Last weekend, I spent my time standing in queues, spending lots of money, getting attacked by zombies, complimenting cosplayers and meeting the cast of The Walking Dead.
Yes. My brother and I had our second visit to Walker Stalker Con London.
The popular convention was here on the 4th and 5th of March and was held in the spacious Olympia London. It’s the only Walker Stalker Con currently to be held outside of the US, and so thousands of people gathered from not just Britain, but all over Europe, for lots of undead excitement. Needless to say, the event was a huge success.
The floor size was increased after last year’s feedback, and over 50 exhibitors set up stalls with a range of everything from artwork to retro sweets, clothing to tattoos. Amongst these stalls were also a number of tables with cast members of TWD behind them, ready for a weekend of signing autographs, chatting to fans and taking selfies. As if that wasn’t enough, there was a large stage area for panels and chats with the cast, cosplay competitions and live music acts. Throw some cosplayers and food carts into the mix, and you have the ideal combination for a zombie-lover’s perfect weekend.
The excitement begins from the very moment you join the queues outside of the venue. Despite being incredibly long, they are well organised and move quickly, and as you shuffle along you’ll find yourself coming face to face with realistic zombies and gawping in awe at plenty of people in incredible fancy dress.
The buzz continues as you step into the venue and are greeted by a grand room full of excited chatter and smiling faces. The place is loud, but it adds to the excitement. There are tonnes of people, but they bring infectious enthusiasm with them. People of all ages gather round with eagerness etched on their faces and a palpable energy in the air.
Almost all of the main cast of TWD had flown over to take part in WSC London, and they didn’t disappoint.
Norman Reedus, Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Andrew Lincoln were the star attractions as they drew the crowds and left people in tears of happiness. JDM ended up getting into the UK later than anticipated and came straight to the venue from the airport, even staying late to make sure he saw everyone that had waited, and Andrew Lincoln stayed for as long as he possibly could before having to whizz off to film for Red Nose Day Actually. A true testament to how much the cast appreciate that the fans are what truly drives the TV show’s success.
They were accompanied by other fan favourites such as Lauren Cohen, Steven Ogg, Michael Cudlitz and Ross Marquand to name a few. Alongside them were a few extra treats in the form of actors from both American Horror Story and Bates Motel.
Meeting the characters you’ve grown to love and hate over the years is truly a surreal experience. The best part? They’re all so bloody lovely. Despite having seats and tables to hide behind, almost all of them decided to instead stand and truly interact with each of their fans.
Shoutout to Ross Marquand in particular who swiftly sat a young girl in his chair and spent extra time with her as she sobbed over the fact she was actually meeting him. He was honestly the sweetest guy with all of his fans and demanded a cuddle off each and every one. Cue the heart melting.
Selfies and autographs must be paid for, but it’s so worth it for the experience. I was lucky enough to meet 11 actors/actresses this year: Austin Amelio (Dwight, TWD), Scott Wilson (Hershel, TWD), Steven Ogg (Simon, TWD), Alanna Masterson (Tara, TWD), David Morrissey (The Governor, TWD), Michael Traynor (Nicholas, TWD), Alexandra Breckenridge (Jessie, TWD), Ross Marquand (Aaron, TWD), Christian Serratos (Rosita, TWD), Nestor Carbonell (Bates Motel) and Denis O’Hare (American Horror Story).
So yes, I spent an awful lot. And I’m so glad I did!
Needless to say, I was swooning over Ross who was beyond handsome in real life, and Michael Traynor had me feeling elated for the whole weekend by writing the sweetest message about a blog post I wrote about his character.
Austin was effortlessly cool and sat with his own tunes blasting out of some portable speakers, whilst we reminisced with David Morrissey about meeting last year and having a laugh about his moustache at the time. (I quote: “Looked like I had shredded wheat on my lip, didn’t it?“)
Did I mention how handsome Ross Marquand was? Oh, yes. I did.
As for Denis O’Hare, he made a joke about instead receiving an autograph from us, at which point Robert proceeded to sign a sticky note for him whilst he stepped back to take a photo of him doing so. He tweeted the photos later that evening, which was pretty special!
— Denis O'Hare (@denisohare) March 4, 2017
Queuing to meet the celebs can be a lengthy process, but let me be clear: it is totally worth it. And you’ll find you usually end up chatting to strangers around you and the time flies by. Special shoutout to Sam who we crossed paths with twice and had us laughing endlessly with his hilarious stories.
Lastly, (but by no means leastly!), a huge part of this convention, and probably any convention, is the awesome people that come dressed up. The time and effort put into the outfits is unbelievable, and I can honestly say the weekend wouldn’t be the same without them.
So now, one week later, I am suffering with post convention blues. But there’s a silver lining! Dates for next year’s Walker Stalker Con have been announced (10-11 March 2018, if you’re wondering!), and tickets go on sale on Saturday at 8pm. I’ll be sat waiting by my phone to promptly order some passes, and then it’s time to get saving up for all of the meet and greets I can and count down the days!
Are you a fan of The Walking Dead?
Do you think Walker Stalker Con is something you’d be interested in next year?
Disclaimer: I think I’m in love with Ross Marquand.