Hafan y Môr Holiday Park in Pwllheli, North Wales might seem like an odd place for a big sci-fi party, but the unusual setting is one of the many things that makes the Sci-Fi Weekender stand out from the crowd. The other factors are the unique attendees and its pervasive celebratory atmosphere.
This year, the organisers had twinned the event with another festival; Hard Rock Hell Prog, an event dedicated to all things Progressive Rock. This lent an extra level of fun to the proceedings; on one side of the camp were a hoard of cosplayers, looking to party, and a short walk away were a crowd of more mature music fans. The crowds mixed very well indeed, with both groups having plenty to do.
The event suffered from an increasingly crowded geek calendar; the clash with Birmingham MCM and a run of bad luck meant that the event was lacking some guests and had fewer traders present than previous years. However, the Sci-Fi Weekender has always evolved and adapted; more traders are planned for next year.
The Thursday evening began gently with entertainment supplied mostly by Sci-Fi London’s Louis Savi who provided both quiz questions and later, great tunes. By Friday morning, everybody was ready to have fun. On the main stage, both Julian Glover and James Cosmo wowed the crowd with their exceptional stage presence and a wealth of stories. Additional entertainment was provided by Charles Ross with his one-man Star Wars show and improvisational skills. He would do the same trick the following day, but with the Lord of The Rings.
Friday evening’s entertainment started with a bang, thanks to the special effect laden Area 51 show and their highly talented dancers. Further fun was supplied by Caspian the Magician, who had been at previous Weekender’s as ‘Mental Dave’. This time round we saw a much broader act and Caspian showed off his talents as a well-rounded and skilled entertainer, though he did seem slightly bewildered by the sci-fi crowd. The act that followed him, the Hellblazer inspired John Faust failed to capture the audience’s interest and dragged on a little too long. Luckily, the next act raised everybody’s spirts. The rather fine Darth Elvis and The Imperials were on top form. With renditions of songs such as “Return to Endor” and “Viva Mos Eisley”, they gave everyone a good excuse to rock.
Photos by Anne Davies.