The hugely popular Walker Stalker Convention returned to the UK for a second year running this past weekend (4-5 March) and it was another roaring success. Held in the heart of the city at Olympia London, the two-day event was the ultimate The Walking Dead fan experience, complete with over 50 exhibitors, some awesome cosplay and the chance to meet and take photos with most of the show’s cast (all but a few of the main characters were in attendance).
If you love TWD, Walker Stalker Con is the event to attend. Having successfully run across the US, London is the first convention to take place outside of America, but it wasn’t just us brits in attendance – fans from Europe travelled to the capital specifically to get involved in the living-dead fun. And fun was what we all had.Right from the moment you enter the convention there’s an infectious energy that’s difficult to resist. The hall is jam-packed and the crowds are loud but this somehow adds to the excitement in the air. Wandering around the ground floor and gallery you instantly spot familiar faces, resulting in a constant stream of squees. Whilst Norman Reedus, Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Andrew Lincoln (who only attended Saturday) drew the biggest crowds, there was a more relaxed atmosphere with the other guests.
The likes of Tom Payne (Jesus), Chandler Riggs (Carl), Michael Cudlitz (Abraham, RIP), Khary Payton (Ezekiel) and Alanna Masterson (Tara) were cheerfully signing autographs and snapping selfies with fans, all of them taking the time to chat with each one after they’d so patiently queued for the opportunity to meet their favourite actors. Others in attendance included fan faves Steven Ogg (Simon), Josh McDermitt (Eugene) and Austin Amelio (Dwight), as well as actors from Bates Motel and American Horror Story, and horror book authors/comic artists.
When going to any convention you expect to queue, and the autograph/photo op lines were extremely long, but that’s all part of the experience and if you accept that in advance, you can’t be disappointed. Queuing for around an hour for a photo op with Michael Cudlitz was worth the wait, even if all my cool evaporated the moment Cudlitz called me sweetheart and I was too busy swooning to do my much pondered over TWD pose (who can blame me?). Still, the photo ops provide a reminder of the day that’s worth the money, and you should expect to spend a lot…
The organisers and volunteers were friendly and helpful, ensuring the event went as smoothly as possible and all attendees – including many children – were having a good time. Playing ‘Easy Street’ on repeat went down a treat with the jolly crowds waiting in photo op lines, easing what was a feet-aching experience – but then we’re British…queuing amiably is what we do best. Those in cosplay also stepped up the game, though you have to feel for one very convincing Negan who couldn’t walk two steps without having to stop for a selfie – he’d mastered the lean back.
It appears many of the problems that the convention had in its first year in London have been ironed out. The free cast panels were well-prepared and on-time with plenty of seating and standing for those who rocked up to them a little late (like me). The musical interludes from Katelyn Nacon (Enid) and co were also a nice respite from the loud crowds.
So with WSCLondon2017 over, it’s time to turn our attention to next year’s event, which has already been announced over on the convention’s Facebook page. It’ll be returning for a third year running on 10-11 March 2018, with the first load of tickets going on sale at 8PM on 18 March. If you spent all your money over the weekend and need a little time to replenish the bank account, tickets will be released in waves to give ample time for attendees to save those pennies. Here’s to next year!