While the American branch of Horse News was busy getting kicked out of BronyCon 2014 as early as possible by making potato salad, the more professional and respectable European squad of HN went to GalaCon (aka M.A. Larson's birthday party and book promotion event) which happened on the same weekend to do some actual press work.
|GalaCon before opening|
During the course of the convention, we wanted to find out how European bronies are different from their euphoric, freedom loving counterparts when they are all locked up among themselves for a weekend.
We were sure that for starters, they would not clap as much or have no sense for good taste whatsoever. Or ride a joke into the ground minutes after it is born. They also would not spend an insane amount of money on merch or a signed soda bottle. And finally, they wouldn't try to unleash all that pent up sexual energy by hugging everyone they meet. This shit would never fly in good old middle Europe, where someone is considered an Oedipus if he hugs his Mom beyond the age of 4.
|GalaCon before opening with a press pass|
Day 1 of the convention: SaturdayAfter a tiresome trip with the German railway company, offering the same comfort as 70 years ago but at an exorbitant prize, the three of us met up in front of the convention hall and shook hands for the first time. We proceeded to acquire our press passes, get in quickly, and watch the herd from the inside for a bit.
Soon enough however, everyone was let in and the opening ceremony started. Besides Nicole Oliver and M.A. Larson, Julia Meynen (German voice of
|The guests of honors' activities outside of MLP:FiM were handled with great reservation|
|One block away from the convention hall, we learned why the con was held in Ludwigsburg|
As we had lunch, we also learned that despite having poor leadership and damage control, our colleagues over at BronyCon managed to not get kicked out. Relieved that we didn't have to break their record by stealing the pony ride (pictured below), we listened to some excited brony chatting with The Living Tombstone. After only twenty seconds of small-talk, said brony had ran out of conversation material and asked Tombstone what sub he would get.
|The highlight of GalaCon 2014|
We headed back just in time for the original cast Q&A session. Now was the time to see some German efficiency in action: not one, but two lines were formed. So while one person asked a question, the person at the other mic was screened by staff. Surprisingly enough, most of the questions were original or even interesting. Nevertheless, we forgot them all.
What we didn't forget about though was My Little Pony Friendship on the Tracks. M.A. Larson and Nicole Oliver were so intrigued that they asked the questioner to wait until after the panel; probably to make sure there were no witnesses to see where Larson gets his ideas from.
|Keep watching, you'll be surprised who makes a cameo!|
After the panel, we found out that the press conference was cancelled. We were told this was due of the lack of interest from attending press, but deep down we all knew that they just feared professional, investigative journalism. So instead, we had a look at the cosplay contest, taking quality pictures from the back row like some god damn amateurs.
|Yes, among the contestants was Thunderthighs aka Glasmond and that one dude from /mlp/ with the Metallica wall decor|
Right after seeing some terrible and some pretty decent cosplays (the heavy breathing in the room made it impossible to take decent pictures), the contest moved on to sketches and performances. When we already thought someone would slip on all the accumulated spaghetti, the fursuiters stepped on the stage. We weren't prepared.
Scared and hungry, we fled back into the city centre of Ludwigsburg to get dinner. After almost invading a wedding banquet and getting lost in the confusing street layout, we settled down in a beer garden and stayed there until
|Is she just sad or is she actually melting? She is fucking low-poly, that's for sure|
Day 2 of the convention: SundayThe next day the convention center tried to get rid of the attendees early by switching off the air conditioning. With up to 40°C (about 9/11°F) in some areas before noon, everyone queued up for the only two fans in the building which happened to be on the signing tables of Nicole Oliver and M.A. Larson. Thanks to our press passes, we could enjoy the cool breeze for a bit longer than the common brony. After giving M.A. Larson some old candies from Easter as a birthday present, we headed to the next big panel: Jan Animations.
