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Recap: LeakyCon Boston 2019

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Introduction

Earlier this month, GamePress was able to attend LeakyCon 10 in Boston, Massachusetts. LeakyCon is a 3-day, fan-run Harry Potter convention full of panels, meetups, wizard rock (a Harry Potter-inspired genre of music), live podcasts, and a whole lot of enthusiastic Potter fans. It is one of several fan conventions run by Mischief Management. 

Narwhal listening to a panel

The GamePress Narwhal enjoying a panel at LeakyCon

Amidst the fun, we were able to sit down with some of the guests and presenters at LeakyCon to chat about Harry Potter, Wizards Unite, and more. We also live-tweeted Matt London’s programming. He’s the original author of the story in Hogwarts Mystery, so it was great to hear what he had to say about writing in the Potter universe.

We’ll be sharing a recap of both of those panels, as well as the interviews we mentioned above (including one with Matt London himself), in the coming weeks, so stay tuned!

In the meantime, if you couldn’t make it to LeakyCon this year or have never been to one and are wondering what on earth a Harry Potter convention actually entails, here are just some of the highlights from the weekend.

Wizards Unite at LeakyCon

While LeakyCon did not include any Wizards Unite content in the official programming this year, there was no shortage of Wizards Unite players running around LeakyCon—or Death Eaters.

Death Eater in a panel

A Brilliant Death Eater interrupting a panel at LeakyCon

The Inns in range of the convention were lit up with Dark Detectors pretty much all weekend long, and the nearby Fortress was a popular spot, too. Unfortunately, the weather was awful, so reaching the Fortress was pretty dependent on GPS drift or a willingness to shiver in the wind and rain.

From talking to other attendees, it was pretty clear that a lot of Harry Potter fans have at least picked up Wizards Unite and liked it, even if they aren’t playing often. For a lot of fans, the game is neat, but they don’t feel the need to play daily. 

Of course, when I mentioned that there was currently an event that let you fight Death Eaters roaming your neighbourhood, most people perked up. The idea of fighting off evil is central to the Harry Potter series. It’s no surprise that gameplay centered around that would excite fans into wanting to pick up the game again.

That said, there were also plenty of attendees who are more than just casual, every-so-often players of Wizards Unite. Plenty play regularly, and some even said they used our guides to help them learn the game and stay up to date. (We're glad to help!)

As Wizards Unite develops and expands gameplay options, hopefully we’ll see even more Potter fans connecting with the game and growing the Wizards Unite community. And hey, maybe next year, we’ll even see Wizards Unite in the official LeakyCon schedule. (Psst, we know someone who could help with that, LeakyCon!)

A Place to Be Yourself

Of course, we didn’t just go to LeakyCon to stare at our phones and count how many other people are playing Wizards Unite. As a life-long Potter fan and long-time LeakyCon attendee myself, LeakyCon is an experience like no other.

While the programming at LeakyCon is always incredible, what makes LeakyCon truly magical is the community. From staff to volunteers, from presenters to attendees, everyone at LeakyCon is friendly, supportive, and welcoming of all kinds of people.

LeakyCon is a place where it’s not weird to have entire novels worth of headcanons and fan theories about an obscure bit of canon. Dressing up as a book with a basilisk fang through your stomach? At LeakyCon, that gets you compliments on your fantastic cosplay of Tom Riddle’s Diary. (This was an actual cosplay!)

For many attendees, LeakyCon is like going to Hogwarts after living with the Dursleys all your life. After years of not fitting in, LeakyCon is a place to discover that you were magical all along, and here, that’s celebrated, not scorned.

Music at LeakyCon

“Ah, music, a magic beyond all we do here!”

—Albus Dumbledore

Have you ever noticed just how talented the Harry Potter fandom is? Whether it is writing fan fiction, creating short films, drawing stunning fan art, or organising entire weekends filled with Harry Potter, there’s certainly no shortage of talent in the fandom. That goes for music too, and LeakyCon is full of it.

First, if you weren’t already feeling the excitement of LeakyCon, there’s the LeakyCon Pep Band, who pop up between panels and play a mix of typical pep band songs and nerdier ones like "The Imperial March" from Star Wars. They even got up on stage during the wizard rock show to join Harry and the Potters for a bit.

Speaking of wizard rock, yes, there is an entire genre of music dedicated to Harry Potter. It’s magical, and it’s even more magical if you’re lucky enough to be able to go to a live performance. While the mainstage line-up at LeakyCon is small these days with only four bands (Lauren Fairweather, Tonks and the Aurors, Draco and the Malfoys, and Harry and the Potters), they’re all a delight to watch. 

Harry and the Potters in particular took their usual campy theatrics and whimsical antics to a whole new level this LeakyCon. They had everything from a giant, crowd-surfing basilisk to a helpful flipchat demonstration during a song about the economics of the wizarding world. 

Harry and the Potters live at LeakyCon

A dragon takes the stage during the Harry and the Potters set

It was wild, weird, and addictingly fun. That’s pretty much the essence of wizard rock. Every act was bursting with contagious joy and unironic enthusiasm, from the mainstage performers to the Wizard Rock Cafe held in one of the programming rooms—even to the hallways of LeakyCon itself where wizard rockers like Ashley Trix simply pulled out a guitar and played for other attendees to enjoy.

Ashley Trix

An impromptu wizard rock show from Ashley Trix one night

Finally, we’d be remiss if we didn’t also mention the long history of musicals both in the Harry Potter fandom in general and at LeakyCon specifically. Whether it’s StarKid’s A Very Potter Musical (and sequels) or one of the many fan musicals that have made their debut at LeakyCon over the years, there’s a lot of musical theatre.

This year, it was The Other Chosen One, a musical about Neville and Dumbledore’s Army during the events of Deathly Hallows. The still-in-progress musical was performed as a stage reading to an absolutely packed amphitheatre. Attendees had to be turned away once the room hit capacity. 

When it concluded, it was to thunderous applause and a standing ovation. This is a community that loves music, creativity, and Harry Potter—and there was no shortage of any of those things in The Other Chosen One. Hopefully we'll see the complete, fully staged musical next year on the LeakyCon Mainstage!

LeakyCon 2020

LeakyCon will be returning to Orlando, Florida, next summer, July 31-August 2, 2020. Tickets are on sale now, and the discounted hotel rate is also already available. So far, Devon Murray (Seamus Finnigan) and Evanna Lynch (Luna Lovegood) have already been confirmed as special guests, with more likely to be announced in the coming months. 

If you’re interested in going, start planning and saving now, and let us know if we should expect to see you there!

About the Author(s)

Thræn is a Wizards Unite writer for GamePress and life-long Harry Potter fan.