By Ashlynn Webb of Hufflepuff
Have you heard about the magic of LeakyCon? LeakyCon was started by the people who run a website called, “The Leaky Cauldron.” The site covers all news that is related to Harry Potter, like when J.K. Rowling wrote a new book and when Pottermore releases new and exclusive material. When the last book of the Harry Potter series was published, they got together and thought of a way for Harry Potter fans to meet other fans. One important factor in creating LeakyCon was they wanted it to be a community atmosphere, like what they had within their website. Thus LeakyCon was created!
Mischief Managed (their official company name) had their first convention back in 2009 at the Boston Park Plaza Hotel in Massachusetts. After having some trouble planning and keeping everything together at their first convention, they decided to take a break for two years and perfect everything that needed to be fixed. The timing worked out wonderfully because the next convention happened the same year of the opening of Hogsmeade, also known as “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.” Since then, LeakyCon has grown and expanded into a tremendous community, and will continue to widen as long as Harry Potter fans live on!
My pen pal in Amsterdam first told me about the convention. She informed me all about her experiences at LeakyCon London. She sent me pictures and expressed how wonderful it was to experience such a phenomenal convention that turned out to be like an extended family. I have been planning to go to LeakyCon since the day Mischief Managed told us that it was going to be held in Orlando.
The first day of LeakyCon essentially involved standing in line. The line went out the door. All of the attendees wanted to get their registration done so that they did not have to wake up early the next day, but the volunteers had to stop the lines for anyone that did not purchase a ticket to Open at the Close, a special after-hours event held at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Attendees have said that it was an amazing experience to have been able to go to Universal Orlando with other Harry Potter fans, an experience that will never be forgotten. This park event sold 1,500 tickets in just seven minutes and was only available to those with full registration. Instead of going to the park event after 10PM, my family and I went into Universal right after I got my registration badge. This is were I got my first Hufflepuff House robes. My family was just as excited as I was about finally getting them! We ended the day with watching the lights turn on as night fell over Diagon Alley and it was magical!
The second day of LeakyCon started off with waking up so excited that I could not eat a single thing. After calming down, I got all my things loaded for the day and headed off to the official meet up for the Slug Club. It was incredible to finally meet the community that I have been talking to over Facebook for a couple of months. They were all so kind-hearted and welcoming to everyone that came. This is what makes Harry Potter fans the best fans in the world because we are all so nice! On top of meeting everyone, I got to distribute the hats and bows I made and sold to some of the members. I even donated a copy of the Quibbler I made for them to give away as a contest prize.
The rest of the day I walked around the Marketplace (LeakyCon’s term for their vendor room.) The merchants had tons of hand-made items for sale. I ended up looking at time-turner necklaces, decals for your car, handmade witches hats, and, of course, t-shirts for every Starkid fan. By the time I finished looking around at each and every booth, it was time for the Opening Ceremony. They included a number of fandoms in the opening like Disney, StarTrek, Lord of the Rings and Sherlock (just to name a few.) The last event of the day was the LeakyCon Wrock Concert featuring performances by The Blibbering Humdingers, Tonks and the Aurors, Gred and Forge, Molly Lewis, and Draco and the Malfoys. Lets just say the first act was my very first encounter with Harry Potter inspired music and it was very funny! Do not get me wrong, I loved all the songs, but it was funny to hear music about characters in the books for the first time. My favorite band that night was Tonks and the Aurors who sang the song, “Owl Post.”
The third day started off incredibly fast! I got autographs from Joe Moses, Tessa Netting, Jackie Emerson (Fox Face in the Hunger Games), and Jon Cozart. They were all so nice and so sweet! Tessa, a YouTube sensation, was the cutest because she wanted to steal my TARDIS Cardigan (purchased from “Her Universe.”) She also loved my Luna Lovegood earrings that I made. All I could think was, “How in the world could this weekend get any better?” Next thing I know, it does! Because I was on my way to my first Lit Track event.
All of the authors at the Lit Track panels were hilarious, but the best thing was watching Maureen Johnson ride in on a Segway that she was given at the beginning of the conference! Everyone just cheered for Maureen as she rode through the doors. When the panel was almost over, the panelists called up some of the fellow authors to read some of their fan-fiction that they had written over the years. Let me tell you, it was the funniest thing to watch some of the authors read the stories they brought with them while trying not to laugh! Now comes my favorite part about LeakyCon. I got to finally meet some of Starkid!
