCon, Jay lists the various areas of the con, “It’s a games and anime convention. It’s a Limerick-sized comic con. You have consoles, card games, board games, and people watch anime there in a mini movie theatre. There will also be an artist’s alley, trade halls, memorabilia vendors, and crafts people. People dress up as well.”
This year BroCon has lots of interesting guests such as Paul St. Peter a voice actor, Pixi Styxx a cosplayer from Dublin who will hold cosplay workshops, head of Green Ronin games Chris Pramas and John Romero of Doom and Quake fame.
“We have a big masquerade. It’s really cool, all the people get dressed up!” Emily adds, “they go through the whole competition and they win prizes. It makes for a really good vibe, there’s individuals and then there’s groups. We had a superhero family last year.”
This year team BroCon is focusing on getting more families to come.
“We are going to do an arts and crafts area. We are trying to get kids more involved because we see it as a family thing,” Emily says, “we are slowly but surely getting more people interested.”
When asked where BroCon fits in with Limerick’s cultural scene it boils down to one simple thing for Jay and Emily, the love of games. “Personally I think everybody likes games,” says Jay. “I think that is breaking through though, there is so much stuff going on. It is going to get more popular.” Emily adds.
Speaking about Limerick’s cultural scene Emily sees Limerick as a hidden treasure, “I love it, and it’s so full of everything. It has so much to offer there’s loads happening. I loved the TomCat festival. My favourite thing would be any event that Limerick has, because everyone gets involved. There’s so many different things to do. I love the parks in the city, they are really beautiful.”
If you want to know more about the wonderful line up of events at BroCon 2016 head on over to Ulbrocon.com.
8th/9th/10th July PES Building, University of Limerick.