Even though August is still three months away, the Dragadventures team are already excited to embark on another DragworldUK weekend (the convention will take place from August 18th – 19th at the Olympia in London).
Last year truly was an adventure and a weekend to remember, and even with only one M&G, our weekend was jam-packed with activities, new friends, a lot of fun and plenty of queen interaction.
So, whilst we (try to) sit pretty and wait patiently for the panels, performances, and guests, the announcements have begun…. and ooh girl – our first queen was season nine highlighter queen Farrah Moan! Since then, the announcements have been coming at a happy and steady pace – we’ve had season five winner Jinkx Monsoon, fan favorite Biblegirl666, the glamour toad Ginger Minj and season one winner Bebe Zahara Benet, along with the prospect of meeting some fierce UK Drag queens and kings, of course!
What makes Dragworld so popular is the consideration taken from the customers – so when fans started a petition for Phi Phi O’ Hara to be one of the attending queens, Dragworld listened and announced they will bring the gorgeous queen to the UK, along with the very popular Jujubee, who also was on top of the fans’ wish list.
See, this is the wonderful thing about Dragworld – they focus on the fans wants and needs, they listen to the fans’ countless questions and to our pleas for our fave queens to come.
With Tatianna, who has been announced today, the list of queens attending got even more exciting and we can’t wait to see who else will make their way to London this August.
To shorten your wait, we have prepared a handy little guide for everyone going to DragwoldUK (first timers or not!) by talking to the head of the DragworldUK organization Team, Nathan Stone, who was kind enough to respond to our questions.
DA: DragworldUK 2017 was the first time drag fans from all over the UK and Europe got to live in their very own “Drag World“ for a whole weekend. What were the origins of the event and what made you want to set it up as a convention?
DragWorld: DragWorld, as a convention, came out of many conversations with artists and agents regarding the huge response to tours like Battle of the Seasons and Christmas Queens.
The concept of DragWorld is nothing new, I’m reinventing the wheel in the UK, and that’s fine because what we wanted to do was create the best weekend a UK, or even European, Drag fan could want; and I’d like to think we succeeded for 2017.
There’s certain things we learnt very early on promoting drag shows and the main thing is that you can rely on the community to provide feedback, both positive and negative. Despite the first 10 minutes of dread after reading a piece of negative feedback you take a step back and say “Hey, this is what we wanted, to build a weekend for the community of drag fans, in doing so we have to find out what does and doesn’t work for them so we can make it the best god damn experience for them next time.”
DA: Fans got to experience such a fun weekend full of diverse panels, queens and performances (such as the spectacular Drag Ball on Saturday evening, which certainly was one of our personal highlights!). Can you give us tiny hints on what we can expect this year, maybe some things might even change based on the experiences of Dragworld’s first year? Will there be an event similar to the Drag Ball?
DragWorld: (Laughing) Well, I can’t give too much away as things are always being changed, added or moved around but it is a full weekend schedule this year! The Drag Ball will return but will be on the Friday night based on feedback from both the customers and our guest talent. As you can imagine after a full day of meeting thousands for loving fans, performing an evening show was exhausting!
DA: Many queens who attended have said that their experience was very positive due to the event’s smooth organization. What are the major challenges when setting up a convention of this size and style in regards to organization and manpower? How is DragworldUK different to other events of this category?
DragWorld: I have to thank my team for the fantastic organisation. We promote and run around 2500 shows a year including small clubs right the way up to 45,000 people stadium concerts, so I’m very lucky I can pull expertise from some of the UK’s best including Leanne, our fantastic Head of Production who ran the artist scheduling, load in and out of production and all stage management for the entire weekend.
The main challenge we have, and it’s the same for all conventions, is the meet and greet sale process. Obviously due to time allowances we have to set a limit on how many can enter our meet and greet slots per Artist, so that there is a decent amount of time per customer with the artist but also so the artist can be involved in panels, performances and still have some rest periods during the day. Whilst we fully appreciate the disappointment some customers have about not being able to grab meet and greet tickets, we do have a packed schedule of activities for the convention and this quite often involves artists being present on their booths, meeting fans.
DA:As a team, how it did feel seeing the initial plan come to life and enjoyed by so many? Do you have a personal highlight moment of last year’s convention?
DragWorld: By now we are fairly used to rolling in to a black empty room and turning it in to an experience, whether that is a convention, concert or attraction. However nothing prepares you for the sheer love, vibrancy and positive atmosphere that filled the room during that weekend. We even had a proposal live on stage between a lovely young couple, hosted by Alaska! That’s something none of us will forget any time soon!
DA: We loved seeing fans who really put their heart and soul into creating their costumes either following the “toy box” theme or doing amazing cosplays of queens. We also have to say that our team had a lot of fun playing around with the toys and props provided at the photo booth. What was the thought process for creating the theme and do you already have a theme in mind for this year?
DragWorld: The Theme came from meetings regarding how we dress the room and add in photo elements, such as our huge D-R-A-G letters.
We actually learnt pretty quick that not everyone enjoyed the theme as they felt it impacted on them doing their brand or aesthetic of drag. Again, feedback is key, so we are looking in to themeing elements, maybe after parties so everyone can show off their drag throughout the weekend and not be confined to one theme!
DA: We’ve already made it pretty clear to our readers that we are #teamtrixie and that we love Adore Delano (we can’t wait to see her during her UK tour!). But we were wondering – are there any particular queens that you personally (and the whole Dragworld team) would love to bring to the UK for the convention?
DragWorld: I can’t give anything away on our line-up I’m afraid but all I can say is I’m incredibly happy and still have a few to confirm!
I guess the most exciting announcement for me so far was being able to bring Farrah Moan to DragWorld. Farrah’s a personal favourite from both the show and my Myspace days!
DA: Before we finish the interview, do you have any “last words“ for the fans looking forward to attending DragworldUK this year? What can first timers expect from their weekend at the convention?
DragWorld: Sure! I’m incredibly excited to finish announcing our line-up and events and thank you all for your support! We’ve had a fantastic year with the convention, Not Today Satan and Christmas Queens, and we are so excited for the next six months with the Adore Full band tour, Courtney Act’s Under the Covers and Blame It On Bianca Del Rio taking us right up to the convention in August. I hope I see you all there and if you see a mildly stressed out guy, dressed in all black usually wearing a snapback, grab me and say hello!
As always, thank you for your support!