It rained almost all day. (And I mean really rained to the point you were thinking it was good to be on a hill). The venue was miles from the nearest pub. No-one knew if the event would be a success but organiser Ant Mercer worked his socks off promoting the thing in the local press and on local radio.
Since we were selling the final issue of Eagle Flies Again at the event and sold under ten copies (special thanks to Paul Scott of Omnivistascope/Solar Wind for boosting the coffers, I feel really bad about charging him now), I imagine some small press people might be in a similar boat in terms of weighing the costs versus income (although I gather some covered their their costs, which is also great news).
But despite the weather and, perhaps, financial losses on the day, I think the event was a success from the point of view of further raising the profile of British comics, and I hope Ant will be running another one next year.
For me, the whole point of the Lancaster Comics Festival was that it offered a chance to open up the world of comics creation to a new audience. An audience that would never perhaps make it to a comics event in London, Brighton or Bristol.
Many people came to the event – I'm sure Ant can provide some firm numbers – people who had never been to a comics event before but braved the weather any way -- and yes, I include the woman with the ferret. For that alone, it was a success.
The smiles on the faces of the kids taking part in the comics jam more than made up for the terrible weather.
As for creator revelry both before and after the event (although I missed the "after", never have a stall right next to an artist with an "atrocious cold…" :) ) – well, that was just a bonus.
Thanks to everyone who came; everyone who took part; and Ant for getting the thing together.
As he and I discussed several times, this was a first Comics Festival for Lancaster (although I ran a comics event in Lancaster back in 1994 as part of its literature festival, for the most part, the numbers were nowhere near what was achieved on Saturday).
There were things that could have gone better; there were things that went better than expected. Overall, for me, it was a great day.
Let's call it a start, and move ever upwards from here…