Harry Potter fans blast Diagon Alley transformation an ‘over-hyped rip off’
Harry Potter fans have blasted a convention which promised a 'Diagon Alley transformation' as an 'over-hyped rip off'.
The DraigCon event at The Printworks in Manchester had high expectations after a successful event last year.
Hundreds of wizarding fans donned capes and hats to indulge their passion for JK Rowling’s world, reports the Manchester Evening News.
Fans flocked to buy tickets for this year's event, which promised to 'be even bigger and better'.
Organisers promised 'a Magical Market, wild and fantastical animals, plus some Q&A sessions with the Harry Potter actors', autograph signings and more.
However the event's Facebook page has been swamped with complaints from people who say it was 'not at all what was advertised'.
They said nobody was checking tickets at the entrances to The Printworks, so members of the public were allowed in without paying.
They said the street itself was 'literally a large market selling crap you can buy for half the price off the internet' and despite paying upwards of £20 for a ticket, you were being charged £5 to hold an owl or a snake, and up to £15 to get signatures from some of the actors.
Lorna Bremner spent £67 on two VIP tickets for her and her child and said she was 'absolutely fuming'.
"Loads of people hadn't even bought tickets and were getting the free signatures," she said. "Queue jumping was a joke as the queues were bigger in the VIP section anyway and didn't amount to anything different to the standard tickets.
"I spent an extra 30 quid just on getting pictures taken with an owl and a snake, which I thought would have been free and the wands, which were £4/10 each.
"The potions class was overcrowded and we couldn't hear the speaker so had to leave – plus the cosplay section was poor and they talked about cosplay in general, not Harry Potter themed.
"As a single mum who bought this as a birthday treat I'm highly disappointed."
Louise Frankland said: "Absolutely appalled by today. Seven tickets bought at £20 each to see it open to general public without tickets, overcrowded, and certainly not as advertised.
"The children are so disappointed today and I am £170 down. What a joke! I will be formally complaining."
Allan Fouracre, who went there with his girlfriend and another couple, agreed, saying it was a 'waste of money'.
"I wouldn't return, very poorly managed and cheaply done," he said. "Merchandise stalls were full of cheap funko pops and other TV/film series which had no association with Harry Potter.
"What we were entitled to as a ticket holder was boring and poor also very easily accessible to the general public who hadn't paid for that experience. Staff were rude and had no idea were things where and what you were entitled to."
He said: "The general vibe was very unhappy yesterday. Lots of people were frustrated."
The actors who appeared at the event included Chris Rankin (Percy Weasley), James Payton (Frank Longbottom), Josh Herdman (Gregory Goyle), Scarlett Byrne (Pansy Parkinson) and more.
But visitors were unhappy with what was included in the ticket price.
Jen Whittaker called it an 'absolute waste of money' and said she had 'three very disappointed little boys'.
"You had to pay extra for everything," she said. "From £1 to wear a sorting hat, to £5 to hold and owl and the merchandise was overpriced and some not even Harry Potter related.
"Very poor. These were birthday presents for two of the boys and they were bored and disappointed."
But not everyone was critical of the event.
Kaye Houston travelled there from Lytham St Annes with her nine-year-old son Finneus and said they had a great time.
"Brilliant day had by me and my son," she said. "We enjoyed the potion making class, seeing the stalls, getting a few autographs and just the general buzz of it.
"Any stewards or staff we needed to speak to were really helpful in answering queries and everyone was very polite and nice.
"Thank you, you've really made my son's year with this."
And Kerri Jones said: "My second time at Draigcon and was not disappointed. We had an amazing weekend.
"Loved meeting all the actors/actress they were all very friendly and happy to have a bit of a chat well they where doing the signings.
"The staff were very friendly and helpful. Everything was easy to find after studying the programme a little.
"Greg Draven (Hagrid's Double) was such a lovely bloke we got to sit down with him and had a lovely chat and find a bit more about him, his work and how he became an actor. Well done for another great event looking forward to the next one."
A spokesperson for DraigCon said thousands of fans had visited The Printworks over the weekend and 'experienced a multitude of magical attractions and experiences'.
They added: "We've had lots of fantastic feedback from people who attended the two day event and we're proud to be able to offer one of the lowest entry prices of any convention in the UK.
"We aim to deliver value for money to all of our ticket holders – this includes free autographs (from selected actors) and access to many attractions.
"We are aware of some negative comments from a number of customers posted on social media today and we will be looking into these issues.
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