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In this entry I'm probably going to not try hard enough to give enough context for a reader who doesn't know the MLP:FiM fandom. So I guess it's written for fans,
especially people who know/have attended GalaCon before. But I'll try to explain what I'm talking about at least a little bit where necessary. Or maybe I'm not
going to go that far into details. We'll see.
After 2 years without a GalaCon in person (because of COVID), there finally was one last week in Ludwigsburg. When in 2019
it was officially announced that there will be one in 2020, I and others were happy to hear that GalaCon was not one of the My Little Pony fan conventions that quit
because the fandom was finally shrinking after a surprising grouth since 2011. I always thought badly of the Bronycon organisers for ditching the project as soon as
it seemed that it might not be an easy yearly money printing operation any more. GalaCon is different and I expect the foundation behind it to continue to organise
events as long as there are people willing to organise them and some fans willing to attend them. But nobody planned with the pandemic of course. So, I and others
were even happier that the plans for the next in-person convention weren't cancelled. As it has turned out, the fandom didn't shrink into a tiny puddle of
half-heartedness, like it was predicted by some in 2019. GalaCon started out as the European MLP fan convention because not enough people thought it worthwhile to
start conventions in their European countries at first. Since then, several other MLP conventions have been held and some of them became a yearly expectance. And
now, years into the pandemic, there are more MLP convensions in Europe than ever before. It seems that the USA weren't guiding the trend in this case, contrary to
what almost everybody expected. I'm not saying the fandom grew in the last three years. I think the opposite is likely true. But it sure is still thriving and lots
of (not huge but worthwhile) in-person events are happening this year and are planned for next year. The fact that attendance at GalaCon 2022 wasn't much smaller
than in other years may be because many wanted to have one last GalaCon and couldn't in the last two years. We'll see how it goes next year. I'll assume that there
will be another one of them next year. By the way, it's not quite true that GalaCon didn't happen at all in Ludwigsburg in 2020 and 2021. A few people still came
and met outside the Forum. In some cases because they couldn't cancel their travelling arrangements and hotel rooms, in other cases because they don't live too far
steeph at GalaCon 2022
I was, like at almost every GalaCon in Ludwigsburg, a vendor, selling some of my engraved LED pictures. So I didn't take
much time away from the vendor table during opening hours. But as always, I still saw and met a lot of things, ponies and people. I didn't have any time to make new
LED pictures in the last three years, since the last GalaCon. But I still had enough from earlier to fill the table.
I just accepted that it's not really interesting enough to describe everything that I saw, mention everybody that I talked with and explain everything that I
learned. But here is a list of things determined somewhat noteworthy by me right now. I mean, I'll try to make it shorter. I don't know if I can. (Spoiler: I stopped
trying too hard after just a few sentences. Who cares?)
Starting on Friday, there was a DJ with a mobile set at the quare in front of the forum, playing mostly electronic music from the fandom that I know and like but
also performing similar music. That meant that the cops this year already found a reason to interrupt on Friday. Good cop calmed bad cop down and we agreed that
the lack of a permit for the live music isn't actually relevant because we were bothering nobody and that Rainbow Dash is cool.
There wasn't much time for setting up the table. I always take too long for that. But I had enough up when the doors opened to show what the table was about. I
sold a few pictures over the two days, making just a bit more than I payed for tables, entry tickets, traveling and hotel, but not enough to pay for all materials.
But I bought those years ago. So I'm just glad that I could visit GalaCon more or less for free again this year. From behind my table I also met a bunch of people,
including some that I know but only ever meet at GalaCon. I had some nice conversations without leaving the table. And I liked every time somebody stopped just to
tell me that they like my LED pictures.
As usual I missed all the panels, games and other sessions because somebody had to be at the table pretty much at all times and my helper couldn't be there all
day either. But I took some minutes here and there to visit other tables. I was stunned by some of the art. I was happy to see old acquaintances who are also
regularly vendors at GalaCon and I was glad to still find a very big variety of different fan-made merch and different art. A lot of stickers this time. But as
usual not many t-shirts and I again didn't get one in my size. Except for the official con shirt. But those are always very cheap, don't last long but cost a lot
of money. I did get a pile of used pony t-shirts, though. Zunt brought his private shirts as part of his final sell-out.
As always the first chalk drawings started to appear on Friday. On Saturday there were many more than ever before. There was no rain during the entire weekend.
But that alone can't explain why there were so many more chalk drawings on Saturday than on any other GalaCon Saturday. And there were even more on Sunday. People
continued and added pictures way into dawn. Some of these drawings are really stunning. But it's also interesting to watch them develop, to watch how they are made.
