Talking The Return Of Phoenix Fan Fusion With Matthew Solberg

Recently I spoke with Matthew Solberg about the upcoming return of Phoenix Fan Fusion. The full interview will be in our next magazine issue but here is a sample.

What can you tell us about what is new for the show this year?


This is our return to live events after a three-year delay, so simply having a show in 2022 will be new, over 2022 and 2021. We’re returning Badges to the convention, as it’s been an item requested by attendees due to their collectible nature. Badge Redemption is moving outside to each of our secured three entrances, which will make it convenient to arrive at the convention, pick up your badge, then head through security and be able to experience all we have to offer. We’ve converted previous paid events, such as Burlesque and the Dragstravangza, to being free events with your badge. We’re also presenting more After Dark Parties and theatrical shows, so the fun continues after the Exhibit Hall closes. We’re consolidating the third-floor exhibitor hall into the Lower Level Exhibitor Hall & Hall of Heroes, which has been a longstanding request from exhibitors and actors, and I think that will create great energy in the hall.


How has the time off due to Covid affected the show and planning?


As expected COVID impacted Phoenix Fan Fusion, just like everyone else, from us, having to rebook all of our invited guests, to recruiting new staff to replace those who had to step down due to work, moves, or other life reasons. The upside with this extra time is we reviewed all aspects of the convention in anticipation of our return, to ensure we’re delivering the type of high-value event that we believe our attendees deserve.


Many shows in states such as CA will keep mask, negative, test, and vaccine protocols in place well into the summer season. What are the plans for the show?


We are following the Phoenix Convention Center COVID-19 Operating Plan which does not place any restrictions on attendees with mask or vaccine requirements. We encourage everyone to get a vaccine and booster and are supportive of mask-wearing. It’s good seeing COVID numbers decrease and the CDC’s updated guidance for mask-wearing, and we’ll continue to monitor the situation and make policy changes if needed as we get closer to the show.


Some returning shows have had some issues getting larger vendors and guests to be involved, what can you tell us about your experience with booking the show this year?


I’m not concerned about booking celebrities for our 2022 event. While it’s always a challenge booking actors for a convention, given their filming schedules, we have great relationships with many agents and have a solid idea of which actors are attending shows in 2022 and which aren’t. As for vendors: we have seen an increase in demand for exhibitor space, and are sold out of Creator and Dealer Tables, and are nearly sold out of Artist Tables and Exhibitor Booths. It’ll be a full house.


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