Tracon 2023 Report

Tracon was organized on 8-10 September 2023 in Tampere-talo (unexpectedly) in Tampere. Tracon is one of Finland’s biggest game/anime/manga/cosplay conventions. Has been for many years already. I myself have attended the event every year, and I have seen its evolution. This year, the event caused a stir even before the convention started by announcing that its ticket prices would increase. Did the increase in ticket prices affect the event somehow or was Tracon the same as in previous years?


The sales area of various companies and artisans was located in its familiar place in the hall at the end of the Tampere building. In my opinion, the hall is a really great place for this activity. Even though the hall there’s always a huge mass of people in the hall, you can walk around there relatively easily. Sometimes the tables were crowded, but this cannot be avoided. A few artisan tables were cleverly made with so-called queuing system, so that there was no crowd in front of the table.

I also appreciate that there are a variety of different sellers. There are familiar stalls from all Finnish conventions, such as Fantasiapelit and Anime magazine, but also new and smaller artisans. It’s always nice when the vendors change a bit and you see new faces.

Flea Market

The flea market had been moved from its old location to a new location in the hall where role-playing games used to be played. As I understand it, the decision was made so that the queue to the flea market can be managed more rationally and would did not obstruct the passageways. This time, the line went very logically along the side of the wall. However, the queue at the flea market was ridiculously long for almost the entire event. Some of my friends didn’t want to queue there, because the queue took at least half an hour.

Why was the line so long? The flea market hall was far too small. The space seemed smaller than the previous space, which is probably why not enough people could get in. Still, the flea market was terribly crowded all the time, even inside. And hot. The smell of sweat was strong…

Reporting the goods to the flea market worked really well through the Kirppu system. In addition, the instructions received in advance were sufficient and comprehensive.

Artist’s Alley

The artist’s allew was located in a familiar place on the third floor, and the whole floor was pretty much dedicated to it. The location is ok. However, it is not the best, because the artist’s alley was really crowded all the time. Would it be possible to switch the space with the association tables end to end, because the association tables were located in a large area that was never crowded?

The artist’s alley had a good number of artists, and the quality of the products was good. I remember seeing many of the artists present in previous years, and I would like seeing new faces in the art alley. Of course, this is not the fault of the artists. Maybe new applicants could be favored in the application process?

Associates Tables

The associates tables were located on the second floor below the artist’s alley. The space was really large, and there was a lot of room to walk around. There were also really many associates’ tables, which is always nice to see. Since there was always a lot of free space in the space, even a smaller space could be enough for association tables. In addition, for some reason, two tables were placed on the first floor, and even more so in a hidden alcove. The tables were separated from the others in a bad location, and I felt sorry for the people who were seated at these tables. Because of the awkward location, they felt like outsiders compared to the other associates’ tables, and the bad location felt like a punishment. Of course, they were not given this location as a punishment by the convention, but I remember thinking this as I looked at the empty tables.

“The corner of shame” for the associates tables.


A park called Sorsapuisto, located outside the Tampere-talo, was also open to people who had not purchased wristbands. It’s nice that everyone can participate in outdoor activities. There were nice activities for free. One of the most popular programs, such as the Tracon Dance Medley, was on the big stage in the park. In general, the program on stage seemed to be of really high quality. For example, EVERFROST, who performed on Saturday night, gave a really high-quality concert.

There were a few food stalls in the yard, which is really nice, because when you get hungry, you can get a bite to eat there and no need to go further. In addition, there was foam weapon fighting and one metal crafts stall in the yard. It’s great that someone was selling outside too! There was plenty of space in the yard and benches had also been brought so you could rest your feet. It’s great that the yard is used in such an efficient way, since it is once such a large space.

Cosplay Competitions

Many cosplay contests were organized in Tracon. WCS and NCC qualifiers and a costume competition for experienced competitors were organized on Saturday. On Sunday, there was a performance competition, costume design competition, photoshoot competition and the amateur and beginner categories of the costume competition. There were quite many competitions in total as you can see. The competitions themselves went really well and were organized nicely. Congratulations for the winners!

However, the competetitions were hindered by the technical problems which were constantly present. Some of these were really incomprehensible. The problems started from Saturday’s competitions already during the starting act of the hosts, when the voices of the presenters could not be heard. There were problems with the microphones as they kept turning off (and funnily enough, on Sunday they couldn’t be turned off). In addition, before each contestant, the VLC Media Player window flashed very unprofessionally on the screen. The background video flickered strangely on Sunday. Competitors who canceled had not been removed from the slides, which caused confusion. The prize ceremony initially showed the wrong contestant since the slide show was in the wrong place. Here are just some of the technical confusions that happened. It’s confusing that in such a high-class event, everything went so wrong. Maybe next time it would be worthwhile to practice things beforehand and check that everything works perfectly and everyone knows what to do?


Let’s go through general things about Tracon or activities that I didn’t attend myself, but I want to have my say about them.

The event offered its visitors everything useful, such as a cloakroom, info booth and water points. These services worked really well and the service was friendly. The only negative encounter was at the cloakroom, when I just wanted to take one thing from my bag, and I was about to be put back in line again if I wanted the bag back to the cloakroom. The item was the first thing in my handbag (which I told the employee) and it took less than five seconds when I took it from the bag. Eventually they let me do this.

Seats to the the programs in the big and small halls were reserved through the Kompassi website. The reservation system worked flawlessly, although there was definitely a lot of strain on the page after the ticket reservation opened. The only problem here was that the seats were booked in seconds. It’s not nice to stress about getting seats if it’s such a tight speed competition.

