The Ozine Team’s biggest annual anime convention introduced a special JRock concert, but fans had to endure the long and grueling waiting game before they can experience one incredible performance night.
Ozine Fest is taking a second attempt in hosting their event at the SMX Convention Center, where they had a not-so-terrific experience in 2014 due to the massive flow of people entering the venue and some problems on their event layout. But looks like they learned from their mistakes and made some improvements for 2015, but will Ozine Fest continue the stream for 2016? We take a look at the event to see how it went well in our experience.
Entrance and Registration
Ozine Fest has one door for the entrance and the exit. However the problem is with the entrance, as it only catered for two lines for entering the premise and tickets were purchased downstairs which had two lines for Ozine Fest tickets and one line for FLOW concert tickets, at one time the Ozine Fest ticket lane was increased to three to sped up the pace of the purchase. But it was still not enough for the massive flow of attendees flocking to the event in the morning, and SMX security had to move them to a vacant function hall for them to wait until the event officially opens. This caused a large build up on the lines for waiting fans to purchase or even get inside the event. This issue also happened during the FLOW concert late in the afternoon, where fans have to wait hours and hours before SMX security had to take over and control the lane, they were also been transferred to a large vacant function hall before they can proceed.
Event site and booths
This time the area is bigger compared to 2014’s, as it had Function Room 4 and 5 combined to provide a larger space for attendees to roam around. The event layout was simplified, in the middle of the venue were the merchant booths were it caters to every otaku’s interests; ranging from anime-themed shirts, figurines, trinkets and plastic model kits. Behind the merchant booths are the Ozine indie artists were attendees can purchase artworks or ask for commissions of sketches, it was good that the two sections were separated as this helped con-goers to distinguish the different attractions of the area. On the farther left side of the venue is where the stage area for Ozine-related activities, there are a lot of open spaces in the area, most likely to give cosplayers and attendees more ample space to chill and do their photo shoots with fellow con-goers, however this resulted with fewer booths, also missing in action was the maid café, the horror booth and other Matsuri-related attractions. The FLOW concert area was located in a separate function room at the opposite end of the event center.
The Ozine Fest stage area only had a large banner as its backdrop and a platform was placed so viewers can see properly see the activities. No other fancy lights or LED screens were added, only a projector was placed for added visual aid. The FLOW concert had a better stage setup, chuck full of stage lights and the right amount of barricades to control the crowd. This is probably why the Ozine stage was not purely prioritize to give way for the FLOW performance.
Day 1 had no activities planned and several JPop and JRock music videos were planned on the projector in that area, as Day 1 was purely focused on the FLOW concert, the concert meanwhile was a blast however there were some delays due to some technical difficulties, and some problems on the promised secured seats for Gold holders, however despite some of the setbacks, the concert was still a success. Day 2 had it return to its regular program with Karaoke contest, Battle of the Bands, Eating Contest and Cosplay Competition. It would have been nice if the Ozine stage also had activities on Day 1 to keep the con-goers inside entertained while waiting for the FLOW concert. Aside from these attractions, Ozine also brought some of their regular international cosplayers and artists for a meet and greet session, this time attendees had a chance to see them on stage for Day 2.
The major problem for Ozine Fest 2016 was the disorganized setup for handling the crowd in both Ozine Fest and the FLOW concert. This left some fans waiting for hours and hours just to get inside with some getting frustrated and left the premises. One possible solution is for Ozine Fest to outsource more crew in handling their security (specifically in crowd control) and public relations, so their core team can focus on handling the activities. On the good side, the main venue had a better layout compared to its previous take on the SMX center, leaving more space for attendees to hang out at a cost of fewer attractions. In the end, they still need to improve on the crowd control department, which has be haunting them ever since. Ozine had a rough time on this and they really need to add more reinforcements if they plan to have a part two with FLOW or any other possible JRock or JPop performers.