JOIN US IN A TRIP DOWN MEMORY LANE. THE YEAR WAS 2010 AND A PLUCKY ANIME MERCHANDISE COMPANY HAD THE DESIRE TO CHANGE THE UK ANIME CONVENTION SCENE AND DECIDED TO START IT ALL IN SUNDERLAND FOR SOME STUPID REASON.
The abridged history of SunnyCon Anime Expo
Back in 2010.....
There wasn't many events around and we had just attended our first convention as traders. During the 2 day event we had decided that we would love to run an anime convention of our own but in our home city of Sunderland (we know, where's that?) So the wheels were set in motion and so began a 2 year set up process.
Crowtree Leisure Centre, March 24th 2012
After a long process of setting up, budgeting and planning we were finally at the weekend of our first event. Guests included Veronica Taylor, Chris Sabat and MasakoX and being a first time event we had set our expectations low. Expecting only about 300 attendees we were surprised as we managed 901 attendees over the weekend. This gave us the footing we needed to expand and grow.
SunnyCon 2-4 - The Nomadic Years
Following the success of our first event we spent the following years establishing ourselves as a must attend anime convention in the UK but all was not straight forward. Being in Sunderland was holding the event back being that transport links are bad and trying to promote. We were always known as 'that place next to Newcastle'. That wasn't the only issue either as we would become the last mayjor event at Crowtree before it was closed down. We did move to the Seaburn centre for 2013 and after more complications we moved next door to that the Pullman for 2014 and 2015 but we were unable to hold a venue as they kept getting closed for demolition within a year of us running there. This effectivly became know to SunnyCon staff as the SunnyCon curse.
SunnyCon 4 - Dance Parties & Disasters
This will always be looked upon as the time SunnyCon almost died. There are times in life where everything in the universe aligns to screw you over. This event was it for us. Our marquees we're not as advertised, both our guests had cancelled right at the last second and the weather made it a possibility for us to lose some traders to the north sea. Our light and saving grace Uncle Kage who had made the trip and attended and the spontaneous dance party which kept up morale. Somehow we had made it though but with the Pullman due to close we had nowhere else to hold SunnyCon for the near future. Was the writing finally on the wall?
A Chibi Miracle and the Toon Army
After SunnyCon 4 Tucky stepped down as Chairman opting for a role as event ambassador and Donna took over. By accident when looking into venues for a chibi event to fill the void left by no main SunnyCon we stumbled upon our new home, St James Park. What was initially a one day chibi event turned into a set in place 5 year deal which would see us at St James Park until 2021. Not a bad turnaround from being on the brink of collapse. This gave us security and stability to build our event unlike the previous years. After all what was the chances St James would need knocking down any time soon!?
SunnyCon 5 to Now - Growth
From 2015 we have seen a huge growth in attendance from a coupe of hundred to thousands. At the time of typing SunnyCon 2019 had a footfall of over 10,000 over the weekend. SunnyCon is now a fully established summer convention and our unique community friendly vibe has won us praise accross the world and we aim to continue to innovate and progress this further in our future events. 2020 was shaping up to be our biggest yet but fate had something else in store for us......
2020-2021 - Time Skip
For the first time (and hopefully the last) in our history we came face to face with a global pandemic. Given the risks and threat to attendee safety the desision was made to postpone both 2020 and 2021's events.