Collective Con 2015

The Rash of Con – Collective Con Lands at Fairgrounds

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Collective Con Brings Nationally Trending Nerd Culture to Jacksonville

Nerd culture conventions are not just the fodder of late night talk show jokes anymore. The days of convention attendants being mocked for not having girlfriends is a thing of the past. In the last 5 years, the larger conventions, like San Diego’s famous Comic-Com, have grown so popular, you have to buy your tickets almost a year in advance or it’ll sellout before you even know what character you intend to go as.

Dragon Con in Atlanta has proven that this phenomenon isn’t exclusive to the west coast. Recently, Orlando’s MegaCon has even become a national contender. So the concept of bringing a convention of this magnitude to Jacksonville is not as risky an endeavor as it may seem.

“When we first decided to do this convention, we knew we wanted to focus on more than just one group of fans. We decided which groups we wanted to go after,” says Christopher Major, founder of Ocala Comic Con and one of the founders of Collective Con.

Collective Con Organizers & Cosplayers in the arcade at Hourglass Pub // Photo by Roxy Alexandria
Collective Con Organizers & Cosplayers in the arcade at Hourglass Pub // Photo by Roxy Alexandria

“Initially, we looked at what was currently going on and who we could realistically approach with a first-year convention. From there we created a list of who we would like to have at our convention and started to send out offers.”

Although a first-year convention, respondents were open to the invite because Jacksonville has some things to offer that other cities simply can’t match. In addition to being the first large-scale genre-crossing convention, serving sci-fi, fantasy, anime, cosplay, horror, and gaming fans, Collective Con also happens at the fairgrounds in Downtown, providing a variety of both free and ticketed attractions.

“Jacksonville gives the convention the room it needs to grow. It’s also a great location to have something like this because it gives us the opportunity to pull fans from in the state and also outside of it,” says Major.

Jacksonville has a lot of nerds and one of the fastest growing populations of millennials in Florida. This city is lousy with digital natives that grew up gaming. And Jacksonville has great weather, a gorgeous downtown, and of course, the river.

Max Michaels,  a local promoter responsible for events such as PIXELATED, and one of the con’s founders, says, “Our city has been fertile ground for nerd culture and a hot bed for smaller cons who cater to more specific genres like Anime or Steampunk. But there hasn’t been a con yet that speaks to the whole of the scene like some larger cons in other cities do. Collective will be the first to do that here.”

Unlike most conventions that are trapped inside of convention centers, Collective Con has outdoor programming to complement the convention experience.

Free Music Festival

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Also capitalizing on Jacksonville is the Collective Music Fest. Whereas founders like Max Michaels and Christopher Major are known for bringing cult and niche events to the area, the other members of the team, Mike Yokan and Jason Lewis, are experienced at staging big music events like The Big Ticket and Welcome to Rockville in the River City.

“The part of our convention that will stand out the most would be our music festival. We all believe that the Collective Music Fest will give us something different than the other conventions in the state. With each year, we plan to bring bigger and bigger acts,” says Major.

Jacksonville has a rich musical history, of course, but it also has a very active current music culture. So Collective Con is bringing a free music festival with national and regional acts to the extensive list of activities to make it more than just your traditional convention atmosphere (if there is such a thing).

“It’s not normal [to have a live music stage at a convention such as this]. Occasionally cons have live music performances, but probably not to this extent,” says Jason Lewis. “We booked bands like the Aquabats! and Peelander-Z that fit the convention scene, but also have a broader appeal.”

In addition to the national acts, there will be some high-quality acts that perform nationally, but live in the area. These acts range from the crunk/punk band Whole Wheat Bread to pop-rockers Sunbears! and more.

“We are also featuring nerdcore acts such as Willie Evans Jr., Tough Junkie, EyeQ, and others, that appeal to many in the con scene. The goal is to bring in people and create a true festival atmosphere. Go big or go home!” says Lewis.

Ticket & Hotel Info

Outdoor activities are free to the public. To attend the indoor convention events, including meeting the celebrity guests, you will need tickets. Single day tickets range from $20 to $55 (VIP) and 3-day passes range from $45 to $110 (VIP). Tickets are on sale now at

Special discounted hotel rates are available to convention-goers at the Wyndham Jacksonville Riverwalk Hotel and the Crowne Plaza Jacksonville Riverfront for a little more than $100 per night. You can book your room on the website ( or by calling the hotel and telling them you are attending Collective Con at the time of your booking.

