With the 33rd Queen Convention just around the corner, we thought we’d share our report from last year’s convention!
There is not much that can be said about our conventions that hasn’t already been said but it is absolutely brilliant! There really is no other weekend like it. For some reason this years, where we returned to Mablethorpe, had a buzzing atmosphere from start to finish! It’s the place to be for any Queen fan.
Queen music greeted arrivals on site outside reception. Let the party begin. The first day is where we come together and greet our friends like long lost family members. The relatively easy check in system helps conventioneers make way to the newly renovated bar as fast as possible! Everyone congregates here, even the weekend guests. Many chatted to Tony Vincent who you could tell was thrilled to attend.
The main activities take place in the ‘Emerald Bar’! There was an “Ice Breakers” meeting and Wayne Plant’s karaoke show was underway immediately to greet people to the event. This year we had our own ‘M.C.’ Martin Josephson whom whipped the crowd up and introduced Fan Club guru Jacky Smith at the Official Welcome. The roared greeting could be heard down the road in Skegness! Brian May’s welcome video was shown on the big screen to more loud applause! Then Jim Jenkins read out a message from Brian congratulating Jacky achieving being at the helm of the Fan Club for 35 years.
Each night we have live music on the main stage and is a major feature of the weekend. Opening night saw Peter Straker, Mike Moran and Jo Burt playing a killer set. Peter sang his heart out on Queen songs and his own. Absolutely amazing!
We also had the wonderful Jamie Moses and The Falcons joined by the extremely talented Tony Vincent who made a guest appearance on songs. Phenomenal!
The final evening we made another welcome return to Flash Harry and they gave a fantastic show and I think the band enjoyed it as much as the fans watching!
We had an impromptu performance Sunday afternoon, a real musical treat provided by Jim Stevenson and Paul Morely of The Deputies, who showcased an acoustic set that was brilliant and well received.
‘Queen Live In Houston 1977’ and ‘We Will Rock You The Musical’ were shown on the big screen and they looked and sounded incredible! Throughout the weekend many videos are shown on the screen and during the nightly Queen disco which ends the evening entertainment. The dance floor is full as the fans sing along and the show of friendship is evident to one and all.
The Market Place had its usual memorabilia available and was kindly held in the sites own ballroom. Also in there was an arts and crafts competition. We were lucky to have the ‘Princes Of The Universe’ photo exhibition on display too. Denis O’Regan gave a presentation about the exhibition. We had our own bingo session as well!
Each year we have a variety of quizzes. One of the best is the non Queen quiz ‘The Team 4 Challenge Quiz’ which is always fun. We premiered a couple of new Queen quizzes this year such as ‘True or False’, ‘Masterstroke’ guessing how much certain memorabilia was and one of the highlight of the weekend was our Queen take on ‘The Chase’. Nobody knew who the “Chasers” were as Mark Cotterill, Irene Taylor, Dave Patience and Jim Stevenson took to the floor. A big surprise for the finalists was when Jim Jenkins was revealed as the final chaser. Jacky presented signed certificates to “The Chasers”. Well done to everyone who took part. Very enjoyable to watch! Huge thank you must go to Brett Linforth for questions and compering also to Andy Bacon and Doug Bogie for presentation and visuals. It’s always good to take part in these events and you never know you could win a prize!
A big highlight of each convention over the past few years are the guests who kindly take time out of their busy lives to come along and took about their experiences of life in the Queen World! This year Tony Vincent was the weekends first interview. He explained how he achieved the stage musical job. Belinda Gillet recalled her work on Who Wants To Live Forever single. Greg Brooks, Queen Archivist played exclusive raw sessions tracks. The whole room quietened for Freddie’s version of All Dead All Dead. A surprise interview was with Jacky Smith and Jim Jenkins who both told stories of their time with Queen which caused lots of laughter as memories were recollected. Bernie Fernandez-Hart did a terrific job interviewing both interviewees. Cheers Bernie. A surprise appearance by John Blunt from Australia pleased many.
We held our charity auction and had the fancy dress competition. The raffle for Fan Club and MPT took place with many prizes on offer. Mega thanks to Linda and Kevin Maher for endlessly selling tickets all weekend. There was the usual prize presentation ceremony to crown all the winners. Champions one and all. A couple of special surprise presentations also took place. Jacky presented a disc to Cheryl Duke of Arena and both Brian and Roger had written messages to her. She was thrilled to bits. Another presentation was made to MPT charity worker Maureen Barclay and again hand written messages from Brian and Roger. She was elated with her disc too.
Val’s Stall opened to sell a variety of merchandise including the specially made convention tee shirt featuring “Frank” the News Of The World robot! A huge thank you to Amey Tunney and Sarah Sherlock who were kept busy all weekend.
All this will be repeated on 5-8 October 2018 when we once again return to Mablethorpe. Who’s joining us? We can’t wait for No.34 where we will celebrate the 40th anniversary of Jazz. The Fancy Dress Theme will be ‘All That Jazz’ – Gangsters, molls, flappers, anything 20s inspired. Take inspiration from the lyrics off the songs on Jazz album. Let’s make next convention fancy dress the best! See you there!
Final thanks to all the Arena staff who work so hard over the weekend. To Martin Josephson for trying something new. To our DJS Wayne Plant, Karel and Chris Ibbs and to the bands and guests. The biggest thanks goes to the fans who come along for the time of their lives and are so well behaved. Roll on the next one!
Big thanks to Martin Wackenier for the fantastic pictures from the convention!.