SDCC vs. PAX vs. Lollapalooza

Going to the San Diego Comic-Con, Penny Arcade Expo and Lollapalooza have been on my bucket list for sometime now. So, I’ve been saving up some moolah since 2007, hoping that one day I could afford to attend any of them. Well, I’m happy to say that I will be able to go to one of these events this year.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t decide on which event I should go to. My original plan was to attend SDCC first, and then Lollapalooza and PAX in the years after. But special factors rose up that made the latter aforementioned events as desirable as the former, leaving me torn.

Anyways, I’ve listed down the pros & cons –which I’ve compiled from reading blogs and various sites– of each event. So, maybe, just maybe, reading them every day would help me narrow down my choices, which will eventually lead me to a conclusion.

SDCC
I’ve always wanted to go to SDCC, even before I got back into comics. It is, after all, the “Geek Mecca”. So, even though it’s a comics convention, it also has a lot of other things. Whether you’re into toys, anime or TV, as long as it’s geeky, SDCC will cater it.

But one of the main reasons why I really wanted to attend SDCC are the exclusive items, There are a lot of custom made toys on the convention that you won’t find anywhere else. Of course, you’ll also meet plenty of writers and artists from the comic book industry that’ll happily sign your books.

Unfortunately, since Comic-Con is so popular and offers different things, the crowd is enormous. Attendees, especially the new ones, seem to complain about the never ending lines and not seeing what they really want to see due to lack of time.

Personally, one of the chief reasons that I’m indifferent about going is the amount of money I’m going to shell out. It’ll probably cost me a total of $1,800 (airfare + 4-day weekend convention pass + hotel + food + merchandise that will be bought during the show), and that’s just for four days.

Pros:
Exclusive toys, lots of comic book writers and artists, celebrity appearances, cos-players, lots of free swag, panels, and tons of major comic book and film announcements.

Cons:
Too crowded, huge exhibit hall, lines are everywhere, and it’s very expensive (estimated cost: 1,800).

PAX
One thing I really like about PAX is that it only has one focus: Gaming. New games are usually announced in here. In addition, there are also gaming stations setup all over the convention floor where you can chill and play demos of upcoming games.

But the reason why I really want to attend this year’s PAX is because my guild, Gaiscioch, is having a meet-up in there for our 10th year anniversary. The convention will be held in Seattle too. So, I could also take this opportunity to visit the birthplace of grunge music.

Like with SDCC, it’s a bit expensive too. Although it’ll only cost me about $1,000 for everything (airfare + hotel + food). From what I’ve gathered, lining up to play a demo could also take up an hour or two.

Pros:
A chance to see and play upcoming games, and it’s in Seattle (always wanted to visit Seattle).

Cons:
Long lines to play games, and it’s a bit expensive (estimated cost: 1,000).

Lollapalooza
As a teenager, I never really cared about Lollapalooza (even though I also listened to alternative music). But when they resurrected the music festival here in Chicago, six years ago, I’ve since wanted to attend the fest and watch my favorite bands play live.

Honestly, however, I never planned to attend the show this year. But I had a change of heart when I saw Muse, A Perfect Circle and Deftones listed on this year’s line-up. Besides, the show is in my backyard. So, I only need to spend about $300 – $400 (3-day pass + food + drinks) for 3 days.   

Pros:
A lot of my favorite bands will be there (including Muse, APC and Deftones), it’s the cheapest event that I could afford, I don’t need to travel and there will be lots of sweaty girls on tank tops on the fest.

Cons:
The heat will be unbearable, it might rain, all my favorite bands might play at the same time on different stages, and there will be lots of sweaty, smelly dudes on the fest.

These are my “guidelines” of some sort to weigh all three events. I’m still on an impasse, however. So, if you’ve attended any of these events, please share some of you experiences in the comments section. Maybe it’ll help reach a decision before all the tickets on Craigslist are gone.

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