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Interview: Events for Gamers Chats With the HavenCon Team

In our previous article on HavenCon, we went through how great the event turned out to be, exceeding our expectations on what makes an all-inclusive conference welcoming and fun. Here’s our additional interview with Shane Brown from the event!

Events For Gamers: Why create an event like HavenCon, and for who is it meant for?

Shane: HavenCon is meant to be a safe space for the LGBT geek and gaming community here in Texas and surrounding areas. I felt it was important to be able to bring together these large and diverse communities in a setting where we are able to be ourselves allowing us to communicate openly about the things we are passionate about with those that support us. It also lends itself to those who may be more interested in finding out what our thoughts and opinions are on a wide range of topics while opening the door for constructive conversation with industry leaders and other influencers in the various genres represented.

E4G: Why did you choose the name ‘HavenCon’, and what’s the general story behind your team?

Shane: HavenCon is something that evolved over time. The name is one I have used for various “business” endeavors over the years. The heart of “Haven” has always been that of a safe space. Though it has taken many forms. The very original concept was a safe space for kids in a small town in South Dakota (long long story), but the heat of it has always been safety and a place to be one’s self.

Planning a convention came to light in more recent years, and I began that process with another person a couple of years ago. But, due to differences in ideology and how something like this should be done, we parted ways. I picked up the idea again last year after deciding I needed to do something more meaningful with my own life and because I loved seeing the various geekdoms come together on a smaller scale with the Gay Austin Geeks, I took that plunge. Very happy for doing that, I must say.

E4G: 2015 was the inaugural year for HavenCon. Was it the success you hoped for?

Shane: It was above and beyond my wildest expectations. Not just in attendance but in the sense of community that was there. I thought “Hey, this will be fun”…but it actually touched people’s lives on a level I was not expecting. And everyone was so generous in expressing that, that it almost seemed surreal to me. I couldn’t have been happier with this even if I tried.

E4G: What does it mean for LGBT folk to attend an event like HavenCon?

Shane: I can’t speak directly for them, but from the feedback I have received, it has meant the world. They met new friends, discovered new fandoms, and generally had a great time. There was no pressure, no politics (ish), and people could just be themselves! It was amazing to see from my perspective and I can’t even count the amazing amount of thanks I have received since then. Truly an amazing community.

E4G: Activities like the Cosplay contest gave the event a big boost in the fun factor. What did you see as the success of the event in this regard?

Shane: All of it! The tournaments seemed to go well in the gaming area. The tabletop demos looking like a big hit. The cosplay contest was pretty phenomenal for a first year and little to no planning on both sides. I think people were just happy to be there in general and these things sort of perked it up a bit. It’s something we want to carry on and improve upon for next year for sure.

E4G: We were surprised at the amount of vendors in the main hall for an inaugural event. What were some of the themes you intended to promote?

Shane: My big focus was on having at least *some* representation of each fandom. Whether it be comics, games, toys, movies, etc. I tried hard to select those that represented themselves well in those areas, and I was not disappointed. The response from the vendors was phenomenal, and just about all of them want to come back next year!

E4G: What can attendees look forward to next year that will improve upon the already success of 2015?

Shane: We’ll have more time and a better budget (I hope lol) to really hash out the ins and outs of what we did this year to make it better. The feedback we have gotten has been amazing positive with just the right amount of “this could have been a little different” that I can’t wait to incorporate it all into next year. That main stage will not be in the same space HAHA! But all in all, we just want to work out the minor issues we had this year and focus on expanding each area represented this year a little more. I personally have so many ideas for next year I can’t wait to get started!

E4G: If someone cannot attend, what online groups and hangouts would you recommend they reach out to for support and general gaymer interest?

Shane: Oh wow! I organize the Gay Austin Geeks (find them on facebook). Houston Gaymers made a showing along with the Phoenix Gaymers. I know most major cities have a geek or Gaymer group, so I highly recommend you seek them out.

E4G: Anything else you would like to share about HavenCon and what’s coming up for the 2016 event?

Shane: I loved the truly community feel of this event. And that is exactly what I was going for. I want to carry that on to next year while still allowing for some growth. So, I will be doing my best to balance growth while maintaining that closeness we all felt this year. Again, so many ideas! More panels and presentations, better timing of such. MORE GAMING! Just so many wonderful things we can do from here.

E4G: Thanks for letting Events for Gamers @MathewAnderson attend as guests for the full experience of HavenCon!

Shane: No, thank YOU! You have been an amazing supporter and we couldn’t be happier to work with you. Here’s to 2016!

You can also read our complete article on the event here.


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