As a first-time attendee of Dream Con, I can confidently say that this event has left a lasting impression on me. The sheer magnitude of its success, with a staggering jump from 6,000 to 22,000 attendees compared to the previous year, is a testament to its growing influence and resonance within the anime and gaming community.
The journey was not without its challenges, as rapid growth often brings its own set of hiccups. However, the overall reception was overwhelmingly positive, and it’s clear that the heart and soul poured into this convention by its organizers have truly paid off.
The growth has been a blessing & something beyond my imagination in only 5 years.
Johnathan Newton, COO & Co-Founder of Dream Con, summed up the astonishing journey succinctly in a tweet: “The growth has been a blessing & something beyond my imagination in only 5 years. We’re up against cons with 30+ years of experience. We’ll catch up soon.” This sentiment encapsulates the remarkable evolution of Dream Con from its modest beginnings to a powerhouse event.
The inclusivity and unity that Dream Con fosters is unparalleled. It felt like a big black family reunion, even among strangers. This convention provides a space where everyone, regardless of their background, can feel validated, connected, and celebrated. As someone who grew up in a predominantly white Austin, the welcoming atmosphere was a breath of fresh air, a chance to finally belong.
The inclusion of DJ Hella Yella, an Austin legend, added an authentic touch to the festivities including the Latto part at Mayfair and the Dream Con x Trap Sushi party at Rio. The fusion of his music with the convention’s atmosphere created an electric ambiance that brought the event to life. Kai Cenat, TiaCorine, King Vader, and Nothing To Do In Austin dropped in as well.
And who could forget the delectable offerings from Cranky Granny’s? The creation of an RDC-inspired cinnamon roll exclusively for RDC showcased a delightful blend of local culinary artistry and the convention’s unique essence. In a heartwarming gesture, RDC went above and beyond by securing 40,000 free meals for attendees and locals, a partnership with PostMates and Uber Eats. This initiative not only underscored Dream Con’s dedication to community engagement but also extended its positive impact beyond the convention walls.
As I navigated through panels, discussions, and the diverse array of activities, it became evident that Dream Con was more than just an event – it was a dynamic fusion of cultures, ideas, and local influences. What struck me most was the incredible talent that came together to create this immersive experience. The Dream Con team comprises some of the best graphic and web designers, stage directors, accountants, cinematographers, and cosplay designers, with the majority being people of color, particularly black individuals. This representation not only underscores the convention’s commitment to inclusivity but also showcases the immense potential within these creative communities.
The sense of collaboration and camaraderie persisted even in the face of challenges. Despite the stress that comes with orchestrating an event of this magnitude, the team operated with grace, driven by a shared sense of community and love. It’s a rare and beautiful thing to witness, leaving attendees like myself feeling inspired and uplifted.
The variety of programming at Dream Con was nothing short of impressive. From engaging panels and discussions, Karaoke sessions, and Live Action Role Playing activities to insightful conversations about breaking into the streaming market and fun Black Cookout discussions, there was truly something for everyone.
The presence of prominent figures like Carl Jones, co-executive producer of The Boondocks, and Love Barnett, discussing their animation studio’s launch, added another layer of excitement and inspiration.
As the convention wrapped up, the Dream Con team is wasting no time in planning for the future. With numerous sponsors expressing interest in next year’s event and growing enthusiasm from potential partners, the anticipation for what’s to come is palpable.
My first Dream Con experience was nothing short of magical. I applaud the dedicated planning team who orchestrated this remarkable event flawlessly. To manage a crowd of 22,000 with such professionalism, ensuring safety and a seamless experience across multiple venues speaks volumes about their commitment and hard work.
As I reflect on my time at Dream Con, I’m reminded of the words of Johnathan Newton – we’re catching up, and there’s no doubt that Dream Con’s influence will only continue to grow, leaving a lasting impact on the anime and gaming world.
For those interested in joining the Dream Con movement or becoming partners and sponsors for future events, please visit the website.