It’s officially only one more week until the start of Star Wars Celebration Europe and we’re busily preparing. That is, I am preparing my feet for a lot of standing and shuffling. This is our first SWC and as such we’re going into it as completely novices. Hence why we’re preparing. If this is also your first SWC or first convention, join us in doing the below this week, if you haven’t yet that is.
Make a Schedule
Check out the Events section of the SWCE website. There are a lot of events on, some of them panels, some of them on-going. There are loads of things to do and see and it is best to have some idea of what you will be doing!
For each of the three days there is one big panel on the Celebration Stage which, most likely, everyone will be desperate to attend:
- Friday: 16:00 – 17:00 – Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
- Saturday: 16:00 – 18:00 – Star Wars Rebels Season 3
- Sunday: 15:00 – 16:30 – Future Filmmaker Discussion & Closing Events
Some of these will also be screened in different halls but for those you will also have to have wristbands. Check the Celebration website for more details and read the below section on Queuing !
Registering and Collecting your Badges
Registration will officially open on the 13th of July at 08:00, closing at 17:00, at the West Entrance of the London ExCel Centre. You can pick up all badges then, from single-day badges to the Jedi Master VIP ones. This is also chance to pick up pre-ordered Merchandise.
It will again open on the 14th of July at 08:00 and then stay open until the very end of the convention on the 17th of July. That’s plenty of time to register but don’t forget a lot of people will be lining up to register. Arriving there at 08:00 on your one day at SWCE may mean you spend most of your day queuing !
On an extra note: there will be 100% bag checks and cosplay checks! If your cosplay includes weapons please check Celebration’s guideline on the checks and their Weapons’ Policy so you don’t get them confiscated.
Each day you will probably spend time in queues, to get into panels, to get to toilets, ATMs, potentially even to get outside. Here’s the bad news: queuing for wristbands for the panels on the Celebration Stage and access to the Celebration Experience Exhibition Hall Chutes begins at 20:00 the previous day. So we will, for example, start queuing for the 15th at 20:00 on the 14th.
There will be different queues for different panels, but here is some important info:
- Wristband queues will be for the panels of that day
- The wristbanding will start at 06:00 each morning. Do not start queueing then because people will have been queueing for 10 hours already at that point!
- Think which panel you want to attend most and queue for that one first
- You can collect only 2 wristbands per day (so you can attend only 2 Celebration Stage panels a day)
- You CANNOT pick up a wristband for someone else unless you are a Medical Sticker companion! You have to be present to receive a wristband.
- Different colour wristbands will be handed out for the live-streaming of the Rogue One and Future Filmmakers panels.
All other events are not wristbanded.
Celebration Experience Exhibition Hall Chutes
Once you’ve gone through the queuing for the Celebration Stage you can start queuing for the Celebration Experience Exhibition Hall Chutes. These are basically the queues to be allowed into the Celebration. People will Jedi Master VIP and Medical Sticker tickets have separate queues and will be allowed in at 09:30 and 10:00 respectively. Once they’re inside all other chutes will be led to the Boulevard from the Queue Hall and then Celebration can well and truly start. After that there will be ‘free flow’ which means you can come and go as you please. However, every time you leave the ExCel Centre you have to enter through the West Entrance again and have your bags checked.
What else is happening?
There is a good chance that on the 15th a new trailer for Rogue One will air during ABC’s Secrets of the Force Awakens: A Cinematic Journey. Many were assuming we’d get a new trailer during the Rogue One panel or at some point during that first day so keep an eye on social media!
Also useful, some tips on what to pack for a convention which I picked up from Sam Maggs’ hilarious The Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy:
- Bring plenty of water because queueing makes thirsty and cons can charge a lot for water!
- Bring food! Again, cons can overcharge and you might want to save your money for merchandise. Make sure to stay energized and active by planning meals and bringing snacks.
- Bring cash because boots may not accept cards and there will be queues for ATMs!
- Do you want to live-Tweet or stay in touch with friends throughout the day? Bring chargers for the few moments of down-time! A watch may also be useful in case your phone runs out of battery anyway!
- Bring some entertainment! Yup, that sounds weird but queues can be boring places and you need that phone battery to keep! I’ll be bringing Bloodline and my Kindle to pass the time.
- You’ll be spending your time with a lot of people so depending on how well you know yourself bring aspirin, or hand sanitizer, etc.
There are plenty of more tips in Sam’s book (especially about cosplay etc.) so check it out if you have the time!
So, don’t forget that you will be spending most of your time on your feet, in packed halls with thousands of other people! It will be three days filled with fun, excitement, little sleep and a lot of standing. The things we do for Star Wars!
So check out the Anti-Harassment Policy! I wish we wouldn’t have to say this but please respect everyone’s personal boundaries during Celebration, whether they’re a cosplayer, a celebrity or a fellow-fan! Especially when it comes to cos-players, the fact they have dressed up is no excuse to harass them. Ask for pictures or before touching them/their costume, they worked hard on it and want to enjoy Celebration as well! Basically, be nice!
We will be there for all three days and would love to meet as many of you as possible so give us a shout-out if you’re coming! For those who can’t make it, we’ll be updating the blog regularly with news etc. from the con so do check back, or follow us on Twitter for updates.
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