Preview of Dark Side of the Con: Finally a Local Goth Convention!

Want to spend a weekend just letting your goth flag fly in a hotel full of other creatures of the night? This St. Patrick’s Day weekend, you can dodge the garish green and seclude yourself among like-minded admirers of a monochrome wardrobe at Dark Side of the Con. Last month I gave you all a sneak peek and then overview of a brand new faerie festival called Glimmerdark. Now I’ve been invited back to attend another inaugural Jeff Mach Event and report back with my thoughts. Dark Side of the Con, happening in Piscataway, NJ, on March 17–19, is a new goth convention co-hosted by Jeff Mach and Vampire Freaks—the creators of a thriving online goth community and purveyors of excellent gothic goods. I’ll give you the low-down after the con, but in the meantime, here’s what’s got me excited, so far:

First of all, I’m just thrilled to finally have a convention in my area that’s all about goths. Many other Jeff Mach Events have had a dark or gothic tinge—most notably, the late Wicked Faire, which had its final run last year. But though there was much that appealed to goths at these events, they also catered heavily to other overlapping subcultures like steampunk and Rennies, which occasionally overshadowed the gothic elements. Dark Side is unapologetically, unabashedly goth, with DJs from the local goth scene, goth bands, and panels on everything from the paranormal to goth parenting. It will be the only three-day goth festival in America, so there’s really nothing else like it!

This is me with my adorable new Vampire Freaks backpack that I bought at Glimmerdark. I can’t wait to see all of the spooky things on sale at Dark Side!

The great thing about Dark Side is that it seems like the perfect counterbalance to Glimmerdark. In my review of the faerie festival, I noted how heavily focused Glimmerdark was on their truly awesome panels, but that the con’s main shortcoming was the lack for opportunities to dance. Dark Side does have a few panels that I’m really looking forward to—such as one on dark romance in comics and graphic novels and one on the corporate goth style of dress. But what I’m really excited about is the music and dancing.

Regarding what I’m looking forward to most, I have three words for you: Gothic Pool Party! Dark Side offers DJed dance parties at the hotel’s pool on Friday and Saturday evening. I basically plan on getting there Friday, dropping my stuff in my room, changing into my chainmail bikini, and heading straight for the pool. On Saturday, Vampire Freaks founder and DJ, Jet, is getting the goths to give into their musical guilty pleasures with an hour of emo and pop punk at the pool. Jet’s set had me ready to dance all night at the VF room party during Glimmerdark, so I know it’s going to be good. Throughout the weekend, other poolside DJs will be spinning everything from EBM to 80s music. It’s like club night combined with the carefree fun of summer (but without that dreaded sunlight)!

While I’m really looking forward to rocking out the Vampire Freaks DJs, I won’t be spending the whole weekend listening to prerecorded music. Dark Side of the Con has over a dozen bands that will be performing throughout the weekend. Some are Jeff Mach Event staples like my old favorite Psyche Corporation and the underworld celebrity Aurelio Voltaire. V. Nigel Taylor, lead singer of the gothic synthpop band Platform One (and professional Snape impersonator), will be doing a solo acoustic set that I’m really looking forward to. And to spice things up, Three Pints Shy—an Irish pub band that regularly plays at my local bar in Brooklyn—will be providing an alternative to sad and gloomy songs, since no con is complete without some good drinking tunes! I hope to spend most of my time discovering some new music, though. A couple of spooky bands that I only caught a glimpse of at Glimmerdark will be there, including The Long Losts and Jess-O-Lantern. And there are plenty more that I have never heard before!

While there will be no shortage of nighttime activity at the con, Dark Side has the big thing that Glimmerdark lacked: one main Saturday night event. In this case, that will be the Villains Costume Ball. Starting at 11pm after most of the other activities have ended, the ball features a costume contest and a night full of dancing with Vampire Freaks DJs. I’m not sure that I’m going to participate in the contest, but Jeff Mach Events always bring an impressive crowd in terms of costuming, so I’m sure it will be spectacular to watch. I can’t wait to see everyone dressed up in all their evil gothic finery!

Are you going to Dark Side of the Con? What are you looking forward to about the event? Let me know in the comments! And stay tuned, next week I’ll be interviewing Jet from Vampire Freaks.

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