Summer of Sonic is an action-packed, UK-based fan convention dedicated to SEGA’s unmistakable blue mascot, Sonic the Hedgehog! Since 2008 the show has become the Super Bowl of the global Sonic community, providing a space for like-minded fans to meet and make friends - against an electric backdrop of live music, art competitions, demos of the latest Sonic games and meet and greets with the creators of Sonic in person!
Originally created in 2006 by Svend Joscelyne (founder of The Sonic Stadium fan website) as an online-only celebration of the blue blur, Summer of Sonic later transformed into a live show in London, UK, made by the fans for the fans. The convention is supported by SEGA and recognised as an official event, often seen as the European counterpart of SEGA-produced shows held in North America and Japan.
To date there have been six Summer of Sonic conventions, with each event growing in size and strength as they gained worldwide popularity. The most recent show attracted in excess of one thousand attendees, with tickets selling out in a matter of seconds! Special guests have included:
- Sonic the Comic (UK) artists Nigel Dobbyn, Nigel Kitching and Ferran Rodriguez
- Archie Comic artists Ian Flynn and Tracey Yardley!
- Game composers Richard Jacques and Jun Senoue
- Bands and artists such as Crush 40 (Jun Senoue and Johnny Gioeli), Julien-K, TJ Davis, and Bentley Jones
- Developers from Sumo Digital (Steve Lycett, Travis Ryan) and Sonic Team (Kazuyuki Hoshino)
- Sonic Team producer and leader Takashi Iizuka and original Sonic the Hedgehog programmer Yuji Naka
The Summer of Sonic has truly become a landmark event, recognised by the Guinness World Records as the First Official Fan Event For A Game Character.
After a 2 year hiatus, we think it is about time Summer of Sonic made a return in 2016…and what better year to make a comeback than Sonic the Hedgehog’s 25th anniversary? Summer of Sonic will once again commemorate and celebrate the entirety of the Sonic the Hedgehog universe, games to gear, cartoons to comics. Amongst the day’s events, we plan to bring you all the activities that have made Summer of Sonic so great and more, including:
- Meet & Greet with Special Guests: Over six Summer of Sonic events, we have given attendees the opportunity to meet their idols who have helped shape the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise. We look forward to announcing the attendance of our special guests in the near future, including some first-time guests to Summer of Sonic!
- Competitions: We have always been impressed with the artistic talents and the incredible gaming ability of our attendees! Bring your skills along on the day and enter the gaming, art and cosplay contests, to win some incredible prizes!
- Q&A Sessions: Our special guests will give talks about some of their fond memories working on the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise, as well as answering the questions you have always wanted to ask!
- Fan Showcases: As in previous years, Summer of Sonic has been a platform to showcase the incredible range of talent in the community. Expect the likes of fan animations and performances throughout the day.
But of course, Summer of Sonic isn’t just about this, so we’ve made sure we have a venue lined up with plenty of space for attendees to meet, socialise and relax!
Summer of Sonic 2016 will take place at the ILEC Conference Centre in Earls Court, London, on the 6th of August, 2016. The conference centre is one of the largest in West London, and offers a huge 1500 square metre space; ideal to hold an event catering for more than 1000 eager Sonic the hedgehog fanatics!
Not only is the venue based in an excellent location in London and only a 10 minute walk from 2 Underground stations and an overground station, it is close to a large number of hotels, and is also attached to the Ibis Hotel Earls Court, which can provide accommodation to those who wish to stay close to the convention over the weekend.
As with previous years, we have once again chosen the UK’s capital city in order to hold Summer of Sonic. London has fantastic connections to all parts of the county by road, rail and air, and is served by three international airports to which fans from abroad can travel via. For those planning a vacation or a weekend around Summer of Sonic, London has an incredible array of world renowned tourist attractions to keep you busy before and after the convention!
“Like many Sonic fans out there, I grew up idolising the blue blur as a kid growing up in the 1990s. He was many things to many kids back then; an incredible video game hero, a cartoon character, a comic book protagonist and the star of many storybooks. In fact, it was hard to go anywhere without seeing Sonic’s face on mugs, lunchboxes, food packets and shopping malls - he was a phenomenon.
So it always surprised me that even in the heady days of Sonic Mania, there wasn’t any kind of formal event that invited fans to experience the best of the franchise under one roof, and to make new friends while doing so. In 2008, I felt like the setting was right to try and make an event that did just that.
Summer of Sonic was the result of a bunch of Sonic-mad friends coming together to make an event that they wanted to see. I think the people who come to the convention understand that ‘by the fans for the fans’ mantra, and feel like they too are a big part of the show because of it.
We haven’t been able to organise a Summer of Sonic convention for some time, but I’m really looking forward to making a 2016 show a reality. There is nothing quite like seeing a room full of fellow Sonic fans enjoying themselves, making friends, meeting their heroes and having the time of their life. Summer of Sonic is a very special event, and with your help we can make Sonic’s 25th Anniversary one we’ll never forget.”
“I have fond memories of the first time I picked up a SEGA Megadrive controller and plugging in the Sonic the Hedgehog cartridge; from that moment on, like many others, I was hooked! What I’ve come to love so much about the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise and fandom is its diversity, and how so many have all been drawn in by different elements, from the games and the music, to the comics and the TV shows.
