Attendees of Phoenix Fan Fest in 2017.EXPAND
Attendees of Phoenix Fan Fest in 2017.
Benjamin Leatherman

Square Egg Entertainment Has Canceled Phoenix Fan Fest — Here's Why

Say farewell to Phoenix Fan Fest, folks.

The annual fall/winter geek event, which was a spinoff of Phoenix Comic Fest, has been discontinued by its promoters after four years of existence.

Square Egg Entertainment, the local company behind both events, announced on May 31 that they're pulling the plug on Phoenix Fan Fest.

According to a statement from the company, it's largely due to the fact that Fan Fest had difficulty finding its own footing in the local geek scene.

“Phoenix Fan Fest, traditionally held in October or November, has struggled over the years to find its own identity, audience, balance of price, size, and offerings, and community support,” the statement read.

By the way, Phoenix Fan Fest shouldn't be confused with Phoenix Fan Fusion, the newest name for Square Egg's flagship event held every Memorial Day weekend, which used to be known as either Phoenix Comicon or Phoenix Comic Fest.

Everybody caught up? Okay, let's move on.

Phoenix Fan Fest 2015 at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale.EXPAND
Phoenix Fan Fest 2015 at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale.
Benjamin Leatherman

Phoenix Fan Fest originated back in December 2014 as a spinoff of what was then known as Phoenix Comicon. And it strove to be different from its sister event in many ways.

The first two editions of Fan Fest took place at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, and focused more on fandom, cosplayers, and families. It also has a less expensive price point and smaller crowds than Phoenix Comicon.

Fan Fest kept changing during its four-year run, however. In 2016, the event moved over to the Phoenix Convention Center, took place in October, and focused largely on professional wrestlers. In 2017, the event featured a nostalgia theme, and featured guests from classic geek films like Ghostbusters and Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.

Square Egg spokesperson Kristin Rowan says the company tried out a lot of different things at Fan Fest to make it succeed and find its own identity.

“We spent four years trying to find a unique role for Fan Fest,” she says. “It was over at the football stadium in Glendale, then it went to the convention center. We had wrestlers, we had Doctor Who guests, we had throwback guests. We tried everything, but it just couldn't develop its own identity."

It didn't help that many folks thought of Phoenix Fan Fest as a sort of pint-sized version of Square Egg's other events, Rowan adds.

“The first couple of years, people were calling it Phoenix Comicon-light or mini-Comicon,” she says. “It just never found a role of its own. So to continue to struggle with that and try to make [Fan Fest] profitable and a good show, it's just not in the best interests of the company.”

Going forward, she says, Square Egg will focus on Phoenix Fan Fusion, which will take place in May 2019, and its similarly named sister events Minnesota Fan Fusion, which happens in August in the Twin Cities, and Vegas Fan Fusion in September.

That's not to say that Rowan and others at Square Egg won't miss Phoenix Fan Fest.

“It was a fun event and we all loved it,” she says. “It's just a shame we couldn't make it work.”

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