Lucca Comics & Games is an annual comic book and gaming convention in Lucca, Italy, traditionally held at the end of October, in conjunction with All Saints’ Day. It is the largest comics festival in Europe and the second biggest in the world.
Preparation for LC&G
Last year we spent the weekend in Lucca the week before LC&G 2022, so we saw a number of big marquees around the place. Parkrun had also been cancelled for the following week. So we knew it must be big. We had been told that most of the locals disappeared over the 5 days, businesses closed down, schools closed and accommodation prices were extremely high. But nothing prepared us for reality! The scale was something that had to be seen to be believed. A month out, most of the resident parking in the centro had been blocked, with a giant tent erected in the space. Accommodation, where available, was advertised at 10X the normal going rate. Chaos started to reign!
The preparation proved a little challenging for organisers. Not only was there copious amounts of rain, but gale force winds caused a little angst. On top of that, the cartoonists that had designed the posters representing the theme of the festival were twin brothers from Tel Aviv. This, combined with the fact that the Israeli Embassy was a sponsor of the event led to it being politicised. So much so that Amnesty Italia pulled out and the twins made the decision to stay away.
In spite of all of that, people arrived in droves and the event went ahead. They sold 324,000 tickets over the 5 days. You didn’t need a ticket to get inside the walls, only the exhibitions, so we assume there were a lot more people than that. For small area normally housing 10,000 residents, we’ll let you do the maths!
The first day dawned
We decided to go for an early run on the walls on the opening day. Firstly, to get it in before the walls were too busy and secondly to get a sneak peek at the spectacle that was to unfold. Despite the miserable weather, people stood in queues for hours to pick up their tickets for the day and in more queues to get into the displays.
With an enormous marque erected in “our” piazza, l’anfiteatro, we had a bird’s eye view of all the people dressed in costume waiting to get into the Netflix display. We were certainly glad we hadn’t booked tickets as standing in line for 2 hours to get said pre-booked tickets, followed by another hour or two for each exhibition would have been beyond what we could cope with. On the whole, we were happy to have stayed in town to see the spectacle. That is, apart from 3am when drunk people were yelling, garbage trucks were emptying receptacles and street sweepers were charging around trying to clean up the mess. When it wasn’t raining, we wandered around the walls checking out the costumes and some of the stands that did not require a ticket.
Getting by on two hours of sleep was a stretch, and after 4 such nights, we decided to head away for a break by the seaside.
Breathing a sigh of relief
We’re happy to say that as of writing, we are now getting a normal night’s sleep and back to running on the walls. There is a hive of activity trying to clear things away. And now the Christmas lights are going up….