Less than five years ago I, was sat in a tea shop in Nottingham eating cake and sipping tea with AAUK and Dreadknux, celebrating Sonicâ€™s 15th anniversary, joking about the prospect of a Sonic the Hedgehog convention. Five years on and we are celebrating our biggest and most successful event to date, with over one-thousand attendees passing through the event doors on the day. It fantastic that even though Summer of Sonic is a fan event, it has over the years evolved into something increasingly professional, and that has become growingly involved with SEGA on an official level.
We have also been fortunate across the four events to have comic artists such as Nigel Dobbyn and Nigel Kitching from Sonic the comic and our first international guests Iain Flynn Tracey Yardley this year. Weâ€™ve seen musical performances from the likes of Richard Jacques, TJ Davis, Bentley Jones, Julien-K and Crush 40, and weâ€™ve even had the two big Sonic Team names, Yuji Naka and Takashi along on the day to give you guys an opportunity to meet them face to face.
Each year, our selection of playable Sonic titles grows larger, with opportunities to games that are months away from release. The input from the community has grown rapidly, with many prominent fans, talented with both the brush and the microphone, contributing substantially to making Summer of Sonic something special. You guys keep turning up in your droves in ever more elaborate and unusual costumes, and our prizes become ever more desirable! There is of course the social aspect of the day too, and many of you have met some of your best friends through SoS; some of you have met future husbands and wives. It is fair to say that many of you look forward to SoS more than you do to Christmas!
From an organisational point of view, Summer of Sonic went extremely smoothly this year, by far the least stressful Summer of Sonic to stage manage to date. But of course as this event becomes bigger, the amount of time, effort and organisation becomes greater. Summer of Sonic simply would not take place if it was not for the passion and dedication of the 20+ strong community team who hold the event together â€“ whether they are at the front on stage as the compare, or at the back of the hall as door-safe; each member is vital to the machine and most notably they all work for nothing, giving up their day so you can have a fantastic time. A lot of them also donate substantial amounts of money for extra guests, prizes and events for the day â€“ just so as much as possible can be packed into the day. Each one deserves a huge thank you from us all. I also want to thank all of our guests, some of whom returned for their second or third round of Summer of Sonic, and who also come to talk and perform to you for nothing; they come back every year because they love SoS just as much as we all do.
Summer of Sonic was once again a totally free event for anyone of any age who wanted to attend. We often get asked why we donâ€™t charge for tickets, and the reason is twofold; first off it creates a lot of red tape and secondly, we donâ€™t want a ticket price to be a reason for people not to attend. This is something we hope to continue. Weâ€™d like hope to make more opportunities for you guys who want to donate in the future; some of you did this year, quite generously I might add, and this year and that was a great help…especially considering the quantity of water consumed backstage!
I also want to thank all of you. As always, I was pleased with how well-mannered and courteous you all were to our special guests and to each other, particularly when queuing for games or to meet guests. Even with venue air conditioning running full blast it got very warm very quickly inside the building, but you didnâ€™t let that ruin your fun.
At the moment we donâ€™t know what the future holds for Summer of Sonic; our hope is that as long as you guys keep coming, Summer of Sonic will keep going and SEGA will continue to generously support us. Not just that, but the community prongs now extend all the way around the world, and I was extremely honoured to be able to represent Summer of Sonic this year at the Sonic Boom event in Los Angeles. This event proved just as popular as Summer of Sonic with thanks to the fantastic community team at SEGA of America, and we hope that Sonic Boom will be something that makes a return next year.
I will be stepping down from my duties as stage manager at Summer of Sonic; itâ€™s been a fantastic job and Iâ€™ve loved being able to facilitate some fantastic stage events. Donâ€™t think for one second though that means this is the last youâ€™ll see of me though! I will definitely be at the next Summer of Sonic come hell or high water, but in a more supporting roll.
On this note, I would also like to thank Kevin Eva who will also be stepping down this year, who has been the linchpin in realising the Summer of Sonic dream. I tip my hat to him for the incredible amount of work he has done over the last three years in getting Summer of Sonic off the ground and building strong bridges between SEGA and the community. We wish him all the best in his future endeavours!
I would also like to give our thanks Thank you to SEGA of Europe too, who have continued to support us in all of our endeavours, and I hope this partnership will continue into the future.
On my final note Iâ€™d like to wish Sonic a very happy 20th birthday, and that I hope that our celebrations continue to unite fans, old and new, with their mutual love of a little blue hedgehog.
SUMMER OF SONIC FOREVER!