Gallifrey One is the world’s largest and longest-running annual fan-run Doctor Who convention. Gallifrey One gives you everything you could want from a convention! It happens in Los Angeles every February and this past weekend it just celebrated it’s 28th year. The event is held at the LAX Marriott Hotel. It is one of the most popular events devoted to the Doctor Who classic and new television series. As well as its spinoffs, Torchwood and The Sarah Jane Adventures. Tickets are nearly impossible to get selling out in minutes.
According to their website, while very much a modern celebrity-driven convention, Gallifrey One stays extremely close to its roots in “old school” fandom: one admission cost for nearly everything at the event, with no preferred seating or tier packages, where pros and fans alike mix throughout the day. This convention still boasts a classic-style art show, a hospitality suite with free snacks for convention members, a supervised children’s program room, hallway fan tables available for free to clubs and conventions, and specialized costuming events, as well as a dealers room, video program, and special themed events.
Doctor Who Cast and Other Special Guests
The list of Doctor Who guests that grace the halls of Gallifrey One are second to none. This year’s guest list included Doctor Who cast members Paul McGann, Lalla Ward, Louise Jameson, Katy Manning, Peter Purves, Gareth David-Lloyd, Naoko Mori, Catrin Stewart, Mat Irvine, Christine Adams, Ryan Carnes, Anna Shaffer and many more. Guest range from cast to artist and writers from Doctor Who comics, audio series creators, fan artist, prop builders and costume designers from the show. The fact that the convention is small, approx. 3000 guests, compared to a Comic Convention which can range from up to 100,000 attendees, also gives attendees an intimate experience with these guests. Here you see cosplay twins Chihiro and Chieko with cast members from the show.
Gallifrey One is also know for it’s great sets of panels and interviews with special guests. There are panels for every aspect of Doctor Who. The most popular panels are typically those with guests like 8th Doctor Paul McGann. But there is also something for everyone. You can find panel discussions on everything from costuming and cosplay, to sci-fi in general, Doctor Who spin-offs, comics, podcasts, and so much more. The programming starts in the morning and runs up until 11pm. It is three full days of discussions of almost anything Who related you can think of. In addition to panels, Kaffeeklatsches are small, intimate gatherings with one, two or three guests and up to 12 attendees, chatting about their work over coffee and tea that are offered as part of the Gallifrey One experience. There are also plenty of children’s programming available as well.
Cosplay is the celebration of your favorite characters via costuming. It’s huge at Gallifrey One. Cosplayers put so much heart and work into finding either screen accurate ensembles worn on the show to people coming up with their own interpretive mash-ups and creations. It is a family friendly activity and makes for a very colorful scene in the halls of Gallifrey one. Gallifrey One also hosts a highly celebrated costume contest with several categories and amazing prizes.
Lobby Con, Ribbons and After Hours Programming
Lobby Con is the name affectionately given to the going-ons that happen in the Lobby of the Marriott. The Marriott lobby is set up beautifully with plenty of open seating, tables and places to lounge. The lobby area includes a bar, a Starbucks and several restaurants. Here at Lobby Con anytime of day or night you can find groups of people and friends mingling, gaming, and even exchanging ribbons.
Ribbon exchanging is a very fun part of Gallifrey One. Ribbons are a fun way for many attendees to add their own unique signature to their convention experience. They are not necessary but make for fun meets ups, mingling and ice breakers. They certainly add to the ambiance of the event. Gallifrey One also offers plenty of after hour programming as well. This year they offered three full nights of karaoke, starting in the mid-evening and running late on Friday & Saturday, all hours screenings, performances, and dances.
All photos used with permission from their respective photographers.