|Wrong panel, but have some Button to go along with the article|
With nothing else happening at the same time, pretty much the whole con was present to watch an animatic of Button's Adventures Episode 2 (with Shady voicing Button's Mom) and of the Pony Rock Anthem, both set to be released this year. It was also revealed that they are currently working with Hasbro to get their series officially licensed. If that happens, Button's Adventures is as much canon as the comics are
|The crowd welcoming Button's Mom|
As it turns out, the crowd really liked Button's Mom. Really liked her. Every time someone asked a question about her, the crowd went wild. Mid-panel it was announced that EileMonty, aka Button's Mom, would also join the panel. Shady requested the exact same reaction for when she showed up. Since then, her name was incorporated into every single question, resulting in the crowd going wild - every time and without failure. It stopped being funny halfway through.
|We totally didn't take this picture during the panel|
After a short break, we proceeded to 'The Secrets of M.A. Larson' panel, the first secret being that it's the same panel he held at DraftCon. As for the other secrets, we can tell you that Larson's wallpaper is Flash Sentry and that he keeps all old emails, even the ones from Nigeria. If you want to know how ashamed Larson of his early writing is and what notes Lauren gave him, you have to listen to the whole thing, as filming or taking pictures during the panel was forbidden.
|When leaving the hotel, we found a note that seems to have been written by M.A. Larson, transcribing his Sunday at the con.|
We are 95% sure it's legit. There are even two spaces after each full stop (open in new tab to read)
With two big panels held one after another in the same room with only a short break in between, we were really looking forward to return to the very same hall for the charity auction and the closing ceremony.
Barely being able to breathe and with M.A. Larson nowhere to be found, two people took it into their hands to please the crowd for a while: Nicole Oliver and the guy responsible for the projector. The latter thought it was a hilarious idea to put the live stream on the big screen, chat included.
|Putting the livestream chat up for everyone to see - what could go wrong?|
First of all, Nicole didn't notice that the chat was put up as she strode up and down the stage. Secondly, she had no idea about the
|Nicole isn't having anything of your Button's Mom may-may bullshit|
Luckily for her, she was soon assisted by the most powerful beings in the building, the ones that could bend the crowd to their will with just their presence: Princess M.A. Larson, Button's Mom, and finally Perrydotto. While the former two don't require any explanation, you might wonder who Perrydotto is.
|From left to right: Princess M.A. Larson, Nicole Oliver, Button's Mom, Perrydotto, and Fanta|
So, who is this dashing tomboy with the cowboy hat? Perrydotto enjoys moderating panels, her hat, long walks on the beach, and Fanta. Unlike other
|We don't know what the winning bidder chose, but we are hoping for Perry and Button's Mom|
With the charity auction going its course, we had to realize that European bronies have just as much, if not more money to spend on all things pony. Among the items that stood out were a collaboration of Tombstone and Shady with a theme of the winner's choice, as well as a pre-reader copy of Larson's book, Pennyroyal Academy (buy his book) which went for 550. Only 20 minutes later, some fan fiction in hard-cover went for 750.
|Perry without her hat. Her smile and optimism: gone|
Shocked once again by the priorities of the fandom, we watched Perry on the verge of tears auctioning off her hat and some Fanta getting sold for over 300, much to Perry's irritation. She didn't even drink from it. Finally, a huge group of Swiss bronies secured a GalaCon 2014 banner.
|Only two of them had to walk home to compensate for the extra cash needed for the banner|
The auction seamlessly went over to the closing ceremony. People were thanked, bows were taken, and the stage stormed. But before it was all over, someone grabbed the mic again and said her name one last time. And we all clapped and hugged each other.
|Can you feel the love?|
Editor's note: We would like to apologize for the lack of decent pictures in this article. Unfortunately, our photographer was too fixated on Mr Larson. Nevertheless, we do not want to keep the results from you: M.A. Larson picture slideshow.
Furthermore, all panel recordings can be found here, provided by PVL.
This article was reviewed and approved by GalaCon staff. Only slight alterations have been made without their knowledge.