Insider Tips – Must-Sees

Olde world fair

Food truck village

Beer garden

The old School arcade

Fire performances by Inferno Inc

Fighting exhibitions by Tamren Kessoku Unity and North River Amtgard

Philo Barnhart

Johnny Young Bosch

Phil LaMarr

Sara, Brittany and Rachael Frazetta-Taylor – Granddaughters of famous fantasy artist Frank Frazetta

Collective After Dark Events

Meet James O’Barr, creator of The Crow, as he hosts a screening of The Crow at Sun-Ray Cinema

Voltaire and Ego Likeness Live at Underbelly

Assimilate; Resistance Is Futile nerdy dance party with DJs, sexy cyborgs, space vixens, and a stage show.

Featured Guests (Alphabetical Order)

Mitsuhiro Arita – Artist: Pokémon Trading Card Game and Final Fantasy XI

Philo Barnhart – Animator: The Secret of NIMH, Disney’s The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast

John Beatty – Artist: Captain America, Punisher, Batman, and Secret Wars

Steve Blum – Voice Actor: Spike Spiegel on Cowboy Bebop, Orochimaru in Naruto, Wolverine in Wolverine and the X-Men & Amon in The Legend of Korra

Johnny Yong Bosch – Voice Actor: Ichigo on Kurosaki, Power Rangers, Trigun, and Bleach

Adelso Corona – Artist: Grimm Fairy Tales, Marvel, DC, Image Comics

Jeff Dexal – Illustrator: Marvel and Valiant Comics

Todd Haberkorn – Voice Actor: Natsu DragneeL in Fairy Tail, Death the Kid in Soul Eater and Italy in Hetalia

Michael Koske – Actor: The Walking Dead, The Originals, The Crazies

Phil Lamarr – Actor/Voice Actor: Mad TV, Pulp Fiction, Green Lantern, Futurama

Al Letson – Writer/Creator: NPR’s State of the Re:Union, Reveal, Imperfect

Caity Lotz – Actor: Sara Lance/Black Canary in Arrow, Mad Men, Death Valley

Bob McLeod Artist/Creator: Co-creator and artist for The New Mutants, artist for Hulk, Batman, Wonder Woman

Vic Mignogna – Voice Actor/Actor: Full Metal Alchemist, Star Trek Continues

James O’Barr – Artist/Creator: The Crow comic book series

Maryse Ouellet and Barbie Blank (formerly known as Kelly Kelly) – World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE)

Sajad Shah – Artist: IDW, Zenescope and Contraband Comics

Lew Temple – Actor/Voice Actor: Axel on AMC’s The Walking Dead, Adam Banjo on The Devil’s Rejects, Locus Fender in Domino, Mr. Furgus in Rango

Jerrad Vunovich – Actor: AHS Freak Show, Hunger Games, Fantastic 4

David Walker – Author/Filmmaker: Tokyo Tribes, The Adventures of Darius Logan, Dark Horse Comics series Number 13, The Army of Dr. Moreau

Larry Watts – Artist: Army of Darkness, Grimm Fairy Tales

Sam Witwer – Actor/Voice Actor: Aidan Waite in Being Human, Darth Maul in Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Davis Bloome in Smallville

Terrance Zdunich – Actor: Repo: The Genetic Opera, The Devil’s Carnival


Whole Wheat Bread
Whole Wheat Bread

Musical Performances


The Aquabats!

The Blonde Tongues


Cog Is Dead

Cougar Barrel

The Dog Apollo

Eye Q

Eyeshine – Rock Featuring Johnny Yong Bosch

Herd of Watts

Jackie Stranger

Mal Jones

Noise Complaint


Reveal Renew

Running Rampant

Snake Blood Remedy

Speaking Cursive

Stop Making Sense



Swingin’ Utters

Tough Junkie

Warning Shots

Weekend Atlas

Whole Wheat Bread

Willie Evans Jr

Wolf Face

photo: Roxy Alexandria
photo: Roxy Alexandria


Chloe Dykstra (Heroes of Cosplay), Heatheri337, Jennifer Ann, Candy Keane, and 219th Brain Surgeons – Resident Evil Cosplayers

For the full schedule, visit



About Jon Bosworth