Many would say that the Harry Potter fandom is on its way out. The books are finished. The movies are complete. There's Pottermore, but the website doesn't really expand the lore.
LeakyCon considered calling it quits after 2011. Thankfully, the powers that be had a change of heart. The convention landed in Chicago for 2012, from August 9th through 12th. It has evolved into a multi-fandom celebration with a strong emphasis on literature. Thousands of fans gathered at the Hilton Chicago not only for Harry Potter, but for the joys of reading, writing, music, charity, and friendship.
Thursday was strictly for introductions and themed meetups. Friday onward, the big guns (er, wands) came out- live Quidditch, Wizard Rock, The HP Alliance, a staged reading by StarKid, actor signings, debates, yoga with the actress who played Luna Lovegood (seriously!), and more. Most interesting to me was a panel on Azkaban vs. modern prisons.
Outside of its Potter-themed fare, the convention featured LeakyCon Lit, a YA and general lit programming track. I attended a panel on sexuality in literature. Geek Girl Jess learned what makes a bad book. There were also plenty of sessions on getting published, for those looking to be the next J. K. Rowling.
LeakyCon's best assets were its guests. Lines formed peacefully. Every costume was applauded. People traded their iconic ties and scarves in a clothing swap. When a scheduled improv troupe didn't show up, a joyful singalong broke out. When I accidentally took someone's seat at the coffee shop, the group found a place for me. The vibe was truly, truly refreshing.
I've been doing conventions for well over a decade, and LeakyCon had the best press kit AND programming structure I've seen in Chicago. Next year, the event will be in two places- Portland and London. I enjoyed LeakyCon so thoroughly that I just might start saving up my galleons to go. Readers, consider the same! I'd even choose this event over Chicago Comic Con (more info in the next article), which was the same weekend.
Here are GGC's photos from LeakyCon. If you see yourself, please comment below, or on the Geek Girl Chicago Facebook page.