Friday, 23 November 2018

Griffish Isles 2019 tickets on sale now

The Griffish Isles MLP convention, which debuted this spring, will be returning for its second iteration on Saturday 11 May 2019. Details are still a little sketchy, not helped by the fact that the con's website has yet to be fully updated from last year. However, this is what we know so far:

The website is frankly rather unhelpful here, saying nothing beyond "Manchester". However, the related Eventbrite page is more forthcoming: as in 2018, the con will be held at the St Thomas Centre in Ardwick Green. This is about a 15-minute walk from Manchester Piccadilly station (Google map). Plus points there for accessibility.

In 2018, the con also had an evening component at another venue, but there's no information as yet as to whether that will be the same in 2019, or whether everything will now happen in one place. That other venue's licence meant no kids allowed (even accompanied) after 8pm, so it may be relevant depending on what evening events are planned.

There are several classes of ticket, including two adult tiers. Here they are:

Standard: £31.50 + £2.66 booking fee = £34.16
VIP: £89.50 + £6.49 booking fee = £95.99
Foal: FREE (under 12s accompanied by adults; not valid for evening events)
Spirit: £20.00

Standard/Foal tickets can be bought up until the day of the event (though like all UK cons, you can't buy them on the door). VIP/Spirit ticket sales close on 7 April – I don't know whether VIPs are limited in number.

Comparing with last year's tickets, the cost of the Standard tier has gone up by 26%, although there's a reasonable case for saying that the low price of the 2018 iteration could be considered an introductory offer. There's no doubt that the '18 con was well received overall, and the ticket price remains broadly similar to the cost at other UK conventions.

There was no VIP tier in 2018; instead there was a Sponsor tier which was £50.18. (Again, including fee – you can't avoid it, so I treat it as the base cost.) The 2019 upper-tier ticket is thus 91% more expensive, a very sizeable hike by any standards. According to the website, over and above Standard access, VIP will bring you:
  • VIP T-shirt
  • Front row mane stage seating
  • Special perks and access
That last bit is key, but unfortunately there's currently no info about what it actually means. If you're paying almost £100 for a ticket, it matters what your special perks and access are, so I'm a bit disappointed with this.

Obviously, things like special guests won't be announced just yet, so any guest-related perks won't be finalised either – but buying blind still isn't the most attractive offer. When I bought my UK PonyCon VIP ticket, a few minutes after it went on sale, I already knew the exact package of perks it would bring me.

It's very good to see that last year's "Foals go free" offer has been continued. This is a really nice feature that some other conventions (eg UKPC) do not offer, and it does make it a lot more attractive for, say, a parent with a couple of kids to attend. An unqualified yay to Griffish Isles for this initiative.

The Spirit ticket is new. For £20 you get "a mention in the con book", while if you add on a T-shirt you'll get it posted to you along with the con book. Considering my BronyScot equivalent was £8.50 including the con book (and some unexpected badges!), this seems a tad steep.

Am I going?
I'm certainly thinking about it. Friends who went last year have recommended it, and I'm happy with the organising team, who have the right combination of con experience, level-headedness and enthusiasm. This is not a convention I fear falling apart. Manchester is right on the edge of where I can get to for a day trip, and obviously it becomes a much more expensive outing if hotels need to be taken into account, but we'll see. It would definitely have to be a simple Standard ticket, though.

Summing up
With last year's successful debut behind it, the Griffish Isles convention looks stable and well run, and the Standard ticket price remains fairly reasonable. Manchester is a decent choice of host city and one well-established for fandom events (though my West Midlander heart can't help being jealous!) and the venue is easily accessible from the city centre even on foot. That's a big plus.

Where Griffish Isles falls down, for now at least, is in the paucity of actual hard information on its website. It shouldn't be necessary to sift through social media to find exact venue details, while there simply aren't sufficient details about whether there'll be a separate evening venue or what splashing out on a VIP ticket may get you. Once those problems are addressed, things could look very bright for GI2019.


  1. I cant commit myslef till at least the start of 2019, but I hope it does well, nice to see it has a second year the first wone looked a lot of fun.
    I'm not sure its 91% more fun though, I can understnd that the first year may have been weak, but now its in its second its more eatablsied and I hope many more ponies will be looking to go.

    1. Much the same here – it'll be into next year before I can actually buy anything, and in my case maybe even until UKPC reveals its host city.

      I'm not sure its 91% more fun though

      I was a bit startled by just how expensive the upper-tier ticket had become, and there's not a chance I can justify that so I won't be buying one. It does depend on what you get for it, though last year Elley-Ray threw herself into things so enhanced guest access might not be enough in itself for almost £100.