Starkid is a group of college students that have created musicals related to pop culture and uploaded the videos to YouTube. In 2009, Starkid Productions was created at the University of Michigan by Darren Criss, Brian Holden, Matt Lang, and Nick Lang. They became popular on the internet when they created and published “A Very Potter Musical.” The musical was so popular that they made a sequel and then “A Very Potter Senior Year,” which is the final Harry Potter musical by Starkid. The final musical was preformed at LeakyCon 2012 in Boston. They have produced countless other musicals including one called “Holy Musical Batman!” There are currently 41 members in Team Starkid. The majority graduated from the University of Michigan and grew up in the Chicago area. One thing that stood out to me about the Starkid members that were at LeakyCon was the fact that they were so nice and understanding. Their fans wanted to take pictures with them, even though it meant taking pictures with people they did not necessarily know. It was an amazing opportunity to finally see them in person and get a picture!
I’m going to skip a couple of things because the days got long and more eventful, but I can say my favorite thing by far was getting to meet Meredith Stepien of StarKid! She was even prettier in person! I loved her in “A Very Potter Senior Year” & “Twisted!” Meredith’s singing is always on pitch and is just amazing, as are all the other members of Starkid. I will never forget the moment I met them!
The fourth day started off like clockwork, waking up early and meeting up with friends to talk about what everyone was going to wear to the Charity Ball that night. Until it was time to get ready for the ball, we headed a main stage event. The event was “Joe Moses One Man Showses,” which was creative and hilarious! I don’t think anyone who was in there could stop laughing! The show had spoofs of Harry Potter and Supernatural, among others. Joe Moses also performed his fans’ favorite spoof of Harry Potter called “Snape’s Corner” with the lovely Jackie Emerson. Next up were The Potter Puppet Pals. They were just as funny and could not keep the audience quiet for the length of the show!
A healthy lunch and a few hours later, it was time for LeakyCon’s attempt to break yet another Guinness World Record. Everyone put on their paper crowns (handmade or store-bought) and grabbed a wristband with a number from a volunteer. We all counted down as we waited to put on our hats at the same time! Five minutes later, we were counting down again as we broke the world record! Everyone cheered and walked out of the room proudly with their paper hats still on for the rest of the day.
The last event of the day was a reading of “Starship: Requiem” which is a sequel to the original musical “Starship.” The reading was so hilarious that the actors could not keep a straight face during some of the scenes. They were just so outrageous and crazy that Meredith (from Team Starkid) could barely read of one of the lines in her robot voice. Everyone sat in awe as they listened and laughed at the musical they have been waiting to hear all year. When the reading ended, it was time for everyone to get ready for the Esther Earl Rocking Charity Ball. About two hours later, everyone showed up in gowns, tea-length dresses, Cosplay outfits and just regular everyday clothes. All of the attendees of LeakyCon danced the night away, including the special guests! Some of the guests got on stage and greeted fans as they danced till 2 am.
Now came the final day of LeakyCon 2014. Everyone woke up early after a late night to attend “A Very Potter… Not Quite! Outtakes from the Potter Musicals.” Everyone lined up an hour early to get good seats for both the outtakes with Starkid and the Closing Ceremony. Starkid talked about scenes that were taken out of the YouTube versions because they were too long, or just too inappropriate for the internet.
Finally, the time came to quiet down and watch the Closing Ceremony. Melissa, one of the founders of LeakyCon, came out on stage along with some of the guests that talked about how wonderful this years’ convention was! Towards the end, Melissa was ready to make a huge announcement about the future of the convention and what was planned for next year. The announcement of a separate convention for all things fandom was a shock for everyone in the room! You could have heard a pin drop at the time because it was so quiet. Melissa announced that this convention was going to be called GeekyCon and it was going to happen the same time next year in Orlando. She did a great job at handling everyone worries about the future of LeakyCon by telling attendees that LeakyCon was now only going to be for Harry Potter only and happen in multiple locations in 2015.
LeakyCon 2014 was the best experience I have ever had at a convention because they had such a wonderful atmosphere and every person you meet is the absolute sweetest. It is like an extended family for most people and I agree 100 percent in saying that I will never forget that weekend and the friends I made during it!