Author Topic: Touhoufest 2023 Experiences and Post-con Chattage!  (Read 5947 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

williewillus

  • Chinese American, programmer, danmaku nerd
    • Twitch
    • YouTube
    • williewillus
  • Gender: Male
Touhoufest 2023 Experiences and Post-con Chattage!
« on: May 01, 2023, 04:14:49 PM »
Hey everyone!

Touhoufest 2023, the inaugural Touhoufest, just ran this past weekend from April 29-30. I just wanted to make this thread for anyone interested in sharing their experiences.

I've mentioned this to people personally, but forums are so much better than Discord at historical archiving/capturing. You can search the old forums and see posts going back to 2009! While anything you post in the "highlights" channel on the Touhoufest Discord is not likely going to be seen or found by anyone after a year or two.

Anyways, post away! I'm writing up my own experiences reply as you're reading this.

Vance_croowa_08

  • The entity living in your walls
  • Yo! How u doin' ?
    • vance_croowa08
  • Gender: Male
Re: Touhoufest 2023 Experiences and Post-con Chattage!
« Reply #1 on: May 01, 2023, 04:20:56 PM »
Finally this board gets a new topic

Anyway i couldn't take part in it bcuz i don't live in america and it would be very nice to hear what people did there :cirnotan:
"Your signature cannot span more than 5 lines"

Literally 1984

williewillus

  • Chinese American, programmer, danmaku nerd
    • Twitch
    • YouTube
    • williewillus
  • Gender: Male
Re: Touhoufest 2023 Experiences and Post-con Chattage!
« Reply #2 on: May 01, 2023, 04:48:09 PM »
    For me, Touhoufest 2023 exceeded all of my expectations by quite a bit.
    I'll start with some constructive criticism so I can end with the "what I was up to", positive, and hype stuff.

Constructive Feedback
I think the staff is planning to send out a feedback form, so I'll be sure to log all of these there, but posting it publicly just so people 10 years from now can read how the first Touhoufest went!

Logistics and Venue
  • The badge lines on Day 1 were super long, lasting from 9a-12p. People who didn't go to the pre-reg on Day 0 (Friday April 28) were partially hosed since they had to wait a pretty long time to even get in. Part of this is that badge pickup involved printing a nametag on-the-spot to stick on the badge for every single person. Ideally, badges should be pre-made before the event even starts, as I'd imagine most people already bought a ticket online. That would leave the slow printing process only for people buying tickets on the spot.
  • The schedule printed on the program was an ultra blurry jank screenshot of the Google Sheet that held the schedule, and was basically useless. I know that the program was probably printed on short notice, but a high quality preprint + a link to the web version would be better.
  • Along with that, using Google Sheets and forcing people to plan everything out themselves is kind of a pain. I know some bigger cons get specialized apps and stuff to do scheduling of events, but Touhoufest is likely not big enough to require that. A good intermediate option is to actually make a Google Calendar with all the events, then sending the public share link of that calendar around. This allows schedule changes to be made in one place and immediately propagated to everyone, and also lets people click "copy to my calendar" to save events they want to attend.
  • The panel room was ultra, ultra tiny. It was basically half of a portable classroom. It was a full room with the divider closed to split it in half. While I believe but can't confirm that the other half was used as admin/staff break room (based on the fact I saw Mikotan enter with some food in hand), it would be nice in the future if the staff break room was moved elsewhere and panels got to use the full size of the room. The fumo panel was PACKED to an unhealthy degree.
  • On the topic of panels, better equipment would be nice. The screen was tiny, and the projector was 1024x768 VGA just like my middle school days. There was also no sound system, which for people with weaker laptop speakers might have been a problem.
  • There was nominally a mask requirement, but I did not see it enforced a single time, and most went without masks. It was strange to see this, and I'd rather it either be removed completely or enforced strictly. At Sakuracon this year, even though the con was massive, they strictly enforced the mask policy. I know that people will complain regardless of which choice is chosen, but hanging ambiguously in the middle sounds worse.
  • I'm not sure what the venue wifi situation was, but we should try to get wifi and publicize the details more widely.
  • Publicizing the tournament matches, especially the finals, more prominently in the gaming hall would have been more hype. Maybe even get a commentator? I would have loved to watch all the final matches on the big screen, but the PoFV finals were just a bunch of us huddling around the two players.
  • R18 content. The outdoor booth selling R18, Kusoya, had a pretty good policy of sealing and hiding things and checking ID of all browsers. However, one artist in the artist's alley had quite borderline art + pillowcases and they were prominently hung up without masking/sealing/warning. I understand the importance of R18 to fanworks but it would be nice if those were covered, since there were kids at the event. Similarly, there were some questionable stickers on the DDR machine in the game hall.
  • The sound system failures during TAMusic's performance were unfortunate, and while he made the best of it (see the positive section below), we probably should have run an extensive sound check for him beforehand.

