Armageddon Expo Winter Season 2020 Round Up

With New Zealand now having achieved 100 days without any community-transmitted cases of COVID-19, we are very lucky locally to be able to progress back to holding large social events and gatherings, including re-scheduled Armageddon Expo Pop Culture conventions. Over the last month, Armageddon Expos have been held in Christchurch (18th July – 19th July), Tauranga (25th-26th July), and Wellington (1st-2nd August).

These events were reportedly the only large-scale organised pop culture conventions to be held anywhere on the globe over the last few months! Indeed, fan costuming Star Wars clubs like the 501st Legion have effectively put a hold on public appearances for all countries experiencing any coronavirus-related social limitations, so the fact that kiwi costumers from the 501st Legion and Rebel Legion, along with other Star Wars fan groups like the local Droid Builders, could get out and get together is something worth celebrating.

By all accounts, the crowd numbers at each of these three events were impressive, implying that kiwis were very keen for the return to this aspect of normality.

Although persisting border quarantine rules precluded the usual attendance by international TV/movie/animation celebrities, the Armageddon organisers sought to compensate for this with live teleconference panels that still allowed for real-time interaction and question + answer sessions. This system still works really well, and gives a good opportunity for fans to feel like they’ve had a face-to-face encounter with representatives of their favourite show or series. When Auckland Armageddon rolls around in October, there will be celebrity guests appearing in person (announcements are coming in September), as well as subset conferencing in remotely (some remote guests have already been announced).

Overall, the attendance and atmosphere is a clear indication that kiwis have missed getting together to costume and shop and generally socialise with fellow pop culture enthusiasts. The organisers of Armageddon have done a great job adapting to the unpredictable situation New Zealand faced over the months of lockdown, and we’re very much looking forward to personally getting along to the Armageddon Expo 25th anniversary event in Auckland in October (Labour weekend, October 23-26th) – tickets for that convention go on sale tomorrow.

Many thanks to Brendan Cowan, Steve Pearson, and Craig Esslemont for the use of their photos. For many more photos of the Christchurch, Tauranga, and Wellington Armageddon Expos, check out other community submissions in this SWNZ Facebook Group thread.