The result may look kind of magical sometimes. But seeing how it's done reveals that it's learnable skill that creates that look. There are some pictures of some
chark drawings attached. I made way more photos of them. This is just a selection of a few that I like for different reasons.
Prince Whateverer (YouTube,
Bandcamp) was at the concert. I like his songs (lyrics, music, voice). Some of the songs he writes are so
strong if you knwo the context or the inspiration for them. For some I don't really knwo what they are about. But those sound good, too. Too bad the sound at the
concert wasn't mixed properly. Maybe it sounded right from the monitor speakers, I don't know. But it was pretty bad from right in front of the stage, except when
you were standing right in front of of the tweeters. I enjoyed the performance anyway. We has a band now, which is great! I only saw him perform alone before,
with the rest of the instruments as playback. I took the opportunity to get a CD and get it signed. If I had tried I probably could have had a chat and/or a beer
with him later at the pub. But he had enough people around himself whenever I saw him. He probably wouldn't have enjoyed more fans talking at him. I'm just glad I
got to talk to him for a minute before he left.
Blackened Blue (YouTube,
Bandcamp), another metal musician from the UK who is in the MLP fandom, was great, too. I hadn't heard him before
But his stuff is definitely worth checking out. Some good remixes of recent songs from The New Generation, among many original songs.
Zunt sold out and ended his side-business. If you don't know who Zunt is, well, it doesn't really matter to you. But Zunt has been well known for buying and
selling pony merch from very early on in the fandom. He imported licensed and fan-made merch from the USA and traveled through Germany selling it at brony meetups
and later also at GalaCon. At this year's GalaCon he sold the last of his stuff, including his tombola wheel and raffle box. People who know his role in the German
brony community can imagine how I felt taking a symbolic photo of him selling his last plushie, and sitting behind his empty vendor table. I was glad to catch that
little, sort of historical moment.
The were also two new vendors this year. I mean, there are usually new vendors every year. I don't keep track of everybody. But these two I'd like to mention.
This one guy (apparently I didn't remember to write down his name) decorated glass jars with landscapes and pony figurines and they look really great. He didn't
have his own table in the vendor hall, just part of somebody else'd table. I guess maybe this was the reason that they didn't sell that well. Because they really
look amazing. There are a few pictures of his work below. And if I find a webpage to link to, I'll add the link here. (Well, I didn't.)
The other new vendor that I talked with wasn't officially a vendor. She tried to sell some MLP-themed bracelets outside the venue. She was sent away by staff
before she could sell anything. When she tried again outside of the property ground that belongs to the venue, she apparently was threatened, or at least harshyl
told to stop in order to not get into serious trouble. I don't know why anybody thought it necessary to tell her and her dad that selling things here without a
permit would be illegal. A 7-year-old trying to make 2 bucks didn't hurt anybody at all. I offered her to take half of one of my tables. But when we spoke on
Sunday they had already given up because she was too intimidated.
One other vendor that I'd like to mention. I mean, there would be more with products and art worth presenting. But then I'd take several more weeks until I
finish this entry, and that isn't my intention with this writeup. So, this painter of whom I have to look up the name again (Yeah, this entry still seems to be work
in progress even though it isn't.) had this painting at her table. She had several very good painting. But this one stood out to me and made me stop at her table
every time I passed it, whether I wanted to or had time to or not. There's a picture attached. It's not so much what this piece expresses, but rather how it speaks
to me. The style, technique, but also the character, her expression and the setting. That's one of the few times I've seen a pony painting and thought "Now that is
real art!" There are lots and lots of really great drawings and paintings that came out of the brondydom. The MLP fandom of the last decate is kind of known for
that. But only very few, less than a handful, stick out to me like this. I'm not an artist and I don't know art. So I won't try to describe the painting any
further. It's the one of Fluttershy below in the attachments.
The Future Of The Fandom
Some people have voiced their negative or at least less optimistic outlook on the development of the fandom, especially in terms of size, at the last GalaCon in
2019. We were all glad back then that GalaCon wasn't one of the MLP fan conventiosn that announced plans of ending things. The future of the fandom is safe, I'm
sure of that. It just couldn't keep growing, especially at the fast rate many bronies were used to. And after the 4th generation series ended, it's to be expected
that people move on. Now, three years later, GalaCon still had a good amount of attendees. It wasn't the fullest the venue ever was during a GalaCon weekend. It
was probably just right. Very diverse and enough visitors so you definitely couldn't say "hi" to everybody in just two and a half days, but not so full that you
couldn't calmly stroll through the halls at almost any time.