Content
  • I believe there was an at-least-25% Touhou content policy for artists. I would like to see this raised to 50%. I am so touch-starved of Touhou merch due to their absence at large cons that I think there's totally a market fit here for the artists, and it was a mild disappointment to see several booths only have a quarter Touhou or less.
  • On a similar note, the outdoor vendors should have a Touhou content policy. This was generally good, but the two booths in the corner next to the game hall had essentially zero Touhou content. I was pleased to see almost no one visit them as well (as bad as that sounds). If I want generic figures and merch for whatever popular anime of the year is, I would just go to Sakuracon or Anime Expo. Touhou is already such a small community, I think it would benefit a lot by requiring merch be based on the Touhou Project. Would be good for the vendors too. As I mentioned, I bought so much stuff this trip because of how starved I am for Touhou merch.
  • More than 2 food trucks would have been nice. I heard some sketchy stories on Discord about the food being bad at one of the trucks, but can't corroborate. My Day 1 lunch was expensive and basic, but okay.

That about sums up all the constructive feedback I have. I'll split my positive/hype stuff/pics into the next post!

Edit 1: Add a point about the schedule[/list]
« Last Edit: May 01, 2023, 04:57:23 PM by williewillus »

williewillus

  • Chinese American, programmer, danmaku nerd
    • Twitch
    • YouTube
    • williewillus
  • Gender: Male
Re: Touhoufest 2023 Experiences and Post-con Chattage!
« Reply #3 on: May 01, 2023, 06:31:24 PM »
Now for some pic dumps and stories!

Friday, April 28 (Day 0)
I arrived on the evening of Friday, Day 0, and booked it over to the venue to pick up my badge. There was basically no line to do badge pickup, and I immediately hit it up with a few people (shout out to Breeb and Yumeblicky). We decided to get dinner together, but the party inflated to around 16 people. The restaurant we tried going to, Frida's, had an exorbitant charge for large parties as well as a minimum charge per person, so we bit the awkwardness and bailed. A smaller set of us headed in to the Del Amo mall and had Shake Shack instead. After that, we all retired to our rooms to prep for the busy weekend ahead.

Saturday, April 29 (Day 1)
Woke up bright and early to get ready. I actually saw TAMusic in the breakfast room for my hotel (Best Western Avita), but didn't say hi so as to not disturb his the morning. I headed to the venue, where I saw the fumo car:

red car with various fumos on top of and inside it

An impromptu fumo meetup also began near the Yuyuko inflatable fumo at the front:

bench filled with fumos next to large inflated Yuyuko fumo

We headed inside after some waiting, here's how the central plaza looked when we first went in:

outdoor plaza and stage with empty chairs and an inflated Marisa fumo

Opening ceremony commenced, with all the staff members and guests making an appearance on stage. I took several pics of those that cosplayed so I'll link them instead of showing them inline to save some vertical space:


I met this really cute pair of Hifuu cosplayers in the artist's alley, which was modest in size. Think your typical ballet dance studio (it even had a mirror in front, so I think this really was a dance room lol):

Two girls cosplaying as Maribel Hearn and Renko Usami

One of the outdoor booths had this really really cool pair of wall scrolls in the style of Chinese "door gods". I was thinking about getting them then someone else bought them then, and the vendor only had one pair (whyyyyy):

Two white wall scrolls of Reimu Hakurei and Sanae Kochiya drawn in the style of Chinese door gods

Bought some CD's from TAM:
Picture of me holding CDs and TAM

Top-effort Kaguya cosplayer complete with Jewelled Branch:
Picture of me and a Kaguya cosplayer

One of my online acquaintances I had met through my translation work brought real PC-98 hardware for people to play on in the gaming hall. Here's my dolphin-version-of-flat-stanley called Willie with it:
Picture of willie the dolphin and a real PC98 machine playing Touhou

