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The Summer of Sonic 2012 Logo

Summer of Sonic logo from 2012.

The Summer of Sonic is an annual convention focusing on all aspects relating to the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise. The event always takes place in London, England and was created in 2006 by computer game journalist and Sonic fan site owner Svend Joscelyne (aka "Dreadknux"), as the collaborative creation during July and August of a celebratory website in which submission of articles and media was open to anyone. This site was intended to be available indefinitely online, but due to difficulties in February 2009 with the Web hosting provider, it is currently unavailable.

Buoyed by the relative success of the initial event, Joscelyne went on to plan a one-day event to be held at a venue in London, England, during the summer of 2008. This gained the attention of SEGA Europe's Community Manager, Kevin Eva - known as "ArchangelUK" or "AAUK" to fans, who himself had been thinking of the possibilities for such an event and agreed to co-organise SoS. As a result the pair were able to secure a degree of backing from SEGA Europe though the event is closely tied to the online Sonic community and Joscelyne and Eva's hobby projects, fan sites The Sonic Stadium (TSS) and Sonic Wrecks. Since 2008, London was and still is the locale for the one-day Summer of Sonic event.

Joscelyne and Eva are considered the lead contributors to the convention's success, however the event relies on a great deal of community participation from volunteers. The Summer of Sonic is officially recognised by SEGA Of Europe and by the current Sonic Team, and following the success of 2008's convention this led to a more official presence in subsequent conventions. Other divisions of SEGA have expressed their wishes to host their own Summer of Sonic event.

The 4th Annual Summer of Sonic was held in London on 25 June 2011. This event will be the first in SEGA's SOS convention history not to be held in August. This is was explained by Eva at the 2010 event so that it can be as close to Sonic's twentieth anniversary (June 23rd) as possible. Guinness World Records 2014 Gamers Edition has listed Summer of Sonic as the first official fan convention for a video game character.[1]

SOS 2008 (August 9th)

The Summer of Sonic 2008 was held at Dragon Hall, Covent Garden, London, UK, on the 9 August 2008. Features from the event included live performances from Bentley Jones, TJ Davis and Richard Jacques. Bentley Jones also did a remix of the song 'His World' from Sonic The Hedgehog 2006 for the event as a gift to the fans. There were also playable demos of the then upcoming Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood, months before its release. Whilst Nigel Kitching writer/artist of Fleetway's Sonic the Comic also attended, signing autographs for fans.

A Guinness World Records Gamer's Edition entry attempt was also hosted, with fans competing for the quickest completion time of the Emerald Hill Zone, the first zone of the game Sonic The Hedgehog 2 the best time being 20 seconds by Louis Tsiattalou. Whilst other stage events included a fan quiz, and competitions including a Sonic fanart contest which was won by 10 year old Liam Ashcroft, he received DS Lite and a special Sonic medal.

The event whilst receiving little in the way of promotion managed to attract die hard fans from not just all over the United Kingdom and mainland Europe but as far afield as America and even Australia. Eva later commented to fans he'd been told that Sonic Team themselves had "loved" the idea and a 2009 follow-up was confirmed the following February.[2]

SOS 2009 (August 29th)

Due to the increase in exposure and numbers, the location of the 2009 event was moved to the Old Truman Brewery Boiler House on Brick Lane, London. It was noted by Eva that SEGA Europe were even more on board than before though in discussions with fans at an event for Sonic Unleashed noted the difficulty in improving the scale and professionalism of the event whilst maintaining the community spirit of the show. The Summer of Sonic now operates as a SEGA endorsed and sponsored event, with backing provided by SEGA but organised and run essentially in its entirety by Eva, Joscelyne and senior Sonic fans.

Events were slow in being confirmed for the 2009 show, due in part to the difficulty in securing the venue[3], however it has since been confirmed that Nigel Kitching would again be attending [4] the event alongside artist and fellow Fleetway stalwart Nigel Dobbyn. Dobbyn was chiefly responsible for the Knuckles and Tails spin-offs and side storylines that accompanied the main Sonic story.

In July Bentley Jones was confirmed to again be attending[5], whilst on 7 August  it was confirmed representatives from SUMO Digital, the developers behind games such as Sega Superstars Tennis and Outrun Online Arcade would be attending.[6] It was later confirmed by Eva that following on from the early showing of Sonic Chronicles in 2008 that both Wii and DS versions of Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games and Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing (also being developed by SUMO Digital) would be getting their UK public premieres at the event.

Other confirmed events at this time included a Sonic cosplay competition.

