Associate Opinion Editor
There is nothing quite like being a wizard.
Last month I had the chance to visit Los Angeles for Leakycon, a yearly convention related to all things Harry Potter. It was a chance to get away, see friends who had gathered from around the country, and nerd out.
I had previously been to Leakycon in 2011 when it was hosted in Orlando, FL. Like 2011, this one was situated near a Universal Studios theme park featuring a dedicated Wizarding World of Harry Potter section. The park itself is a treat that any fan should experience if they can. It’s much like walking onto a film set, if the film was covered in actors who never broke character and screaming fans enjoying themselves.
There is a magic in the air (pun completely intended) when you go to a fan convention. People are truly able to be themselves in a way they can’t be in their everyday lives.
And the panels! Oh, the panels. Everything from discussions about the nature of time travel and the place of morality, all the way to literary analysis of fan fiction.
But the thing that brings it home is the concerts. For two of the four nights, the main stage is packed for Wizard Rock concerts. Wizard Rock is a wide range of music that is connected to the Harry Potter fandom. Sometimes this can mean the band members can be portraying themselves as a character (as is the case for duos that make up Harry and the Potters or Draco and the Malfoys). Other times this can mean parodying existing music in a sort of Weird Al Yankovic style. Most of it is bands making completely great original music that just happens to be about Harry Potter. The stand out acts for me this year were two bands I hadn’t previously heard of.
Tianna and the Cliffhangers was for the most part a lone acoustic set except for a few songs. Tianna Mignogna has a sort of infectious passion that is lockstep with the attitude of the convention. Her songs range through several different fandoms and many of them hit on themes of LGBT inclusivity.
On the other side of the musical spectrum is Tonks and the Aurors. The band, fronted by Steph Anderson, is much more punk rock in style. She is unabashed about her feminist stances, which work their way into the lyrics and the rocking beats. Denim patch jackets and a large flag reading “HUFFLERIOT” bring it all together. If she can’t get you screaming “Yes All Witches” by the end of the night, nothing will.
On the last full day and night of the convention there is also the Esther Earl Rocking Charity Ball. While the rest of the nights have people rushing up to the stage like any other concert, this night was much more spread out. Which let me dance like a madman. I was still feeling it a week later.
There is no other convention like Leakycon. None of the others I have attended come close to capturing the same feeling of community that this one can. I can only hope that I can make it to next year’s when they go to Dublin, Ireland. If you love Harry Potter, I’d say you shouldn’t miss it.