I was fortunate enough to be involved in the very first Summer of Sonic and the creation of Summer of Sonic convention back in 2008, with the event going from strength to strength each year. It was a privilege to head the co-organisation of Summer of Sonic 2013, and to work along side the dedicated group of fans and SEGA to deliver an incredible event. We’ve taken a break from Summer of Sonic over the past few years, down to other obligations and to recharge our batteries, but we feel 2016 is the perfect year to bring this day that is special to so many back to life.
My primary goal with Summer of Sonic 2016 is no different to what it has been in previous years; to create an event even bigger and better than the last, packed end-to-end with more to see and do than ever before. I am hugely excited about this year’s Summer of Sonic convention, because we hope to be able to accomplish some things we have been unable to in previous years. Additionally, we have been talking to some potential guests who have never before attended Summer of Sonic. All in all, 2016 is definitely shaping up to be the biggest and best event yet!”
The organisation and funding of a convention the size of Summer of Sonic is an expensive business! We want Summer of Sonic 2016 to be the biggest and best event we have ever held, and for that, we need your help! 100% of all funding raised will be put towards the event - the more we raise, the more fantastic a convention we can create! No funds raised will go towards paying any of Summer of Sonic organisers or staff a wage as they are all volunteers, because like you, they share a passion for the event!
We are extremely grateful to SEGA, who once again are supporting the event and covering our greatest single expense of venue hire, meaning we can put more of the funds raised to even greater attractions Our costs of the day will involve:
- Equipment costs: We’ll need to hire items such as projectors and screens, a PA system and furniture for the venue, in order to host the various activities we have planned for the day. These costs also cover other items such as stationary for those who want to draw, and things like hall decorations
- Transport and logistics: We will have a lot of big equipment like game pods to allow you guys the opportunity to pay games old and new! To get these to the venue, we will need the hire of some big vehicles to transport it all to the venue
- Technicians and security: Another vital element of Summer of Sonic is having those in the know-how maintaining our tech and keeping our event safe!
- Guest expenses: Our special guests are giving up their time to come to our event, and so we wish to be able cover their travel, accommodation and subsistence costs. Reaching our goal will enable us to cover these for several of our planned special guests. The more funds we raise, the more guests we can invite!
- Goodie bags: We love our merchandise, and we are sure you love it too! We want to be able to provide guests attending with lots of little things to take away as a memento of the day
- Prizes: We have had some incredible prizes to give out for contests at Summer of Sonic, and this year we want them to be even more spectacular!
Through Kickstarter, of course! The event will be purely invitation only, exclusively to those generous enough to pledge to our Kickstarter cause! We aren’t just offering invitations to the event however; we have a whole host of awesome bonuses to those who donate very generously; check them out!
- Event invitations: We want you guys to be part of this fantastic day! Many of our backer rewards include an invite to join us on the 6th of August; the only way to attend Summer of Sonic 2016 is to help us make it happen!
- Family packages: We pride ourselves in that Summer of Sonic has always been a fun day out for the whole family, and so we have some special invitation packages that we have put together especially!
- Wristbands: A super-awesome Summer of Sonic wrist band for every attendee at the event!
- T-Shirts: We have a fantastic shirt for those who donate generously!
- Rare merchandise: We have had a number of generously donated pieces of merchandise to help us make our target, and beyond! Those generous few with deep pockets can really help boost us towards the goal post, and snag something ultra-rare indeed!
- Guest exclusives: These will range from items such specially produced pieces of art or once-in-a-lifetime experiences with special guests! These rewards will be added as our guests are announced
Thank you for taking the time to read this Kickstarter page! We are really excited about what we have in store for the event, and we hope we can far exceed our initial targets in order to fund some of the other great ideas we have lined up. We hope to see you on the 6th of August!
Risks and challenges
We are engaged with much of the planning of the day as we speak! We have maintained a dialogue with many of our special guests over the past few months with regards to our plans, and we have already penciled in the date with our venue of choice…all we need now are the funds!
We don’t foresee any issue with the event date of the 6th of August 2016, or the booking of the venue at the moment; however this may be subject to change if any circumstances arise that would mean it would be impossible to keep to those. Rest assured we would work to find a comparable venue if this occurred, but obviously we wouldn’t be able to refund all of your train tickets and hotel costs in the unlikely event we have to move the date (if you can, be sure to buy refundable travel tickets!)
You might have noticed we’ve not mentioned any special guests by name or gone into any detail about specific events on the day. We are at this very moment talking to our guests and planning, but until we’ve got a definite thumbs up, we don’t want to sell the event on the attendance of a single guest or activity and disappoint if the guest has to pull out of attending or the activity cannot take place. We hope you guys will still be as enthusiastic about attending, whether we have one special guest or ten!
We both have six years of experience under our belts in organising the Summer of Sonic conventions and we have dealt with many essential aspects from technical to financial. Everything from numbers, costing and planning has been given significant thought and discussion; hopefully this means all backers will have confidence in the smooth execution of the event.
Adam has previous experience in crowdfunding the Sonic the Comic Con event, in which funding raised exceeded almost three times the initial goal.
The Summer of Sonic team is more than 30 strong, and who now have a collective experience of hundreds of years in running the Summer of Sonic convention! There couldn’t be a team better suited for this project!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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