Thought Bubble in Leeds, UK—to be held November 9-15th this year—has rapidly gained an international reputation as one of the finest comic arts festivals out there. With a fantastic guest list and a friendly vibe, it’s on many people’s must-do list now. But with popularity comes growing pains. The show has just announced a bunch of changes including a move to curation for exhibitors, a higher fee for tables, and charging for tickets to a Saturday night party. The show has rapidly outgrown its venue, and a third hall used in 2013 is no longer available. So…something had to give, as they explain.
So where do we go from here? For the last four months we’ve been hard at work trying to find a suitable space to hold the ever-growing festival. There’s no single venue big enough in Leeds at the current time, so there are only two options available to us – to leave Leeds and, in turn, all our amazing local partners and sponsors, or, alternatively, to build our own venue! The idea of leaving Leeds is a last resort to us, as we love this city, and everything that it’s brought to the festival. Without our partners, like Leeds City Council, Leeds and Bradford Libraries, and Leeds International Film Festival, Thought Bubble would change entirely and we just can’t have that. We love Leeds too much, so we’re going to do everything we can to stay here.
So, for 2014′s Thought Bubble, the convention will stay at Clarence Dock, and will utilise New Dock Hall and Royal Armouries Hall as with previous years, but in addition to those halls, we are going to be building a state-of-the-art hard-shell marquee in the main square as a third hall. We think that this new space will make the convention better than ever, but, as you can imagine, it is very expensive to build and install.
Zainab Akhtar has some excellent commentary here. Comics are too darned popular!
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.