I took an impromptu trip to yesterday’s ELCAF (East London’s Comics & Art Festival). Having not been overly impressed with last’s years event, I simply could not resist many of the names on the exhibitors list.
Last year’s ELCAF was hosted at the Village Underground. I felt the venue was too small making it extremely difficult to walk around, let alone thumb through comics. In the organisers’ defence, I doubt even they knew how popular it would be.
Feeling a little dubious this time round, I was pleasantly surprised when I entered York Hall. As well as the larger venue, it felt more organised than last year, with more talks, and a broader selection of speakers and exhibitors. Publishers, and independent shops fit right in with solo illustrators. Creators were signing their comics and had more time to chat to visitors. The whole experience felt relaxed, less like a Shoreditch scene event (apologies to the Shoreditch scenesters) and more like a comic convention. It brought the focus back to the the UK comic & art scene and really did celebrate our achievements.
In all, it seems like the organisers were more prepared than last year and put on a thoroughly well thought out event. I hope ELCAF’s success continues, and keeps growing. Who knows, maybe next year they could add an extra day, making it a whole weekend of fun!