By Ayesha DeRaville
Last year SPACE ALIENS, BAD MOTHERS AND GUNS! had the fortune of attending Midgard 2018, Iceland’s first all-inclusive event. Check out Issue number two of Space Aliens, Bad Mothers and Guns!: The Magazine for our entire story on the event. We are excited to announce that we will be attending Midgard 2019 and were pleased to be able to interview this year’s new Exhibitor Manager, Tómas Árnason who goes by Tommi, to get all of the deets on this year’s event.
We are very pleased for the introduction as you being the new Exhibitor Manager for Midgard 2019. Have you managed other events like Midgard or is this your first convention?
Thank you. I’m really excited to be part of the Midgard staff this year. I have managed other events through my involvement with the 501st Legion Star Wars organization, though none at the same scale as Midgard. That includes visits to the local children’s hospital, blood drives and other charitable events. Midgard 2019 is the first time I’m managing an event of that size and I am very honored and excited to be part of the great team that is needed to make Midgard come together.
Last year was Midgard's first event, to include it being Iceland's first all-inclusive event of its kind and it was very successful. Will there be any changes to this year's event that you would like convention goers to know about?
Last year was truly amazing and it did show us that there is room to go bigger. This year we will do exactly that.
Our exhibitor area has tripled in size, the gaming area is doubled.
The main panel room is a separate space this year, which is bigger, and in addition we have space for round tables and smaller panels.
We have a grass area for children’s activities, display fights, quidditch matches, and more.
We are welcoming more people and a broader fanbase to enjoy the convention.
There were quite of few international attendees that we met last year to include Sweden, Scotland, Denmark and the United States. Do you anticipate that there will be a larger turn out this year?
We were very happy with our international attendees last year and look forward to welcoming them back again.
There have already been some inquiries and ticket sales from people abroad so we are hopeful that more international attendees will be able to visit the convention.
Additionally, Icelandair is about to (or perhaps has when this is published) announce combination packages for a flight including Midgard tickets.
Interestingly enough we noticed many gamers attending in 2018. The exhibitor next to us sold out of his games within a few hours. Is gaming (board/card games) more prevalent than comics here in Iceland?
At the moment games, in any form really, are more common and better known in Iceland.
The comics are getting more popular though. For example, with the release of Batman now in Icelandic, by one of our founders, Nexus, we are starting to see more demand for comics and comic related items.
With events like Midgard we are able to introduce all these fandoms and give people the chance to experience the things that have not gained a proper foothold in Iceland yet.
What sets Midgard apart from any other international convention?
We think all conventions are great and have their own unique touch.
For us the main goal is to be all-inclusive. Both with regards to diversity of people, as well as including all fandoms. We really want everyone and anyone to feel welcome, and safe, and to have a home for their fandom.
Tell us about the training provided to the staff and volunteers for Midgard. Last year the staff and volunteers were extremely helpful and no question was left unanswered.
All volunteers go through orientation at the venue before the event, where we go through the layout, things that could occur, how to handle difficult situations etc.
In addition to that, several of our staff are experienced in hosting events, community management, customer support, etc. So help is always only a radio call away if needed.
It's our understanding that Midgard is one of the nine worlds in Norse cosmology. Of the nine options, what special reason, if there is for choosing Midgard as opposed to Asgard for example?
Yes that is correct. According to the mythology, Midgard is located between Niflheim – the land of ice, and Muspelheim – the land of fire. For us that sounded like the perfect name for an event held in Iceland, the land of fire and ice.
How did the idea for an all-inclusive event come about?
There has basically always been a demand for this kind of event in Iceland. Nexus, the comic book store, and one of our founders, regularly had people walk in and ask if they would do an event. Meanwhile two of our staff members had already talked about wanting to create such an event in Iceland before. When one of them (Regina) started working for Nexus, and they also talked about doing an event, the puzzle pieces all came together, and we took it from there.
Events like this are very new in Iceland and we wanted everyone to be included.
Being all-inclusive gives us the chance to show and share every genre of the amazing artists, authors, video game makers and so many more.
We love to celebrate diversity and want Midgard to be the place where anyone can share their passion.
Is there any other information about this year's event that you would like our reader to know about? What are some of the highlights of this year's event?
We like to keep things as a bit of a surprise, but can share a few details
By popular demand, there will be a party this year.
Midgard starts on Friday the 13th, so of course we could not resist also planning a masquerade, which will include a special themed activity during the evening.
Children’s activities! Midgard was very popular with the children attending, and this year we want to give them even more to do. The super popular miniature painting lessons are expanding for more space, we have an entire section of the hall set apart for activities from the Vikings, the quidditch team, the 501st legion, multiple more activities and fun that we have planned ourselves, such as a scavenger hunt, etc.
The short version is, we are trying to make everything be bigger and better.
We are very much looking forward to attending Midgard 2019 and we hope that you add this event to your bucket list. We’d like to thank Tommi and the Midgard team for giving us their time, especially because we realize how challenging it is to put together such an amazing event! See you in September!