Brickvention Melbourne 2020
We traveled “down under” for a seventh year to join AFOLs at the 14th annual Brickvention, Melbourne, Australia. A record crowd from the local public joined 300 AFOLs exhibiting their MOCs. Estimates are more than 18,000 attended the 3-day LEGO convention, Jan. 17-19, 2020.
This being the first major LEGO event since The LEGO Group (TLG) acquired BrickLink in the closing days of 2019, there was general interest in the subject. In response, during our general assembly presentation we talked briefly about it. We mentioned our continuing role as goodwill ambassadors for BrickLink. Also, we said that during our talks with TLG we were impressed by their respect and embrace of AFOLs around the world, including those in Australia. In our opinion, LEGO was ready to listen to AFOLs for input and viewed them as a valuable resource. Case in point was the collaborative BrickLink/LEGO AFOL Designer Program (ADP) in which more than a dozen commercially viable LEGO sets were crowd-sourced and produced -- from concept to design, to production and distribution -- in a record few months. We said AFOLs have never been better positioned to have their opinions and preferences heard and considered by LEGO itself.
We also talked about our project to re-create in LEGO the Dan Jezek Country House MOC project, which is in the concept and prototype stage. It will permanently memorialize the farmhouse in Borotin, Czech Republic, where Dan grew up and built his first LEGO set as a child. We wrapped up our portion of the program by helping auction off a Skyline Express set from the ADP, with all the proceeds going to a relief fund set up to help those impacted by the devastating bush fires sweeping across Australia.
Annaleise Ronzan and Cris Ruhr MC'd the program this year. The volunteer committee put together a terrific show. The Friday night hi-jinx entertainment and cocktail hour was a big hit again for all in attendance.
Of course plenty of MOCs and exhibits were on display over the three days. Brickvention was once again sponsored by the local Melbourne LEGO users group – MUG – and we were honored again to be among Brickvention's official "supporters" (sponsors), in the name of danjezek.com. A major contributing sponsor was Rover Lawn Machinery and the venue remained the sprawling and historic (circa 1880) Royal Exhibition Building in the heart of one of Australia’s most inviting and liveable cities. If you love LEGO and fun and hospitality as well, this is a wonderful event that’s never too far away to consider a visit during our (US) winter (their summer).
Eliska and I auctioned off this BrickLink AFOL Designer Program set for charity, in this case relief for those impacted by the massive bush fires that ravaged Eastern Australia. The set drew a winning bid of $750 to go toward relief.
Sponsors and organizers of Brickvention 2020. (L to R) Jason Chicon, Adam Jensen, Michael Peebles, Andrea Lansley, Larry Hawthorne, Nicole McDonald, Annaleise Ronzan, Chris Hill, Eliska Jezkova, Michael Plowright, Cris Ruhr, and Travis Matheson.
The massive Melbourne Opera House represented here in LEGO bricks.
This MOC of a full-scale ride-along Rover lawn mower, with the real thing seen in the background, was the work of Brickvention AFOLs Michael Peebles and Cris Ruhr. Rover was a major sponsor this year.
This Winter Village told its own story of a day in an alpine redoubt.
A LEGO-Built 'Mean Machine!'
This Mech is from the game BattleTech. It’s the creation of Ryan McNaught, with nearly three years in the making.
Ready to invade, these two robot knights are about to launch.
Seiganto Ji Temple in Japan was a masterfully designed MOC with plenty of color and extreme detail.
This crawling red devil was probably the biggest scare of the exhibition
The entire AFOL community assembled for Brickvention 2020, ready for their close-up! AFOLs in green, Organizing Committee members in red, and BrickLink Ambassador in white.
Our display at Brickvention
At our display table, Eliska exhibits here BrickLink front page MOC and other icons Dan created that are still found on the website. The mosaic of Dan was a gift from Diane Winbanks and her daughter Lauren who built the portrait from their own design.
'Dressed for the Friday Night Occasion!'
The Friday night cocktail gathering has become a traditional part of Brickvention. Organizers, supporters, builders and designers let their hair down and participate in a humorous program of hi-jinx and comedy. The custom is to dress as outlandish as possible and make the most out of a raucous evening of laughter and hors d'oeuvres. Eliska joins with Emma Robinson who dons appropriate garb for an evening among the bricks. This is her "blue" 2X4 LEGO outfit.
And 'Dressed for the Abrasion!'
'Oh the Humanity!'
Travis Matheson (l) poses with Eliska Jezkova during yet another entertaining evening cocktail event at Brickvention. Meanwhile, somewhere in Melbourne a stage prop rental shop is on the lookout for a missing outfit, but happy it finally found a temporary home. Oh, the humanity!
We had a great time at Brickvention 2019. See you again next year, Melbourne!
Note: Thanks to Alec Mead, the "Rock Doc" who in addition to being a good friend is also a great photographer. Appreciate the loan of some of his great photos.