Sunday after closing I took some time to talk more to random people, about the show and its developments, the new generation, the fandom and its developments,
other fan conventions and fan events and their development. It was so nice to meet those nice people again after a 2 year long hole of no events!
I thought I'd summarise what I gathered people think of the new generation and how they expect the fandom will develop. But I didn't make a survey or something
and the conclusion may, in the end, not really top what most people said on the topic even before season 9 of the G4 show ended: The fandom will shrink, but the
core of the fandom will stay, and G5 will have to be good if Hasbro wants a sizeable fandom to continue to exist at all. The movie was promising. There is
potential. The actual G5 show hasn't started yet. So it may use that potential and keep a good amount of bronies around. I'd like that. I hope it will be a show
that I can enjoy watching. But I'm not sure whether that (for me) would be a show that's very much like the previous one, or one that takes standards (both
storytelling and animation) to another level.
There are a bunch of photos with descriptions attached. Most of the photos aren't manually edited at all and most of the descriptions have typos (probably).
I will probably reduce image resolution and increase JPEG compression to save space on the server. The JPEG files from my GRIII (the compact camera that I took
to GalaCon) are huge. Just ask if you want an original.
Vendors getting good deals the day before the convention opens.
I like these pins. They are very good. And colorful. They are made by My Little Ties.
Hand-engraved drinking glasses. Good prices, too. They are made by Bastler´s Bastelstube
Dusty at GalaCon.
Outside Music Supplier
Chalk Painting Canni (in the making)
The well water wasn't clean this year. But it still was refreshing.
Canni Chalk Painting (done)
The pub is always so full that most people are in front of it. One reason why this is good is that one can join the crowd but drink/eat brought stuff. It's still good business for the pub.
Year after year the music seems to be getting more in front of the pub. It hasn't reacht levels of not letting me enjoy it though.
This conga-stuff is always so weird to me. But it seems to be so much fun to the people who join and so many do every time I see one at GalaCon. It became a normal thing to me that just happens sometimes around me.
I don't knwo what costume that is. But I bet it's a character from or a reference to some fanfic or meme or something.
The Real Party
This is the guy decorating the jars with pony figurines and landscapes. Doing another one while waiting for the doors on Saturday morning. Why didn't I write down his name?
I just don't know what went wrong. It kind of looks a bit as if it's intentionally blurred. Cool effect. But it looks even more as if a great painting has been damaged. Also: Shoobeedoo!
I always like seeing Torben's place at GalaCon. It's always so colorful and great pictures too. Every time I want to buy something from him whether I need it or not. Torben is cool, and so is the stuff he sells.
Nice colorful metal with pony pictures from My Little Ties. (The next two pictures, too.)
Many vendors had keychains. (I'm not judging; I have some, too. It's an easy extra item to serve the demand for pony merch in the low price range.) I don't even know who's table this is at. _Maybe_ "Lefays Creations feat. Tegs", but that's just a guess after a look at the vendor table chart.
Nice Rainbow Dash plushie! One of the two biggest plushies on sale at GalaCon this year. I didn't buy it.
Dusty at his table.
Vinyl Scratch with his base cannon and … some- somepony …
Base Cannon (front, outside) - Looks as close to the original as it has to. Very nice! I did a bit of planning once to see what it would take to build one as close as possible to the original using only high-quality parts. I came up with a BoM over just a bit over 1000 € and has still quite a bit of uncertainty left about whether the opening mechanism would work the way I imagined it. (I'm not an engineer.) The one in the picture doesn't open automatically and the red button also diesn't work like it does in the video. But it's perfect. Because this one was built; mine wasn't.
Base Cannon (back, inside) - Not bad considering you have to leave a lot of room for the woofer.
Probably the largest plushie I saw this year. (Although there were others that at least came close.) Real heavy limbs, too.
That in the back there looks like a beer bike for plushies but without being a beer bike. Don't feed them!
His hair actually look like they do in the show. I've never before seen that in an MLP costume.
I so love that this guy has actually built a base cannon that looks like the one from that skit and that he started cosplaying and bringing his base cannon to conventions after years of having his base cannon only for himself. (Or should I say she/her because it's vinyl scratch?
My table never finishes being set up during the event. I never get around to tidying up.
Come to UK PonyCon!
Celia Kasper's table. She wasn't there when I came by.
