Sci-Fi Weekender XV

A photo of a panel interview at a previous Sci-Fi Weekender in Great Yarmouth.

If you’re reading this blog post today or tomorrow, then I’ll be at Sci-Fi Weekender XV in Great Yarmouth, along with Christine and a large group of friends. As usual, I’m writing this in advance on a very old and wet Sunday – perfect blogging weather.

This is our seventh Sci-Fi Weekender event; the first one we went to was SFW 9 in 2018, near Pwlheli in North Wales. Our child was only two at the time so we went as a family, although that meant missing out on the evening activities, including John Robertson’s The Dark Room. It took us a while to work out why everyone was calling each other Darren and why there were so many pineapples everywhere.

Sci-Fi Weekender has moved around a bit over the years. The first event was in Pontins in Camber Sands on the south coast of England, but it had spent a few years in Wales before our first visit. SFW X (part I) was in Sheffield city centre, after changes to the site in Wales meant it could no longer be held there, and it’s been at the Vauxhall Holiday Park in Great Yarmouth since 2019 (SFW X part II). We’ve been to all of them since 2018, although after our first time we’ve had childcare in place. Not least because it’s a Thursday-Friday-Saturday event and it’s not a valid excuse for taking a child of school on the Friday.

Neil and Christine with Brian Blessed at Sci-Fi Weekender XIII

What is Sci-Fi Weekender?

Sci-Fi Weekender is perhaps best described as a residential science fiction and fantasy festival (or ‘Space Butlins’, if you will). It’s not a comic-con (like Thought Bubble, which we went to in 2014 and 2015), and there are usually only a handful of stalls. The main focus is entertainment, cosplay and interviews with actors and celebrities. It doesn’t tend to get many big names, although Peter Davidson (the fifth Doctor, and father-in-law to David Tennant) is the top-billed name this time. Previous SFW events have included Brian Blessed and Nina Wadia.

It tends to take place in holiday parks (the Sheffield years excepted) so that the majority of attendees can stay on site, and it also gives it a more intimate feel. Many guests stay the whole weekend, and some even mingle with attendees. Professor Elemental, who we’ve now seen seven times (eight if you include this weekend) always performs and usually gets involved in hosting a panel. We’re also looking to Madam Misfit‘s third visit.

Whilst the Vauxhall Holiday Park at Great Yarmouth is good, it’s a bit of a trek from Yorkshire. It’s roughly a four hour drive, and about the same by train but with three changes from Sowerby Bridge. We’re driving down as we’re offering a lift to some friends who are also going.

Also, don’t ask about the numbering. SFW X was delivered as two events, and then XI and XII didn’t happen because of you know what.