DarkSpawn Social Media Manager, Content Creator & EAGamechanger
A week ago today the doors closed on epic.LAN 26, the first event of 2019 for the Kettering based grassroots LAN event. This was not only the biggest event so far, but also the first to include Rainbow Six Seige as a tournament. We sat down with Events Manager Mark “MRatedUK” Illingworth to find out more.
So Mark, how did epic26 go and how did it differ from previous events?
It was amazing! Watching people walk into the Arena for the first time and seeing their faces was an incredible sense of achievement. Over the course of the weekend, 70 volunteers pulled off what (the feedback suggests is) our best event yet. The scale was immense. We added over 100 seats, compared to epic25, and the event was a few tickets shy of a sellout. We couldn’t be happier with the support our community has shown and the trust they put in us.
And how did the UK Scene react to R6S being added to the esports lineup?
Having Ubisoft officially back us to operate the tournament really helped. We have worked with developers in the past but Ubisoft UK really helped us source talent and publicize the event. Seven teams put their money in and turned up to put together something brilliant. It also featured in our first ever live on-stage finals. The community praised us on the tournament and we hope to see them at many events into the future!
Speaking of community, the social side of epic.LAN is still going strong?
The social side of the event is our bread and butter. It’s where epic started all the way back in 2009. 66 people turned up to play games, hang out with friends and generally have a great time. It is the lifeblood of what we do. We used our regular social hall Lakeside but also added space for casual players in the arena too. We cater for everyone, and that’s what keeps bringing people back and attracting newcomers. This event was 10 times bigger than that first LAN, with over 660 attendees. It’s been an amazing journey.
What does the future of epic.LAN look like, and how do attendees shape the way events are planned?
After every event, we send out a survey asking what we did well and what we need to improve on. This allows us to feedback to our service partners and the volunteer team. In regards to the future, we have very ambitious plans. The majority of the team have full-time jobs away from epic, so the plans we have might be some time away yet. In June, we are back in our “regular” layout but if the community can prove that there is a demand for a big summer LAN then we will look at doing it next year. October 2019 we are back in the Arena and discussions have already started around how we can make 27 & 28 a massive hit with our community.
And how does epic.LAN differ from other UK events? Where does it fit in and where does it excel?
The UK has a very strong LAN gaming scene. The likes of AtomLAN & LlamaLAN do a fantastic job of bringing communities together and we like to think that we build on that social gaming scene. With our competitive gaming side, we bring gamers out of their bedrooms to compete in a way they may not be able to in a normal league or in day to day play. We work closely with a number of companies too, ESL for example, who chose to host their premiership conference during epic26. Our list of alumni doesn’t stop at players either. We have a long list of people that have started on the scene with us and subsequently moved on to do incredible things. Giving people that initial break into esports is something we have done for a number of years, and we want to continue to do that for many years to come.
And lastly; what do you want to say to anyone thinking about attending epic.LAN for the first time?
Whether you are a filthy casual or a hardcore esports player, we have something for you. With lots going on during the event including Fun Tournaments, the Pub Quiz, custom DDR mats, and our usual esports lineup, you won’t get bored. Get your tickets before they are all gone and we look forward to seeing new (and old) faces at epic27!
The next epic.LAN event takes place June 13th – 16th 2019 at the Kettering Conference Centre. To book tickets or find out more, click here. All credit for photographs goes to Katy Eyre Photography, kindly provided by epic.LAN.