On the weekend of the third and fourth of February, Sydney, Australia was lucky enough to have the debut of the worldwide convention known as Walker Stalker.
Walker Stalker is a convention that garners a lot of attention in the United States. This is due to the fact it services one of the biggest fandoms and shows being aired right now: AMC’s The Walking Dead. Just the name alone is enough to draw crowds and peak the interest of all fans of the show.
Despite the size of the fandom itself, the convention offers an overall intimate experience, almost akin to a family gathering. Even guests bringing their family along for the ride. The guests were many in comparison to other conventions offered in Australia and were much more accessible, even stopping to chat with fans for extended periods of time during lulls – all of course, free of charge. Additionally, the selfie and autographs at the guests table were priced reasonably while many offer combo deals for fans wanting a keepsake of their visit or meeting. Many even had music at their booths to boost the already excitable atmosphere.
The event was set out in such a way where guests had plenty of personal space and room to move. The few vendors were very specialized to the theme of the convention offering scores of memorabilia and collectables from The Walking Dead. Line management was a huge success: moving quickly and set up very cleverly in numbered rows to allow for photo ops to run smoothly and efficiently.
Volunteers were few in comparison to more established conventions, they are commended for their helpfulness and enthusiasm. The few times we required assistance, they pointed us in the right direction efficiently and polite. In addition, it was refreshing seeing event organizers with headsets out on the floor, assisting queue management and assisting guests get to the right place, so their day was the best it could be.
Panels were frequent, varied, entertaining and often hilarious. With the actors bouncing off each other telling jokes and offering insights into their experiences and emotional moments on the set of the show. Occasionally, even showing their off-screen talents such as Katelyn Nacon who plays Enid on the show getting onstage to sing even debuting her new song, which was definitely a highlight of our weekend.
The competition was managed differently compared to the ones at other pop culture conventions. Having three categories those being heroes, villains/zombies and kids. Judging was done by the audience – fans of the show and not a panel of judges. The fandom was represented very strongly by cosplayers in all age brackets and categories. The comp even allowed cosplayers to flex their acting prowess by performing their characters lines from the show. Congratulations to Sydney Joker as Negan for the Villians, Scarlett Moonstorm & Sparta Cos as Carol & Daryl for the Heroes and first time cosplayers Tatenda & Rufuro as King Ezekiel & Shiva for the kids category.
In conclusion, Walker Stalker Convention was exceedingly enjoyable on its debut outing. Small and intimate with so much room to grow. It boasts a relaxed atmosphere, seldom seen at conventions and the accessibility and nature of the guests that attended is a breath of fresh air. I personally cannot wait to attend again next year and see where they take it. Walker Stalker is a must for any The Walking Dead fan: hardcore or minor.