Thought Bubble Comic Art Festival: Anticipation builds for Harrogate to host major comic convention

Thought Bubble Comic Art Festival, credit Howie Hill
Thought Bubble Comic Art Festival, credit Howie Hill

Anticipation is building following the announcement that Harrogate is to become the new home of a major comic art festival.

Thought Bubble Comic Art Festival revealed earlier this month that after 12 years of staging the event in Leeds it will now be moving to the Harrogate Convention Centre. It will be held on Saturday, November 9 until November 10. The convention of the 'UK's biggest comics festival' on average drew around 12,000 people to Leeds, contributing £7 million to the local economy, according to organisers.

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Steve Scarre, President of the Harrogate Chamber of Commerce said it presented another opportunity for retailers, restaurants and hotels to hold events and showcase what Harrogate can offer.

He said: "This is great news, especially with it taking place shortly after the UCI. I think it will be an opportunity to show off the treasures of Harrogate, and will benefit hotels, bed and breakfasts."

He added: "I am all for it, it's great that Harrogate has a new convention, and I hope it will continue to return in the years to come. It's certainly a positive way for the new director of the centre to kick things off in her new job role.

"Harrogate was on the map for conventions, we do need to get that back, and we'l have to work hard to see it happen. But if organisations like this can see what's here, and how we can do things differently to attract customers and make them feel welcome I think will help."

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The arrival of Thought Bubble will be a highlight for many, including Regie Rigby, owner of Harrogate's 'Big Little Comic Shop', Destination Venus, who hinted major events are planned to mark the event.

He said: "It's incredibly exciting to have a world class event like Thought Bubble coming to Harrogate - at Destination Venus we're really looking forward to getting involved!"

The event will feature a range industry, including co-creator of Judge Dredd, John Wagner, Co-creator of Rogue Troopers and collaborator for Watchmen, Dave Gibbons and Charlie Adlard, who has worked on the Walking Dead series since 2004.

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Festival director Lisa Wood said: “The convention centre has been so enthusiastic about hosting our event in the town and we’re hoping that the rest of the local community and local businesses will be just as excited to host us.
“The economic impact of Thought Bubble is enormous; on average we bring in over 12,000 people to the convention alone and £7million to the local economy in Leeds over the festival week.
“Local businesses really bought into the show and put a huge effort into promoting it and catering to the comics fans who came to the city as a result.
“After such a positive response to our move we’re confident that these numbers will increase year on year as we settle down in Harrogate so we’d love for local businesses and everyone in Harrogate to get involved in the run up to the convention. “

To find out more about Thought Bubble, or to purchase tickets, visit