Thursday, 29 January 2015

Festival notes: ELCAF expands to 2-days, Linework announces special guests, Thought Bubble sets dates


- Comics festival news has started to stream in as the year gets underway aproper, and first up: ELCAF (East London Comics and Arts Festival) have announced that they'll be expanding to a 2-day event over the weekend of 20-21st June- the show has taken place on a Saturday since its inception in 2012. ELCAF's success was evident last year in the long queues of people waiting to get in throughout much of the day. Growth was an issue ELCAF co-founder Sam Arthur discussed at the time, in addressing the questions of space and demand:

'The Oval Space offered us more space when all of the separate areas were taken into account, however the main area was slightly smaller than York Hall. We based our estimate for space requirements on last year's numbers and hoped for more people with extra interest generated by Chris Ware and Seth's involvement. It is extremely hard to predict exact numbers and also when people will arrive at the venue, which we can only judge based on past experience. In terms of this year's event, we were constrained by the cost of a venue and also those venues that are actually available. Many of the exhibitors might not have been able to attend if we shared the costs of a larger venue with them; likewise we try to keep entrance fees down so people can spend their money inside the venue with the exhibitors. It's important for us to get the business side of the event right as it needs to be sustainable and (as this is an event arranged at our own financial risk) it needs to grow organically. If we overextend we risk not being able to continue the event in the future.
Improvements can clearly be made, perhaps we need to make the event two days long, perhaps we need to sell tickets for sessions rather than full days and perhaps we have to charge a higher entrance fee and higher exhibitors fees.'

I've attended the last two festivals ELCAF have held and both shows have been excellent. The second certainly highlighted the need to grow, and I'd imagine this means they're looking at a much larger venue this time around, too (that's yet to be announced). Applications to exhibit/table are now open, with a deadline of 9th March. There's also the Facebook page for people wanting to keep abreast of comings and goings.    

- Sticking to superb UK festivals, Thought Bubble has announced its dates for 2015: events will run from the 9th to 15th November, with the culminating weekend convention taking place on the 14th and 15th at Leeds' Royal Armouries as per usual. Table registration applications will open in February, with con tickets going on sale in the spring, and further  news and a programme to follow. Thought Bubble are currently hosting their annual charity art auction, in which they sell off exclusively created original art from a range of last year's festival guests for children's charity, Barnados. Artworks are auctioned on Ebay, and this year include pieces by Boulet, Emily Carroll, Babs Tarr, Cliff Chiang, Natasha Allegri, Jason Latour and more. For further details go here.

- Portland festival, Linework, only launched last year but already looks to be a very high quality show; last year's guests included Jim Woodring and Michael DeForge, and this year's show, taking place on April 18th -19th Portland will see a mix of artists from various mediums in the form of Daniel Clowes, Lisa Congdon, Lisa Hanawalt, and Jay Howell. Clowes will be debuting The Complete Eightball collection, published by Fantagraphics. 1–18 at our festival. I love Jay Howell's work; his Peanuts and Snoopies series was amazing- so fun and lively, and he works on one of my favourite shows: Bob's Burgers. Those are all the kind of great guests that you'd attend a show specifically to see.

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