April, the month mostly associated with April 1st or April fools a day where people play pranks and jokes on others. Mostly funny and harmless, but sometimes a joke can to far which spawns off problems, and like April fools, a convention which started after a joke between a cosplayer and a convention brand spawned hatred between them leading to the formation of CosXPo an event run buy cosplayers for cosplayers and photographers. This is my review of CosXPo’s second year running.
Located outside London in the hub of Reading and Reading University is a 2 day event called CosXPo ran but @KennyCosplayStuff.
This 2 day event is a nice and fun gathering of cosplayers, and photographers to showcase their cosplay and have photographers bring their A game to create some of the most creative photos with its expansive and variety of sceneries around the university campus. Ranging from a Japanese Sakura garden, to rivers, forestry, caves and even school class rooms.
At first when approaching the venue, nothing seemed to stand out and felt like a generic small scale convention run in a student Union or student ball with a large gymnasium as the main stage. However with further investigation you are lead to the back of the venue passing through a smaller stage and Starbucks connected to a vendors hall on the left or to the student bar on the right you are brought to the back where there’s nothing but expansive land filled with different locations and natural backdrops with unlimited potential and uses.
Walking down the long grass field you reach a beautiful river surrounded with a forestry area and tall straw grass at chest height, and a miniature waterfall with plenty of wildlife and natural elements. Proceeding to the right along the path is a natural cave for dark or eerie shoots, towards the left is a fallen tree made to simulate a camp area, further along is a beautiful garden of Sakura trees with beautiful pink cherry blossom in bloom, otherwise proceeding directly across the river is an urban landscape for a sci fi or post apocalyptic backdrop.
Additionally the staff and volunteers of CosXPo are one of the best and friendliest group I’ve meet at an event with the exception of the RTX and RTXL guardians. The volunteers and staff could be clearly identified by either their light blue volunteer shirts or the purple staff shirts in the event, along with their knowledge and willingness to help the attendees. With knowledge which surpasses the basics of know where what is, these volunteers are cosplayers, photographers and organizers who worked a multitude of events, an example of this is volunteers who know how to sew, hem, glue, etc to help the cosplayers in need of the cosplay repair station. Their knowledge of the cosplays and the suggestions of where would be best suited for photos and more which puts them one peg higher in my opinion as they are able to understand and help with the event attendees.
So unlike other conventions, CosXPo specifically defines itself as an event, and inturn they also have a limit to vendors with a majority of them being cosplay related such as photo booths, materials, invited cosplay mentor stands and other accessories which can be used as part of their cosplays. However due to this there is also a limitation to the variety of items in which you could purchase and food vendors as well with mainly food served at the bar, sandwich shop, boba/bubble tea, Japanese candy store and the Starbucks. However it’s good to know that there is also a co-op a stone throws away or a student cafe across the road, with more options being 10mins walk off campus to greggs, a few cornershop, Chinese restaurant and dominos with further options on reading Central.
Another surprising aspect of the event is the openness of cosplayers willing to work with new photographers and vice versa. With many cosplay related events and conventions there tends to be a presence of drama or behind the scenes rivalry or even fights at some extent. However CosXPo seems to lack any of this, from its Facebook social group to attendees at the event there seems nothing but pure excitement and support from everyone to the extent where I have seen photographers pause their shoots to help others and more.
So in conclusion, I would say CosXPo has been one of the best conventions I have attended in a long time, however seeing all this I would love to see this event grow bigger lasting a fuller weekend or running as a 3 day event, with maybe even the additions of more vendors and food options on location. So have you been to CosXPo? If so what are your opinions on it?