The second instalment of the Fantasy Basel takes place from May 5th to 7th in the Messe of Switzerland’s third largest city. And it has grown considerably compared to the last year’s inaugural fair. The growth does not only mean more visitor and booths, but also the attention of mainstream stars – this year’s Fantasy Basel is headlined by Big Bang Theory’s Kevin Sussman and The Game of Thrones’ Kristian Nairn.
A journey to Fantasy Basel could begin with a mild shock – the queue at around 10:30 spans around the massive building and one contemplates getting the first refreshments of the day. Thankfully, the process is reasonably quick and well organized, with the queue moving at a steady pace.
Fantasy Basel welcomes visitors on different halls and floors this year around, most with a different focus. The event lives and breathes with the vast amount of cosplayers, ranging from beginners in onesies to absolute professionals with self-made characters. But there is a lot to do for any kind of visitor around: you can enjoy extensive gaming corners by Nintendo, Playstation, Samsung and the Swiss Gaming Challenge, browse through thestands of the biggest comic book stores in Switzerland as well as admire a lot of art by aspiring and talented fantasy artists. A lot of potential remains for the big movie distributors – too often their stands take up a lot of space only to be filled with little props, posters or sponsored items. They could do so much to engage with an extremely enthusiastic audience, but on the first day of Fantasy Basel their offering was rather disappointing.
A very welcome addition this year’s fair were the panels in the new and enlarged main stage – the stage itself could use a bit more flair like a bar or infopoints, but was nonetheless big enough to seat most visitors interested in hearing what Kristian Nairn had to say.
The Northern Irish actor and DJ was interviewed by our own Uncanny Stefan and proved to be a wonderful guest – funny, insightful, warm and all around likeable. One can tell that, as he pointed up, enjoys conventions and felt at ease with a fairly typical Swiss crowd – slightly reserved and very polite. Nonetheless, his intonation of “Hodor” at the end of the panel drew cheers from the audience!
Walking through the fair, make sure to not only check out the fantastic models of the Tie Fighter and Ghostbusters Car, but also to enjoy the efforts of countless amateur cosplayers showing off their skill and characters.
Fantasy Basel has grown considerably, but remains a wonderful event for anyone interested in Fantasy, Cosplay, Gaming, Comics, Art or Pop Culture in general. We’ll be there again next year and so should you.
All images by Silvia.