I like those tiny frames. Again I didn't note down who's table this is. Sry.
Laser-engraved wood stuff by Dranaar. Paintings by Yulyeen. I hope those wood-pieces sell better than they did when I last spoke to him. The quality of those pictures has increased since then. They look perfect. Maybe I'll get another one next year if I see one that I like especially.
Prince Whateverer's table. He wasn't there when I came by.
I don't know that fanfic or character. But I like how this costume is made of just three simple things (cartboard, packaging tape and paint) but still looks elaborate on first and second glance.
Apropos giant plishies. Applejack, Fluttershy and Egghead (next picture) chilling and waiting for something.
Hand for comparison. And to make her heavy head look into the camera.
Starlight Glimmer with her "original" cutie mark.
The chalk drawings are getting more and more.
Oh, I take back what I said earlier about the biggest plushie I saw there for sale. I think those were bigger. Abd more elaborate, with their costumes. Awesome job!
Many vendors had these and similar key fobs. Apparently they suddenly became a thing. I hadn't seen them before. I didn't see any with a picture of a human on it, though. Would be something to give your MLP plushie maybe.
Magic? We're safe.
These are those jars I mentioned.
This is the table with the Fluttershy painting that amazed so much. (On the left.)
More and more neat suits came by.
My favirite fursuit at GC2022.
Taking a picture of smiling Flutterguy at GalaCon is sort of a tradition for me. Also, he's a tradition at GalaCon of sorts.
He has fans.
This tennis ball on her horn looks about as big as it does in the movie, right? So, since tennis ball are of an expected standard size, is this how big Genereation 5 My Little Ponies are?
Every now and then some fursuits were walking by and sometimes I was quick enough at getting the camera out and taking a picture. But they were always that far away. I think I don't have even one picture of the Tempest Shadow. (I know that's not her 'real name'.)
BlackenedBlue shooting invisible mouth lasers.
Prince Whateverer yelling at the microphone.
Wall of Death. Nobody died though.
Prince Whateverer openly yelling at the microphone.
PrinceWhateverer and band
PrinceWhateverer and no band
Masks were about as rare as in a supermarket in the same region around that time, which is pretty rare. I know some people would have liked more people to wear masks. But people were there to have fun and I guess that makes them not start aguments or shout at each other or something of that sort.
Some visitors watching pony videos projected on a metallic anthracite-coloured surface. That worked very well actually. There is a backstory about this. But I'm not going to tell it in this image description. Maybe I should've put it in the blog post.
This is further than the chalk ponies ever reached before.
There was a ferris wheel on the parking lot on the other side of the street which started to be colorful before it went dark but stopped being lit when it really became dark. I took this picture just a few seconds - maybe 2 seconds - before the colors were turned off. The photographer next to me tried to take the same picture at the same time but was two seconds slower and didn't get it. Mine didn't turn out exactly how I intended. I could probably fix it if I developed the raw image.
Ponies who attended the gala
Bronies who didn't attend the gala
Ponies all the way!
All the way back there!
The Great and Powerful Brixie
A late welcome to GalaCon
She's called Stablight Glimmer.
Weirly lit pony in a glass idea that I quickly tried out. Maybe I'll make a few of these but better.
Zunt attempting to sell everything
This may be the best Tempest plushie that I've ever seen.
A photographer from Belgium (I think) doing a project on bronies (I think). www.katherine-longly.net
Another good costume made from cartboard. Also, I feel like I've seen this one at the first GalaCon in Stuttgart. It probably was a similar one.
And here is a close-up of the painting that I mentioned that improssed me so much. Now it can impress you too.
Zunt selling his last irem.
Zunt got rid of everything. Even his mask (for the picture). But not his smile.
Later I solved the mysterie of the missing word in this picture. It was just a mistake of an English learner. Also I think it should say 'apples', but anyways, nice picture!
Du musst saufen.
I love this style for chalk paintings because it's so unlike chalk painting usually are. The shadows and the outlines look so good!
Alright, the chalk ponies have almost made it to the other side of the square. (Not really, the square stretches around and is huge.)
I watched about 12 minutes of the charity auktion. It was fun, but I couldn't sit calmly. Too much excitement in the last two/three days. But at least I took a picture (of red hair).
Ponies and bronies going home. That luna plush there is best plush.
Actually, many stayed for another few hours, or went to the pub afterwards. So since the venue was closed already and I had no table to attend to, I got to have interesting conversations with kind strangers.
It's so useful to have a bass cannon.
Spike is best pony!