The role-playing games had been moved to the former space of the flea market. The area seemed to work for role-playing games, which I just watched from the side. I didn’t participate in any role-playing games myself, because I don’t like talking to strangers. However, I heard that the role-playing games my friends played were really good as well as the game masters.

Karaoke was located on the second floor in a small room. The space seemed really small and it was full all the time. Once, my friend and I tried to go there, but the long line scared us away right away.

There was also a maid cafe in the convention. I didn’t have time to go there unfortunately. It seemed like it was full all the time.

The information before the event was mostly good. The amount of social media activity increased about a week before the event, which was a little too late to wake up to this. For example, I personally verified the policy of handbags for the event, with which there have been problems in previous years with the programs of the large and small halls. You are not allowed to take a bag that is too big to these programs, which is totally understandable. In previous years, the definition of the size of the bag has been vague, and sometimes even a small bag had to be taken to the cloakroom, but others were able to enter the programs with huge bags. To avoid this problem, I tried to verify the allowed bag size in advance by asking Tracon about it. It was only said that this will only become clear at the event, because there is a box where you can try on the dimensions of the bag. You could have certainly found this out by asking Tampere-talo for these measurements. The event started on Friday, and on Thursday these measurements were shared in social media. It was a last minute call, and it just felt like they didn’t want to take the time to figure it out in advance.

In relation to earlier, I also heard (so read this with a bit of caution, the things you hear are not always true) that communication with the the person responsible for program was quite difficult beforehand Tracon. The messages were not answered and when asked, they were surprised since “everything was under control”. In addition, something in the communication had gone wrong, as I understand it, since some had problems getting the required number of Tracon-branded bottles or food tickets promised to the employees. Remember, this is only heard rumors, not experienced. So maybe I’m wrong.

Program-Specific Feedback

In this chapter I’ll present some comments about the program offering in general. In addition, let’s review the few programs I attended. Due to the hurry, there were not many of these. Fortunately, many of the lectures were recorded and can be viewed on Tracon’s YouTube channel. I will definitely come there to watch at least some of the lectures.

The map of programs itself was not completely problem-free. It was not organized in a logical way at all times. A good example of this is the role-playing program in general, which there was only few anyway, but on Saturday even the few were somewhat overlapping. Another example is the overlapping of two music programs (Nörttikuoro Pikselit and 3xDMG) on Friday. Of course, the wishes of the people who held the program were taken into account, which is why it is not always possible to organize everything optimally.

Nörttikuoro Pikselit – Musiikin voimalla was perhaps the biggest music program on Friday. The huge choir performed maybe a dozen songs during the performance. Sources include anime, movies and TV series. First of all, the chorus sounded really good. Even if I don’t understand anything about music myself. Basic information about the source and the song was also always shown in the background. It was also a nice addition that each source had a force of nature (the theme of the convention) linked to it and a piece of fan art shown on the slides. In the show, I didn’t mind the interludes that much. In my opinion, they were pointless and didn’t tell enough about the source work to get to the atmosphere of the song through them. They strove for storytelling, but this didn’t sink in for me.

Unreality: Ghost Songs was a choral performance organized on Saturday. The theme of the show was songs from horror films, which was completely my alley. The choir seemed to have a really wide vocal range. This was clear to music novices like me as well. The songs sounded really good and professionally arranged. Interludes also worked flawlessly. There wasn’t really anything to criticize about this show.

Ideasta omakustanteeksi was the only lecture I had time to attend. It presented how to get your ideas published either physically or online. The topics covered in the lecture were really basic and partly even understandable by common sense. I didn’t feel like I really got anything new from the lecture. It could be that the lecture was aimed at younger people interested in self-publishing. However, the slide show was very well structured.


Tracon was a good event. The aftertaste is mostly positive for me. However, the things presented in this report also show that the event was not completely problem-free. This brings us to the question I posed at the beginning, whether the new higher price of the event is justified. I understand the price, because the Tampere house as a space is certainly not cheap. However, I would hope that the event would maintain its quality or, in a better case, even improve its quality with the feedback received. This year we perhaps went a little backwards in many things compared to previous years. Hopefully next year we’ll have the best Tracon yet!

2 thoughts on “Tracon 2023 Report”

  1. Taidekujalla on itse asiassa ensikertalaiskiintiö! Lisäksi osa taiteilijoista vaihtui joka päivä.
    Tracon järjestetään kokonaan vapaaehtoisvoimin. Me vapaaehtoiset järjestäjät yritetään aina parhaamme tapahtuman toteutuksen suhteen, vaikka aina jotain pieniä ongelmia tulee. Siksi palaute on tärkeää. Kiitos kattavasta blogitekstistä!

    1. Kiitos kommentista!
      Ihanaa, että taidekujalla on ensikertalaiskiintiö! Todella hyvä idea 😊
      Tiedän, että yritätte parhaanne, ja vapaaehtoisvoimin tehtäväksi tapahtumaksi asiat hoituvat jo nyt hyvin. Mainitsemani kritiikin aiheet eivät mitenkään pilanneet tapahtumaa, eivätkä ne edes kaikille näkyneet. Osa vain tuntui itselleni vähän takapakilta aiempiin vuosiin nähden, siksi ne mainitsin. On aina hyvä kirjoittaa palautetta, niin voi parantaa entisestään!

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