Here Is a Review by team member Ally of Geekfest 2022. A comic convention based in Heartlands which is a historic mining site found in Pool.
After a two year long wait Geekfest is finally back with a bang! With promises of being bigger and better than ever we were certainly not disappointed. There was so much to see and do! With everything from taking part in or watching LARP battles (theatrical battles with foam weaponry) to taking in some history of Cornish mining in the museum of mining and everything in between.
As the sun shone on the clear blue skies over Heartlands even the temperamental Cornish weather was on our side for a fantastic day.
Geek Fest is beautifully set in Heartlands, A 19 acre heritage site in Pool, nestled between Redruth and Camborne. Most of the main areas are flat or with slight slopes and entrance to the buildings are mostly with slight ramps rather than steps. The main buildings are accessible by pathways over the gravel ground. We found most of the pathways to be accessible for wheelchair users, although it may prove to be slightly hard work to reach all the areas (over the gravel) independently. Heartlands do, however, have the limited opportunity to hire a mobility scooter (This needs to be booked at least 24 hours in advance.)
Heartlands has free disabled parking and a changing places toilet located by the parking area fitted with a hoist, full adult size changing table and space for two carers. Heartlands also has four further accessible toilets dotted around the site. We found the toilets to be very clean and laid out well with emergency pull cords, wheelchair accessible sinks and air blade driers. There were also baby changing facilities in the disabled toilets.
We enjoyed watching the children and adults taking part in the cosplay costume competitions. There was such passion and creativity in all the participants, with costumes ranging from all the Star Wars characters we know and love to really unique and other worldly manga characters. The compare spoke brilliantly and we were able to hear the announcements over the PA loud and clearly. (I am hard of hearing and could understand everything he said.)
The cosplay competition was in a different location to previous years and we found the new space to work so well with plenty of space to watch the performances, with some shaded areas, definitely a must for some of the spectators and participants in all their fantastic costumes! You could even see the stage from the bridge which created a very serene backdrop and was great for those with additional sensory needs.
Falmouth University were set up in the main building showcasing games and gaming worlds created by the digital arts students. There were lots of computers set up for you to jump into the various games to try out and an arcade style gaming set up for you to try battling it out with others in a mini championship. The building was accessible on the flat with a fully accessible toilet and a lift to the top floor. Falmouth University were also showcasing film students works with showings of short films throughout the day. It was wonderful to see such entertaining shorts from such talented students.
We thoroughly enjoyed looking at all the stalls, selling all sorts of gaming, comic books as well as cosplay themed things. Although these areas were busy and crowded, it appeared to be much quieter and easier to get around in the late afternoon.
There were plenty of food vans to choose from, catering to many tastes as well as the onsite restaurant which offers take away snacks, meals and drinks as well as a sit down restaurant catering to many different dietary requirements.
There was a breaking bad themed mobile bar made to look like the famous mobile home frown the television series, serving themed drinks and specialities.
Heartlands had a bar marquee on site too, serving cocktails, beers, ciders and soft drinks. The bar tariff was written in large clear fonts, making it easy to read for those with visual impairments.
There were picnic benches by the bars and music van, most of the tables had a bench space missing to allow wheelchair users to sit at the table comfortably. This was also the case for the picnic tables by the Red River Cafe and in the adventure playground area, Brilliant!
The beautiful Diaspora Gardens, planted with with plants,trees and grasses to represent all the different places that the Cornish miners relocated to searching for a better life are truly unique. Wonderful escapism, especially for those with additional sensory needs.
After taking in the beautiful gardens and relaxing quietly we watched people trying their hand at archery, then wandered straight into Jurassic Park!!! With an animatronic T-Rex and two park keepers walking around cradling baby dinosaur puppets.
Once we had enjoyed a lovely cold drink and after a local dance troupe had finished performing we decided to take in the fun fair. There were rides mainly based for younger families to enjoy and all the games you would expect to find at a funfair, the ring toss and hook a duck had low counters so were accessible to all.
Over the course of the day we found the Heartlands and Geek Fast staff, stewards and security to be very approachable and friendly. There was a medic van situated at the main entrance which was very obvious and clear, so in the case of an incident it would be very obvious without having to ask.
As our day was drawing to an end Geek Fest was not even halfway through. Geek Fest was about to take on a whole different mood with the Geek Fest after party for over 18’s.
There was music and dancing set over the bars and marquees with two laser shows over the evening, Then onto Sunday to do it all over again!
Thank you to Heartlands for hosting yet another brilliant Geek Fest, we had the most wonderful day filled with Brilliant performances, gaming and cosplaying fun with a great, safe, family atmosphere and some of the most creative costumes we have ever seen!
We are looking forward to next year already!