Convention and festival season are officially in full swing, and with all the events gearing up to drop in the coming summer months, it can be a bit daunting to figure out which one to attend.
Marginalized fans of the nerdosphere most often find themselves attending conventions that may not be as inclusive or mindful of their presence as they should be. So with that in mind, here’s a list of 10 awesome cons to check out for all fandom fiends, but especially Blerds, LGBTQ+, and geeks of color!
Shameless plug? Perhaps, but one can’t deny that QuirkCon is gearing up to be one of the funnest conventions out there for quirky, free-spirited, and alternative people of color! Taking place over the span of three days in Durham, North Carolina, QuirkCon will be a multi-media event and conference featuring everything from day parties (Sailor Scouts and Twist Outs anyone?), immersive panels, super cool guests, and even an arcade!
Whether you’re a geek, goth, cosplayer, or into a little bit of everything, there will certainly be something for everyone at QuirkCon, so be sure to keep it on your radar because it is not one to miss! QuirkCon’s inaugural year will take place May 31st-June 2nd 2019 at the Durham Convention Center in Durham, NC. Tickets for QuirkCon can be purchased here!
Blerds unite! BlerDCon is one of those conventions you’ve just gotta attend at least once! With a vibe that feels like a combination of a comic con, block party, and good ol’ family cookout, BlerDCon is certainly a convention that will let all geeks of color feel right and home and celebrated in the nerdosphere!
And this year’s guest list features some impressive names, such as Rachel True (black girl magic!) from The Craft, and Estelle (also known as the GARNET, and an absolute Queen to boot!). This is certainly a summer convention that will have you feeling all the carefree black boy/girl vibes! BlerDCon 2019 will take place July 12-14 at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City in Virginia. Get your passes here!
Another amazing con to add to your list! DreamCon is celebrating its second year as an anime convention catered towards blerds and geeks of color who “enjoy the festivities of Japanese culture as well as comics, gaming, art and music.” Set in Waco, TX, DreamCon aims for inclusivity and an environment where nerds can feel safe and represented in their fandoms with other like-minded fans.
With values like that— and a super impressive first year attendance rate— DreamCon is sure to be one of your newest favorite up and coming cons. And the guest list isn’t half bad as well, with the Naruto Meme King himself King Vader slated to attend. DreamCon 2019 will take place May 3rd-5th 2019 in Waco, TX. Purchase your tickets here!
Now going into its 9th year, OnyxCon is “The largest convention in the Southeast celebrating the impact, contributions, and presence of the African Diaspora in *REALMS OF IMAGINATION through the popular arts.”
Needless to say, Blerds everywhere have got to attend! With a focus on creators and fans of color in the realm of sci-fi/fantasy, literature, film, comic books, anime, and so much more, OnyxCon is another one of those conventions that is guaranteed to be a fun time for all who attend. This year’s OnyxCon will take place August 23-25 2019 at the Southwest Arts Center in Atlanta, GA.
5. Game Devs of Color Expo
This one’s for all the gamers and Twitch lovers! The Game Devs of Color Expo is a fantastic conference in Harlem, NY that aims to be inclusive to all and create “a new normal in games by putting creators of color at the forefront, showing off their games, building conversations, and pushing games forward as an art form.”
This conference aims to provide a safe space for creators, fans, and developers of color who otherwise feel left out or ignored in the larger video game and gaming sphere. And with engaging panels and the opportunity for fans of all ages, races and creeds to connect, this con is certainly one that can’t be missed! This year’s Game Devs of Color Expo will take place July 27th 2019 at the Schomburg Center in Harlem, NY. Purchase your tickets for the vent here!
Created entirely with inclusivity and representation in mind, MECCACon is certainly a convention that is a must for all blerds and geeks of color! What makes MECCACon particularly unique is that it doesn’t focus solely on fandom or comics, but strives to “highlight comic books, science fiction, steampunk, manga, authors, artists, publishers, international film, artisans, music, fine arts, and more.”
MECCACon also has affiliate locations in several cities, making it super accessible for those who would otherwise be unable to travel to out of state cons. The dates for this year’s MECCACon have yet to be announced, to be sure to be on the lookout on their website for any news and special announcements!
One of the largest cons of its kind in the world, FlameCon also has the distinction of being the first LGBTQ+ comic con in New York City, highlighting “fans and creators of pop culture who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer.” With amazing panels, cosplays, and creators that focus on inclusivity and representation, this con is an absolute must for all who enjoy comics, fandoms, and nerd culture!
This year, comic book artist Jen Bartel is even offering an artist mentorship to “mentor and guide two artists through the process of preparing to table at a comic convention.” FlameCon 2019 will take August 17-18 at the Sheraton New York Times Square Hotel in New York. Get your tickets here!
Named after the ship name for the characters Clarke and Lexa from the CW series the 100, ClexaCon is an annual convention and the largest “multi-fandom event for LGBTQ women & allies.” that aims to celebrate “LGBTQ women and characters in TV, film, web series, comics, books and more.”
Considering the representation that still needs to be increased for queer women and queer characters in fandom and artistic works, this convention definitely sounds like a dream come true and a wonderful safe space for like-minded fans to connect and celebrate their favorite fandoms. This year’s ClexaCon already passed, taking place from April 11-15 in Las Vegas, NV. But be sure to clear your calendars for next year, because this con is certainly one that cannot be missed!
9. Blerd City Con
Another super fun con catered towards blerds, Blerd City Con is “a blend of a micro-Comic Con with the intersectionality of social issues facing people of color.” The two day conference features film screenings, fun panels, gaming, a children/young adult area, and focuses on sci-fi, horror, and fantasy. Perfect for the nerd who loves all things fandom while still desiring to bring light to the social issues that often plague marginalized groups.
This year’s Blerd City Con will take place July 12-14 2019 at St. Francis College in Brooklyn, New York.
10. Indigenous Comic Con
Another one that’s sure to be a new fave for all geeks of color alike, Indigenous Comic Con (also known as I-Con) is “An amazing, three-day Indigenous pop-culture convention that features the best Indigenous creators, illustrators, writers, designers, actors, and producers from the worlds of comic books, games, sci-fi, fantasy, film, tv, and graphic novels.”
The Indigenous Comic Con aims to highlight and celebrate the incredibly work that “brings understanding about the Indigenous experience to the world of popular culture and unlock the Indigenous imagination!” A wonderful convention that is certainly important, as there remains a tremendous lack of representation of indigenous characters and creators in the realm of fandom and nerd culture. Indigenous Comic Con will also be going international this year, gearing to set up a second convention in Melbourne, Australia. The US version of Indigenous Comic Con will take place July 26-28 2019 at McNichols Civic Center in Denver, Colorado.