My panel was Saturday afternoon, about playing the danmaku games. I was pleased to see a full room (even though the room was tiny af), and even received some interesting discussion questions at the end! My presentation performance itself wasn't too great because of Google Slides being jank, but oh well. If you want more info about my panel, see https://www.vincent-lee.net/touhoufest2023/

For dinner, I went out with the same crew from the previous day. This time we just settled for Chipotle instead of fancy Frida's :P

After dinner, we milled around Barnes and Noble for a bit, then returned to the venue for Odyssey Eurobeat's performance. It was really hype, even though not the usual sort of Touhou fan-music I listen to. I took a break in the middle for the Game Hall, hoping to return for the end, but it finished seemingly 15 minutes early so I missed it :/ Probably read the schedule wrong. No pics here, but I'm sure there'll be lots of videos on online of the performance!

After that, we played UNO for a bit in the game hall, then headed back to our rooms.

Sunday, April 30 (Day 2)
The big Yuyuko fumo was moved indoors onto the stage due to wind:

Picture of both the Yuyuko and Marisa inflatable fumos on the main stage

Also there was this very extra but very cool Reimu car in the lot:

Picture of a red car with fancy Reimu art on the sides

The highlight of the day was definitely TAMusic's concert. As I mentioned earlier, there were lots of sound issues plaguing the first half of the performance, but TAM made the most of it by interacting with the audience and taking requests. He didn't seem to let it get to him at all.
Eventually, there was a moment where he invited several audience members with their instruments with them onto stage to play with him, eventually culminating in this epic picture of TAM, Hikaru, the three audience members, a couple staff members, and the other musician guests:

(left to right: staff, audience, Hikaru, TAM, staff Mikotan, audience, audience, Lyrica Live, Odyssey)


The other very hype part was the closing ceremony, which was just a brief 10 minute last hurrah, ending with an announcement of the next Touhoufest, and a cover of Bad Apple from one of the staff. I recorded it in full and you can watch it on my YouTube.

I made quickly for the airport after that to fly home. After laying out all the merch I got, it was more than I had expected. As I mentioned earlier, all us Touhou fans are so starved of merch and content that if it's Touhou and it's passable we'll probably get it. So please artists, make and bring more Touhou!

Picture of lots of Touhou spread out on a carpet floor

This got long so I'll leave the closing thoughts/hype to yet another reply.

Vance_croowa_08

  • The entity living in your walls
  • Yo! How u doin' ?
    • vance_croowa08
  • Gender: Male
Re: Touhoufest 2023 Experiences and Post-con Chattage!
« Reply #4 on: May 01, 2023, 06:33:19 PM »
Damn, this looks so cool!
"Your signature cannot span more than 5 lines"

Literally 1984

williewillus

  • Chinese American, programmer, danmaku nerd
    • Twitch
    • YouTube
    • williewillus
  • Gender: Male
Re: Touhoufest 2023 Experiences and Post-con Chattage!
« Reply #5 on: May 01, 2023, 06:46:01 PM »
Final closing thoughts and hype.

For a first year convention, this event exceeded all my expectations. I remember being super on the fence in February about whether I even wanted to go, spending hundreds of dollars on flight and hotel for a niche series. I didn't want to show up to a dead event. If you had told me in February this was how it would go, I would have decided to go immediately. This is exciting because I'm sure there were others also on the fence that ended up not going, so please tell all your friends that didn't go how great it was so they come next year!

Touhou is no longer at its viral peak that it held around 2008-2012-ish. While that might be sad for some, it results in an atmosphere where every Touhou fan you meet is quite passionate about the series, instead of being a "T-shirt fan" that's just following whatever is popular. I really felt that at Touhoufest, where despite a small modest gathering of ~700 people, you could bounce energy from being a fan off of everyone who put out the time, money, and energy just to be at a place with other Touhou fans.

Besides the complaints I voiced about the panel room above, I think the venue was nice and should serve as a nice place for the con for the next couple years. There were quite a few rooms that weren't utilized so I think we have ample room to grow in this space.

Overall, I feel really optimistic about the future of Touhoufest. I'm sure there will be growing pains as it expands, but it was incredible to take part in the first event and see something new be born. I hope to attend as often as I'm able to. Next year is probably a yes from me, so I hope to see you all there!

Now, I hope others will reply with their experiences too! Keep old-style forums alive!