BroNYCon June 2011 - NYC Seminar and Conference Center:
The inaugural BroNYCon was held at the NYC Seminar and Conference Center on June 25th, 2011. While it was small by the standards of more recent events, with just 100 attendees, it kicked off the MLP convention scene and laid the foundation for what BronyCon later became. Complete with fandom guests, artists, panels, gaming, and more, followed by cake and hanging out in nearby Madison Square Park, it brought in Cabal, founder of rainbowdash.net and Eurobeat Brony held a Skype Q&A.
BroNYCon September 2011 – Chinatown, Manhattan:
The second BroNYCon, and the first that had its own, dedicated venue. The event was held in Downtown Manhattan, in a fourth floor studio in Chinatown. The venue had a grand total of two rooms, one large, opening up into a studio space, and one off to the side, which for some reason had rolled up carpeting in the corner. It wasn’t pretty, it didn’t meet fire code, but it was home. Three hundred people turned out, just to see our special guests Jayson Thiessen, Eurobeat Brony, Egophiliac, Neighslayer, and Sethisto. We started the day with the Season 2 Premier, provided by Mr. Thiessen, and ran throughout the day with fan programming from Equestria: Online, the EqD prereaders, and a modest artist alley of 8.
And, this is the event that introduced the time old pony convention tradition of the nightly rave. We danced until 2 AM, in a big, poorly lit dance floor, we rocked out to the Discord Shuffle, ‘Sugarcube Corner’ turned into an ode to Berry Punch, and we just generally had a good time with great music, and new friends.
BroNYCon January 2012 – Hotel Pennsylvania:
Having outgrown a venue for the second time now, we had to think big. And what’s bigger than the Hotel Penn down on 34th street, right in the heart of Manhattan? (Well… A lot, but nothing that we could afford.) Using the gold ballroom, and slipping our artists in the main hallway, it gave a very cultural feel to the entire affair. Rarity would have been proud.
This time, we thought bigger for our guests. Daniel Ingram, Nicole Oliver, Ashleigh Ball, and Andrea Libman all made their first convention appearances, with Sethisto, Equestria Online, and Egophiliac coming back for a second round.
This convention heralded the introductions to a lot of pony convention traditions. It was the first time voice actors were ever seen in person at a convention, something that’s now a staple. Very few convention tries to run without at least one. They were actually so amazed by the response that they got, that the majority decided to come back at the next round, BronyCon Summer 2012. The January convention also introduced BronyPalooza, a live concert from the big names in the fandom. Similar events have been seen since at Everfree Northwest, BronyCon June 2012, BUCK, GalaCon, and other conventions around the globe.
And the livestreaming. This time, the convention wasn’t just for the 800 attendees that made the trek down to New York City, some even flying out from other countries; something else that was as of yet unprecedented. The convention was shown live by Everfree Radio, now Everfree Network, and could be seen on their site for anyone who wanted to watch what was going on. And watch they did. Almost as many people as could make it into the convention hall watched from the comfort of their own homes. Now, almost every single convention has a stream of some kind; whether they run it themselves, or they bring in another provider to help them out.
This was also the event that helped begin the convention scene’s fascination with Charity. Half of all of the proceeds from our auction, which ran for a full two hours, went to Toys for Tots; and our biggest ticket item sold for an astounding $1,000.
The Voice Actors, all of the guests, and the attendees all had a fantastic time. A fantastic enough time, in fact, to once again cause exponential growth for BronyCon, pushing us to be too big for the Big Apple itself...
BronyCon Summer 2012 – Meadowlands Convention Center:
The growth was staggering. We needed something bigger, again. Something massive. We needed an actual convention center just to fit all these bronies. On June 30th, 4,000 people lined up at the Meadowlands Convention Center for the biggest My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic fan convention ever, BronyCon Summer 2012. Featuring a staggering amount of programming, guests from the show, musicians, artists, and projects, this is where BronyCon really kicked it into high gear.
The guest list was star studded. Lauren Faust. John DeLancie. Tara Strong. Andrea Libman, Peter New, Lee Tockar, Amy Keating Rogers, Cathy Weseluck, Meghan McCarthy. So many incredibly talented individuals, all coming together in one place, just because of the magic of friendship. The voice actors got their own panel. Lauren Faust got her own panel. John DeLancie got his own panel. The show’s writers got their own panel.
Oh, and this might be important to mention. This was the first time ever that a convention was prepared to offer a full two days of pony. Everything from Ponies: The Anthology to the Podcasters, Community Voice Actors to the Brony Study, all up on stage and saying their piece about this great fandom.
A full 110 artists showed up, creating the largest artist alley ever seen to date at a pony convention. Wares from fan favorites such as John Joseco and Pixelkitties were of course lying around, but full companies, such as We Love Fine and Enterplay saw just how large this community, and this convention were getting, and held a presence themselves.
The auction was unprecedented. This year, having selected to work with Child’s Play, BronyCon raised over $8,000 for charity, and a single item; a limited edition ComicCon poster, signed by all of the season 1 voice actors and Lauren Faust herself, sold for an absolutely astonishing $4,050.
That night, there was the largest rave we had ever seen at a pony convention. All 3,000 chairs were cleared out of the Mane Hall, and the attendees filtered out, anxious for the folks about to take the stage. Lines stretched all the way down to the Big Red Truck, letting the attendees get a taste of what was to come. At 9 PM, June 30th, 2012, the doors opened. And the party really started.
BronyPalooza started with an acoustic set from the wonderful ‘traditional’ musicians in our fandom, and after an hour changeover, Lazer Pon3 took over the stage. A lazer show, accompanied by some of the most prolific music this fandom has ever known took over the ceiling of the Meadowlands, creating a twinkling sky that even Twilight would have been proud of. And then, once our showpony stepped down, something amazing happened. All together on stage, for the first time, everyone danced and bounced and jumped to the tunes of The Living Tombstone, Alex S, Omnipony, Silva Hound, and so, so many more. Even Tara Strong and Meghan McCarthy made their way from the safety of their hotel rooms to check out the tunes. One or two even report seeing them dancing along, on stage with the music.
And everything was wonderful. Of course, until the fire nation attacked. A small fire sprung up in one of the lights at the Mane Hall. Everyone was successfully evacuated by the convention’s stellar security department, having all non-essential personnel out within the first five minutes of the incident occurring. It became an event in its own right, Equestria Daily even changing their banner to reflect the fact that the con was too hot for its own convention center.
And of course, this could never stop the party. Everyone came back strong, programming picking right back up where it left off. The convention ended on a happy note, with promises of more. Bigger, better things to come. And that leads us right into what’s about to come...
BronyCon 2013 – Baltimore Convention Center:
That’s right. We’re too big for our own britches again. Moving down to the Baltimore Convention Center right down on the Baltimare waterfront, we have so many amazing things in store. A venue that can expand just as large as we need it, accompanying hotels that want us to be there just as much as we want to be there. Right in the heart of the city, with some of the best sea food you could ever ask for. Just be sure to not order the Sea Pony!
So come on down, and be a part of the next chapter of BronyCon’s life. There’s so much to see, do, and so many stories yet to be told. Why don’t you come be a part of them?