SOS 2010 (August 7th)

The third Summer of Sonic convention was held on the 7th of August at The Pavilion, located in Shepherd's Bush. Over nine hundred people attended the event.

The headline act for 2010 was rock band Crush 40 (Jun Senoue and Johnny Gioeli) who gave a one-hour live performance - their first performance outside of Japan. Earlier in the day, Jun Senoue also performed a short solo set, and both Senoue and Gioeli answered fan questions in a Q&A session.

Games playable at the event included the E3 demos of two unreleased games: Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 1 (Xbox 360) and Sonic Colors (Wii and DS). There were also several Xbox 360 booths featuring older Sonic games including Sonic Heroes, Sonic Unleashed and Sega Mega Drive Ultimate Collection. A Sonic & Sega All Stars Racing tournament also took place.

The Sonic Wrecks karaoke competition made a return from 2009, as did the cosplay competition, won in 2010 by a Dr. Eggman cosplayer.

SOS 2011 (June 25th)

At the end of the 2010 event, Summer of Sonic 2011 was announced. It was held on 25 June for the first time to coincide with the 20th anniversary of Sonic the Hedgehog, and not to be held in August when the previous three SEGA events (2008-2010) were held. The venue for this year's event was revealed as the Camden Centre in London. The venue opened from 9am-8pm making it the longest Summer of Sonic event ever. Reservations for the event opened up on the 1st May at 10AM British time and within 8 hours the event was sold out. The organizers announced that they are aiming to have more spaces open for people who couldn't make a reservation on the official website.

The special guests included writers of the Archie Sonic comics and Sonic the Comic including Tracy Yardley, Nigel Dobbyn, Ian Flynn and Nigel Kitching, Crush 40 guitarist and SEGA composer Jun Senoue, techno rock-band Julien-K, SEGA programmer Takashi Iizuka and the creator of the Sonic series Yuji Naka. Mike Pollock, voice actor for Doctor Eggman also attended although only as a normal visitor.

A showcase section was opened up to give the fans of past events to showcase their talent in both the art and musical areas.

A playable demo of Sonic Generations appeared at the event along with older Sonic games including Sonic Adventure 2 and Sonic Gems Collection.

During the 2010 Crush 40 performance, Johnny Gioeli announced his intention to return for Summer of Sonic 2011, but was unable to return due to scheduling issues.

The Wrecks Factor Karaoke contest returned for the last time but will still continue to run on Radio REDUX. The cosplay contest was won by Bekka "Silver" Jackson, a Silver the Hedgehog cosplayer and the prize was a limited edition Sonic 20th Anniversary statue.

An art competition also took place and a 2nd 20th Anniversary statue was also given away. A charity raffle was also held and £440 was raised for the Tokyo, Japan earthquake and tsunami that took place in March 2011

Also, a proposal was held, Antony Turner proposed to Carly Cridge, with a Chaos Emerald instead of a ring, as the diamond and emerald ring had been left behind.

SOS 2012 (July 7th)

It was revealed on the 2nd February that the 5th Summer of Sonic will take place on the 7th July in London. Details at this point are vague and the official logo has been revealed with similarities to that of the Sonic Boom logo which is the US's equivalent of SOS. The website for the event is now live and more information will be revealed over the following weeks and months

The venue for the event has been revealed as The Hove Centre in Brighton. The decision for choosing Brighton over the normal location of London was easy for the organisers as they wanted to avoid any clashes with the 2012 London Olympics in terms of hotels and travel. The first of the guests will be unveiled on the 4th of May 2012.

On the 13th May at 12:30 British Time, the first wave of tickets were open to registration. Within 3 minutes, the first wave of tickets were sold out.

Wave 2 sold out in 48 seconds and Wave 3 beat that by 20 seconds making this the fastest selling Summer of Sonic ever.

Confirmed guests include Jun Senoue and Johnny Gioeli of Crush 40, Sonic Team head Takashi Iizuka, SUMO Digital producer Steve Lycett and Nigel Dobbyn and Nigel Kitching from Sonic the Comic.

Features for Summer of Sonic 2012 include Club Sonic, a playable demo of Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed, a Q&A session with Takashi Iizuka and Steve Lycett and a fan artists showcase section where a select few Sonic fans will attend and show their fan drawings to the public.

The cosplay contest has returned for Summer of Sonic 2012 but has a few different rules this time it was judged by 3 judges and the contestants will need to fill out entry sheets upon arrival if they wish to compete. A memorable addition to the Summer of Sonic cosplayers were two people cosplaying Banjo and Kazooie (from the Banjo-Kazooie series), via Sonic and Sega All Stars Racing (although they admit to not even knowing about their inclusion in the game until during the event).

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