Summer of Sonic
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|Summer of Sonic (SoS)|
Summer of Sonic 2012 Logo
|Organized by||Svend Joscelyne, Rory Joscelyne|
The Summer of Sonic is an annual convention focusing on all aspects relating to the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise. The event was created by computer game journalist and Sonic fan site owner Svend Joscelyne (aka "Dreadknux"), and is organised by a large team of volunteers from the UK Sonic fan community. It is officially recognised and supported by SEGA and Sonic Team, whilst maintaining its close ties to the fan base.
Since its debut in 2008, the convention has been a high-profile gathering place for like-minded fans from around the world. Special guests have included Richard Jacques, TJ Davis, Lee Brotherton, Nigel Kitching, Nigel Dobbyn, Crush 40, SUMO Digital, Ian Flynn, Tracy Yardley, Yuji Naka and Takashi Iizuka.
Summer of Sonic was created in July 2006 in the form of a collaborative website celebrating Sonic the Hedgehog's 15th anniversary. Fellow community webmasters, fan artists and other creatives were invited to contribute content to the website, which remained open until the end of August.
Buoyed by the relative success of this, along with several community meet ups in London, England in 2007, Joscelyne went on to plan a one-day event to be held during the summer of 2008. This gained the attention of Kevin Eva (known as "AAUK" to fans), SEGA Europe's Community Manager at the time, who himself had been thinking of the possibilities for such an event.
The pair agreed to co-organise Summer of Sonic, and were able to secure a degree of backing from SEGA Europe. The level of support increased with each successful year, leading to sponsorship in 2011 and official recognition from Sonic Team in 2012. Summer of Sonic is now part of an annual lineup of celebratory events that include the SEGA-organised Sonic Boom in North America.
Eva remained co-organiser and host of the convention until he retired from the position in 2011 after leaving SEGA, although continues to take an active interest in the event. Long-standing community member Rory Joscelyne assumed the role of co-organiser with his brother from 2012, whilst Adam Tuff (known to fans as "T-Bird") took over Svend Joscelyne's role as of the 2013 convention. Svend receiving an emotional send-off near the end of SOS13. While the co-organisers are seen as the lead contributors to the convention's success, the event relies on a great deal of community participation from volunteers.
SOS 2008 (9 August)
The Summer of Sonic 2008 was held at Dragon Hall, Covent Garden, London, UK, on the 9 August 2008. Features from the event included live performances from Bentley Jones, TJ Davis and Richard Jacques. Bentley Jones also did a remix of the song 'His World' from Sonic The Hedgehog 2006 for the event as a gift to the fans. There were also playable demos of the then upcoming Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood, months before its release. Whilst Nigel Kitching writer/artist of Fleetway's Sonic the Comic also attended, signing autographs for fans.
A Guinness World Records Gamer's Edition entry attempt was also hosted, with fans competing for the quickest completion time of the Emerald Hill Zone, the first zone of the game Sonic The Hedgehog 2 the best time being 20 seconds by Louis Tsiattalou. Whilst other stage events included a fan quiz, and competitions including a Sonic fanart contest which was won by 10 year old Liam Ashcroft.
The event whilst receiving little in the way of promotion managed to attract die hard fans from not just all over the United Kingdom and mainland Europe but as far afield as America and even Australia. Eva later commented to fans he'd been told that Sonic Team themselves had "loved" the idea and a 2009 follow-up was confirmed the following February.
SOS 2009 (29 August)
Due to the increase in exposure and numbers, the location of the 2009 event was moved to the Old Truman Brewery Boiler House on Brick Lane, London. It was noted by Eva that SEGA Europe were even more on board than before though in discussions with fans at an event for Sonic Unleashed noted the difficulty in improving the scale and professionalism of the event whilst maintaining the community spirit of the show. The Summer of Sonic now operates as a SEGA endorsed and sponsored event, with backing provided by SEGA but organised and run essentially in its entirety by Eva, Joscelyne and senior Sonic fans.
Events were slow in being confirmed for the 2009 show, due in part to the difficulty in securing the venue, however it has since been confirmed that Nigel Kitching would again be attending the event alongside artist and fellow Fleetway stalwart Nigel Dobbyn. Dobbyn was chiefly responsible for the Knuckles and Tails spinoffs and side storylines that accompanied the main Sonic story.
In July, Bentley Jones was confirmed to again be attending, whilst on 7 August it was confirmed representatives from SUMO Digital, the developers behind games such as Sega Superstars Tennis and Outrun Online Arcade would be attending. It was later confirmed by Eva that following on from the early showing of Sonic Chronicles in 2008 that both Wii and DS versions of Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games and Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing (also being developed by SUMO Digital) would be getting their UK public premieres at the event.
Other confirmed events at this time included a Sonic cosplay competition. The winner was Ciara Thrush who cosplayed as Rouge, Thrush chose to cosplay as Rouge because she was "sexy and sassy".
SOS 2010 (7 August)
The third Summer of Sonic convention was held on 7 August at The Pavilion, located in Shepherd's Bush. Over nine hundred people attended the event.
