Organisers of a family superhero convention have apologised after admitting they were ‘overwhelmed’ by visitors.
The team behind WOSCON Junior said they did not expect almost 3,000 people to turn up at once for the start of the event, which took place at Magna Science Adventure Centre in Rotherham.
But they defended the attractions on offer, which ranged from statues of Superman and Yoda to kids’ TV favourite Paw Patrol, hitting back at people who complained that the event was a ‘rip-off’.
WOSCON Junior president Steve Eyre said: “We sent everyone who bought tickets an e-mail to say don’t all arrive at 11am, and to stagger it so it wouldn’t be as busy. But 2,800 people turned up before 11am and we just could not cope.
“We should have anticipated that people would ignore the advice. It overwhelmed us.”
Mr Eyre accepted that he and his team got things wrong in the morning. He said the event went smoothly once the queues had died down, and in the afternoon people enjoyed themselves.
But a number of people posted angry complaints on social media, demanding refunds.
Some people claimed the event was ‘disorganised and very over-priced’, ‘an event that simply didn’t deliver’ and ‘a thoroughly disappointing waste of a Sunday’.
Corina Carney, who travelled with her husband and two young sons from Selby, North Yorkshire, said: “I cannot describe how angry and shocked I am that this has been allowed to happen, not only to me and my family but also to the hundreds of others who went through the same.”
But not all visitors were dissatisfied.
Charlotte Knaggs, from Wakefield, said the organisation was not great but added: “My toddler absolutely loved it. The Star Wars Sentinel cosplay characters were really great.
“He stalked Spider-man round the room and could hardly bear to leave his side.”
WOSCON Junior apologised for the early problems in a 780-word statement at www.woscon.com, offering a full refund to anyone who felt they should get one.
But Mr Eyre defended the event and said a lot of money would go to charity as a result. Several charities had also been offered free stalls at the event on March 20.
“All these charities came along and had a fantastic day,” he said. “They raised their profile and got more money.
“Everything that was in the leaflets was there. And we gave nearly 1,000 tickets out to charities and good causes for free.
“I’m quite upset because we did this with the best will in the world.”
The event was hosted by Magna but was organised independently.