This past weekend I ventured to BroNYCon at the Hotel Pennsylvania in NYC. I had been to conferences like GenCon and Comic-Con before, but this was different. Leading up to the event, I really didn’t know what to expect and was a little apprehensive. It appeared a little odd to me; a convention for Bronies, mostly males 18+ who are huge fans of “My Little Pony Friendship is Magic,” a show whose target audience is 2 – 6 year old girls.
I arrived 15 minutes after the convention opened and it was already crowded. I had help getting a press badge from the “Rabbi” and was ready to experience BroNYCon. I learned very quickly there were concerns about media, both from the people putting on the convention and the Bronies who have been mocked and made fun of in the media before.
The first thing you saw walking through was a line of about 15 tables with companies and artists selling merchandise. If you were a fan of My Little Pony and wanted something special, this was the place to find it. As I proceeded to the next room, there were a few more merchandise tables with some BroNYCon exclusives. However, the big attraction in this room would be the three actresses who do the voices of some characters on “My Little Pony Friendship is Magic.” Fans were lined up to pay good money for their autographs.
After taking a quick look at the main seminar room, I started to interview some of the Bronies attending (see the video above). I was wearing a Brony shirt so hopefully the attendees would feel comfortable talking to me. I first interviewed Alex, the Master of Ceremonies, and then had a chance to talk to numerous fans about their experiences being a Brony.
What did I learn about the Bronies? The majority of people there were men ages 18-30, and had normal careers. Most had something on to identify them as a Brony, whether they dressed up as their favorite character or just wore a Brony t-shirt.They were all huge fans of the My Little Pony series, feeling they are no different than a Star Wars fan or a Trekkie. The animated series is the main reason why they’re fans, and most had a favorite pony character. I also heard over and over that while they felt this series is for young kids, it was written in a way that adults could also enjoy (which is becoming more common among animated series and kids’ shows). There is also one website that they all read religiously: EquestriaDaily, a fan community about all things MLP.
I’ve been to many conventions before, but this had to be one of the most pleasant and friendly gatherings I’ve ever been to. Easily over a thousand people attended, there were long lines to get in and around the event, but everyone was happy to be there. The main presentation hall didn’t have an empty seat, all while there were over 500 people waiting to get in.
On the way out, there was a line down two flights of stairs and out the door of the hotel. Instead of being grumpy and complaining, the people in line were all singing a song from the “My Little Pony Friendship is Magic” together.
I’ll conclude with this: While I did find it a little unusual for grown men to be fans of an animated series aimed at young girls, these fans were passionate, good people who truly love the show. Different? Yes, but we live in a world of different people with different tastes.