RuPaul is one of my favourite people, his TV show one of my favourite things to gasp and cackle at, so when I saw the adverts for DragCon 2020, I knew it had to happen. This event brought together international drag stars, creatives, music extravaganzas, amazing crafters and some of the loveliest people. Now, there were issues on the Saturday with overselling tickets that resulted in a “one in, out out” situation. However, we were luckily only there for the Sunday which went much more smoothly!
The event was held at the Olympia London and ran from 10am til 4pm. We got the train to London but found that the tube route to the venue would be inaccessible as the closest station had steps (you can check your route for accessibility on the map here) so we decided to take an Uber from the train station. London Uber have accessible cabs available now for the same price as the regular ones. I felt like the Pope sat in the back!
Upon arrival to the event, we were ushered to the front of the rather large queue (yes, having wheels does have some perks) and then to the ticket office. The event offered a free ticket for those accompanying a guest with disabilities so we collected our tickets, wristbands and lanyards at the front before whizzing through security!
The atmosphere was incredible inside. I’ve never been anywhere with such a loving, inclusive tone. Everyone had a smile on their face and the main stage was visible from pretty much anywhere! There were events on all day, such as RuPaul’s DJ set, a fashion show and a performance from The Frock Destroyers. We made our way around the two floor event in a sort of zig zag fashion so we could have a nose at the stalls, making a little purchase or two. Some of my favourites were Exotic Jewels (@exoticjewelsldn) which was run by two very wonderful, genuine people, from whom I bought some fabulous earrings, Magio (@magio_marco) who creates gorgeous art, and Sorayraya (@sorayraya) where I got a FANTASTIC phone case. Each of these stalls, plus many of the others, made it so easy for me to browse, moving things around so that I could reach and talking to me without just seeing a wheelchair.
There was plenty of room for rest spots or a quiet five minutes (because the crowds could get very busy) and after we had eaten our picnic (save money, save the planet!), we decided to go to one of the many talks offered. There were two studios set up to film for World Of Wonder, and we ended up in the Tea Room to watch Charlie Hyde, Vinegar Strokes, and Davina DiCampo discuss what it means to be camp, and the differences between British and American drag. The thing that I took from it most was the concept of ‘owning it’. When the queens talked about being bullied, they said that the power was removed from the bullies by owning who they were. Whether you’re a drag queen or not, owning who you are with no shame takes away any power from people who want to try and make you feel small.
This event was very full by the time we got there and a woman was coming along to explain to people towards our end of the queue that it was unlikely that we would be able to get in as capacity had been reached. However, upon seeing our pink disability bands, we were sent straight in and down to the front where there were reserved spots for wheelchair users and their company. I felt a bit cheeky skipping the queue, but life with chronic pain has to come with some benefit. There were so many space available for disabled guests, at the end of each row and in the front row, and there was also a British Sign Language Translator stood at the front so that everyone could be included. The whole event was filmed for World Of Wonder, so I would definitely recommend checking it out!
This event was brilliant, from the well thought through accessibility to the range and quality of the acts and vendors involved. I got to breathe the same air as RuPaul, spotted many of my favourite queens, met some amazing creators and smiled all day. Everyone was welcome and I’m pretty sure everyone left happy! I would definitely recommend it for 2021!
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