Tuesday, August 08, 2006

One of the reasons it's clear that Otakon has grown beyond the capacity of the Baltimore Convention Center (besides the long lines and dense crowds) is Otakon's need to move certain events to different locations.

While it made sense in 2004, since L'arc en Ciel is extremely popular, this year both the concert and the cosplay were moved off-site because the Baltimore Convention Center didn't have the capacity.

Having to rent extra venues, of course, costs more money and forces congoers to walk around the streets of Baltimore in the summer heat and humidity (not so much fun in costume!).

But the choice of venue for the concert in particular was questionable. While the Ram's head is a nice place, its capacity is only about 1,500 people. Since the concert was held both Friday and Saturday, only 3,000 people of the 25,000 or so at the con were able to attend.

That was pretty unfortunate, since Otakon had managed to get some reasonably popular artists. I'm certain more people would have liked to attend. Concert passes were gone on Friday before most people even got into the con, and they were gone by 9 am on Saturday. The fact that the passes were snatched up that quickly indicates a pretty strong demand for them.

Otakon obviously needs to be in a place where it has enough space within the convention center to put on the concerts and cosplay, and allow everyone who wants to attend the chance to do so. So go sign the online petition now!

Monday, August 07, 2006

Otakon 2006 is over. We here at the Otakon In DC Blog had a pretty good time, but the experience was marred by having to push our way through close-pressed throngs of people, standing-room only events, and waiting in line for hours several times.

And it's not as if there will be less people next year. What can you do? Sign our online petition asking Otakorp to move Otakon to the DC convention center. Help make sure the largest Anime con on the East Coast stays fun!

Friday, August 04, 2006


Welcome to the Otakon in DC blog! This blog was started after Friday of Otakon 2006, when it became abundantly clear that Otakon has grown too large for the Baltimore Convention Center. We here at this blog love Otakon. We've been going for several years, and we want to be able to keep going, and enjoying it, in the years to come.

But Otakon 2006 is definitely not as enjoyable as previous Otakons. It is obvious to anyone who is attending that there are too many people for the space. The crowding not only degrades the con experience considerably on its own, but seems to have exacerbated the normal snafus we know come with running a con: this year they seem worse than usual.

One solution is to lower the attendance cap back to 2005 or 2004 levels. That would work, but it would mean less people could enjoy Otakon, and it would mean Otakon wouldn't be able to grow anymore.

The better solution is to move Otakon to the Washington DC Convention Center. The DC convention center is much larger than the Baltimore Convention Center. Compare some quick facts:

Washington Convention Center
Baltimore Convention Center
Exhibit Space703,000 sqft300,000 sqft
Meeting Space150,000 sqft85,000 sqft
Ballroom Space52,000 sqft36,000 sqft

Other highlights:

  • Otakon 2006 con chair, Jim Vowles himself said: "Realistically, unless the BCC is leveled and rebuilt, it will not be a serious competitor with DC"

  • The DC convention center is located conveniently close to a Metro (commuter rail) station, so people could stay in cheaper hotels in MD and VA and take the train in.

  • Great part of town, plenty of restaurants, located in our nation's capital!

Bottom Line:

Every year the registration price goes up, but more people just get shoved into the same space! Let Otakorp know you want Otakon moved to DC!

Sign our online petition now!