Saturday, 20 May 2017

More on UK PonyCon 2017!

At the end of last month, I published a very short post about this year's UK PonyCon. Since I have a lot of time for this convention, and all being well will be attending for the fourth year in a row, I'd like to give it a bit more publicity now. So, here are some of the key details, as well as my thoughts on a few of them:

Dates: Saturday 21st and Sunday 22nd October

This wasn't any surprise, as they're basically the same as last year's dates. They're at the beginning of the school half-term holiday, which makes sense. This is about as late in the year as I'd want the con to be – I wouldn't like to have it after the clocks go back, or even worse over the weekend when times change! But these dates seem fine and give us plenty of time to save up.

Venue: UWE Exhibition and Conference Centre, Bristol

Bristol seems like a very good choice for host city. It's a good way from the places that have hosted UKPC for the last few years, for one thing. In an ideal world I'd have preferred a city centre venue to this out-of-town one, but I suspect that anywhere big enough would have blown a big hole in the con's budget; Bristol is not a particularly cheap place. So I'll take this.

Road links are pretty good (close to M4/M5/M32) and rail links are acceptable – the nearest major station (Bristol Parkway) is 25 minutes' walk away. As the con's in university termtime, there's a 24/7 bus service to the city centre, which makes it viable for non-drivers to stay there and still stick around at the convention until the end of the schedule late on Saturday evening.

Hotels aren't quite as convenient as in recent years. There's no hotel on site or just over the road, which sadly has meant one very popular fursuiter having to pass on UKPC this year. There are a few within walking distance, though, plus the various establishments in the city centre. As mentioned a minute ago, Bristol is not that cheap, so best to make reservations soon!

Food doesn't look like being a problem: the on-site café will be open until late afternoon, at least, and there's a bar too. Also, luxury of luxuries, you can take your own food in! Cold food and soft drinks only, but that's no hardship. BUCK's venues were almost hilariously fussy about even bottles of water. Saturday evening could be tricky, but there's a retail park 12 minutes' walk away.

Theme: Wild West

This was actually announced well before everything else, and it's proving to be a popular choice. Not only with Applejack fans. ;) Given that the con is being held at the University of the West of England, it seems a very appropriate choice, too! Doubtless there will be the usual fine cosplays, lots of singing ("Raise This Barn" looks a certainty) and if we're really lucky, some cider at the bar too!

Tickets and prices

The stock of 35 VIP tickets sold out in six hours(!) but for the sake of completeness: these cost £89 and bought you early entry on both days, priority seating, a goodie bag including a VIP-exclusive print and the con-exclusive plushie. I strongly suspect that it's guaranteed access to that plushie that's driven many people to buy this level of ticket!

A Standard Adult Weekend pass is £30/£35 this year; the £5 Early Bird discount applies until 3rd June. This is a small increase on last year's price (I paid £27 for my EB ticket in 2016) but it's still perfectly reasonable. UK PonyCon has an excellent reputation for offering value for money, and it's great to see them continuing to keep their prices moderate.

An innovation this year is the Supporter tier, which costs an extra tenner – so the weekend pass is £40/£45. This includes a £5 donation to con charity the RDA, a special button badge and your name in the con book. Any money left over goes to support the convention. I feel this is a nice idea, and indeed this is the type of ticket I've purchased for myself.

There are various other ticket options, for children (4-12), adults and families to get single-day or weekend access to the convention. They all seem good value, except perhaps the Family One-Day Supporter – £82 is a £40 jump on the equivalent Standard ticket; I think that's rather steep, especially as Family tickets have no EB discount.

Anyway, enough of my rambling. You'll have noticed I've said a lot more positive than negative things about UK PonyCon, and I would thoroughly encourage anyone reading who likes the idea of a family-friendly all-gens convention to attend. You can buy tickets for yourself by going to the link below:

UK PonyCon 2017's official ticket page


  1. I'm very much looking forward to the con, although it's still too far off in the calendar to think about seriously. So many things happening before then! :/

    You've covered some good points here. One thing I'm not sure of yet is the availability of eateries and pubs in the emediate area. I believe the committee mentioned this when they were selecting their venue, so hopefully that'll work out fine. Even if it involves getting the bus into town.

    A couple of the guys from the Trottingham group are going for the first time. It's going to be a gathering of people I know from all over the place! :)

    1. Yeah, five months tomorrow! Seems a long way off... until suddenly it isn't. ;)

      I didn't really cover food places for the simple reason that I haven't properly researched that yet either! :P I know the retail park I mentioned has a few of the usual chain places (McDonald's, Costa, Nando's etc) but I'm not sure about pubs and the like. Now you mention it, I think I might do another post on that when I've found some more things out. :)

      Yay, the more new (and old) people the better! :)

  2. Not 100% sure if I can go this year due to going Galacon this year and Florida next year, so money's a little on the tight side.

    1. Understandable. For most people, one con a year stretches the budget. I certainly can't afford both UKPC and BronyScot.