About Summer of Sonic
The Summer of Sonic is an event that brings together fans of Sonic the Hedgehog from all over the world. It is a concept that was created by the Sonic fanbase, out of a desire to set up a large meeting place for like-minded fans to chat and make friends. Its success has been so great that this fan-run project now gets official backing from SEGA Europe, and celebrities involved with the franchise are becoming aware of the convention.
2006: The Website
Svend ‘Dreadknux’ Joscelyne of The Sonic Stadium set up the very first Summer of Sonic event in 2006. Setting up a convention was unfeasible at the time, so the choice was made to set up a website celebrating Sonic’s 15th Anniversary, that acted as a portal for community members to contribute unique content. Over that Summer period, fansite webmasters wrote special articles, fangame creators made one-off projects, countless art pieces were submitted and interviews with Richard Jacques and Sonic Team were published.
Many Sonic fans asked for an annual Summer of Sonic website to occur in the same vein, but the manner of updating the website and administration meant that doing so would have been too much work. It would have also diminished the effect of celebrating the 15th Anniversary of SEGA’s mascot character.
2007-2008: The Convention
Over the course of the next year, Svend began to seriously consider launching a real-life convention for Sonic the Hedgehog fans. This was borne out of the many casual meet ups that occurred between community members during 2007. After speaking to Kevin ‘ArchAngelUK’ Eva of the new idea, the decision was made to use the Summer of Sonic name as a ‘fan brand’ and throughout 2008, a small group of dedicated fans pooled money and resources to stage the world’s first Sonic the Hedgehog Convention.
2008: Covent Garden, London, UK
When the Summer of Sonic Convention 2008 took place in Covent Garden’s Dragon Hall Trust, Kevin had long begun working for SEGA Europe as Community Manager. This, combined with Svend’s relationship with the publisher, resulted in an unofficial backing that allowed Sonic Chronicles to be played ahead of its UK release.
The Guinness Book of World Records: Gamers Edition featured in the event and held a World Record attempt for the fastest time in Sonic the Hedgehog 2‘s Emerald Hill Zone, Act 1. World reknowned composer Richard Jacques performed live in front of a captivated audience alongside TJ Davis (D:Ream, Sonic R) and Bentley Jones (Remix Factory, Dreams of an Absolution), and comic cult favourite Nigel Kitching attended to sign comics and meet with fans of Sonic the Comic.
2009: Brick Lane, London, UK
The Summer of Sonic Convention returned in 2009 to a new venue – Brick Lane’s Truman Brewery provided ample opportunity to hold many more people than the previous year. As a result, over 400 fans from the UK and beyond made the journey to see Bentley Jones perform a selection of hits live, alongside Q&As with Sumo Digital (Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing) and Sonic the Comic legends Nigel Kitching and Nigel Dobbyn.
A huge effort was made to include fan works of all kinds. Animation group Sonic Paradox created a video that was played on the stage, along with an introduction animation from popular creator Boozerman. The Red Hedgehog animation team had a special Summer of Sonic broadcast too, and an art contest was held to see who had the best drawing prowess. A cosplay contest gave fans the chance to dress up as their favourite character, while Sega gave attendees a chance to play Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games and Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing ahead of release. A special booklet, in the style of a Sega Mega Drive game manual, that contained artwork from past and present Sonic games was handed to each guest.