The headline act for 2010 was rock band Crush 40 (Jun Senoue and Johnny Gioeli) who gave a one-hour live performance - their first performance outside of Japan. Earlier in the day, Jun Senoue also performed a short solo set, and both Senoue and Gioeli answered fan questions in a Q&A session.
Games playable at the event included the E3 demos of two unreleased games: Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 1 (Xbox 360) and Sonic Colors (Wii and DS). There were also several Xbox 360 booths featuring older Sonic games including Sonic Heroes, Sonic Unleashed and Sega Mega Drive Ultimate Collection. A Sonic & Sega All Stars Racing tournament also took place.
The Sonic Wrecks karaoke competition made a return from 2009, as did the cosplay competition, won in 2010 by Euan Kennedy as a Dr. Eggman cosplayer.
SOS 2011 (25 June)
At the end of the 2010 event, Summer of Sonic 2011 was announced. It was held on 25 June for the first time to coincide with the 20th anniversary of Sonic the Hedgehog, and not to be held in August when the previous three SEGA events (2008–2010) were held. The venue for this year's event was revealed as the Camden Centre in London. The venue opened from 9am-8pm making it the longest Summer of Sonic event ever. Reservations for the event opened up on 1 May at 10AM British time and within 8 hours the event was sold out. The organizers announced that they are aiming to have more spaces open for people who couldn't make a reservation on the official website.
The special guests included writers of the Archie Sonic comics and Sonic the Comic including Tracy Yardley, Nigel Dobbyn, Ian Flynn and Nigel Kitching, Crush 40 guitarist and SEGA composer Jun Senoue, techno rock-band Julien-K, SEGA programmer Takashi Iizuka and the creator of the Sonic series Yuji Naka. Mike Pollock, voice actor for Doctor Eggman also attended although only as a normal visitor.
A showcase section was opened up to give the fans of past events to showcase their talent in both the art and musical areas.
During the 2010 Crush 40 performance, Johnny Gioeli announced his intention to return for Summer of Sonic 2011, but was unable to return due to scheduling issues.
The Wrecks Factor Karaoke contest returned for the last time, but will still continue to run on Radio REDUX.
The cosplay contest was won by Bekka Jackson, a Silver the Hedgehog cosplayer and the prize was a limited edition Sonic 20th Anniversary statue.
An art competition also took place and a 2nd 20th Anniversary statue was also given away. A charity raffle was also held and £440 was raised for the Tokyo, Japan earthquake and tsunami that took place in March 2011.
Also, a proposal was held, Antony Turner proposed to Carly Cridge, with a Chaos Emerald replica instead in lieu of an actual ring (which had been left behind).
SOS 2012 (7 July)
It was revealed on 2 February that the 5th Summer of Sonic will take place on 7 July in London. Details at this point are vague and the official logo has been revealed with similarities to that of the Sonic Boom logo which is the US's equivalent of SOS. The website for the event is now live and more information will be revealed over the following weeks and months
The venue for the event has been revealed as The Hove Centre in Brighton. The decision for choosing Brighton over the normal location of London was easy for the organisers as they wanted to avoid any clashes with the 2012 London Olympics in terms of hotels and travel. The first of the guests will be unveiled on 4 May 2012
On 13 May at 12:30 British Time, the first wave of tickets were open to registration. Within 3 minutes, the first wave of tickets were sold out.
Wave 2 sold out in 48 seconds and Wave 3 beat that by 20 seconds making this the fastest selling Summer of Sonic ever.
Features for Summer of Sonic 2012 include Club Sonic, a playable demo of Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed, a Q&A session with Takashi Iizuka and Steve Lycett and a fan artists showcase section where a select few Sonic fans will attend and show their fan drawings to the public.
The cosplay contest has returned for Summer of Sonic 2012 but has a few different rules this time it was judged by 3 judges and the contestants will need to fill out entry sheets upon arrival if they wish to compete. This year's winner was a cosplayer who went as Sonic's Werehog form out of Sonic Unleashed. An honorable mention went to two people cosplaying Banjo and Kazooie (from the Banjo-Kazooie series), who - while not technically considered Sega characters, appear in the Xbox 360 version of Sonic and Sega All-Stars Racing.
SOS 2013 (3 August)
The sixth annual Summer of Sonic 2013 convention took place on 3 August 2013. Like the previous SOS conventions, it was held in the United Kingdom.
- Svend Joscelyne - The Sonic Stadium
- ArchangelUK - Sonic City Blognik
- ArchangelUK - Sonic City Blognik
- ArchangelUK - Sonic City Blognik
- Summer of Sonic - Official Website
- The Sonic Stadium - Associated fan site
- Last Minute Continue (Formerly Sonic Wrecks) - Associated fan site
- The Sonic Show - Associated fan site (Broadcasts Video Live Feed)
- RadioSEGA - Associated fan site (Broadcasts Radio Live Feed)
- Emerald Coast - Associated fan site
- Official Twitter Page
- Official Facebook Page
- SEGA Europe