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Brick Live 2019 - Birmingham

Early bird tickets for this year's Brick Live event at the NEC in Birmingham (31st October to 3rd November) are now available:

In a strange departure from previous years, they have done away with VIP and general entry tickets and now the day is split into morning and afternoon sessions, with the option to upgrade to a full day for an extra fiver. Now, having been twice before, it's certainly doable in half a day, but this seriously reduces flexibility in terms of travel times, as you are limited to certain arrival times if you want to make the most of the session.


  • nexandernexander Member Posts: 908
    At Glasgow last year everyone moaned about the vip contents, and those who wanted in early to get access to 'rare' sets from the retailers got a fright so dropping it is sensible.  Splitting the times up makes sense, lowers expectations of time spent as long as priced accordingly.  

    I'm happy it appears they aren't doing Glasgow, less time off work for me and means our Glasgow show is the only one in town, a fact I will be taking advantage of!
  • SeanTheCollectorSeanTheCollector Member Posts: 765
    The VIP benefits were rubbish last year. The whole experience was that much poorer without a major lego retailer there offering interesting freebies, i.e. Brickoctober sets.
  • Th1nDieselTh1nDiesel Member Posts: 591
    I agree that the VIP package was pretty naff, and it wasn't much better when I went back in 2015. The main reason we went VIP last year was for the early access, as with two young kids it's nice to get there early, before the crowds get too big. Obviously, that won't be possible this year, but I expect the afternoon sessions will be much busier than the mornings, so if we go again we'll go first thing. Though to speed things up, I'm tempted to leave the kids at home!!
  • HuwHuw Administrator Posts: 7,119
    Apparently there won't be an AFOL zone at all at this year's event. 
  • ShibShib Member Posts: 5,477
    Really? So is it just activities aimed at kids this time? 
  • HuwHuw Administrator Posts: 7,119
    Yes, pretty much.
  • nexandernexander Member Posts: 908
    ^oh the irony. 
  • Lego_StarLego_Star Member Posts: 2,144
    No AFOL displays? Really? That's the best part of Brick.
  • LegoboyLegoboy Member Posts: 8,827
    Presumably it would be like a trip to the Lego store, only with an expensive entry fee.  Cant understand that.
  • ShibShib Member Posts: 5,477
    I think that they are focusing on the hands on activities - which makes sense when you consider they were always more in the market for the family day out than AFOLs who want to see what other AFOLs have made. 
  • nexandernexander Member Posts: 908
    Lego_Star said:
    No AFOL displays? Really? That's the best part of Brick.
    This is BrickLive though, not Brick.  Different people.
  • LegoboyLegoboy Member Posts: 8,827
    Will be interesting.  I'm wondering how hands-on it can be?  The last hands on I saw had a large bucket of 2x4s to play with, an RC Technic set to whizz around (slowly) and a group of PS4s hooked up to play LEGO Batman.  Oh, and the marketplace and food hall, if you can call them hands-on
  • PaperballparkPaperballpark Member Posts: 4,270
    edited May 2019
    BrickLive has been geared much more towards kids and 'family day out' for at least a year now. I did two of them last year - Basel, which had about 5 AFOLs displaying (seriously), and Glasgow, which maybe had a dozen?

    At both it was clear that the AFOL content was secondary (if that) to the main experience. I'm very confident in saying that if you have a kid who loves Lego, you could easily be there the whole day.

    Yes it's 'just' hands-on activities, but there's loads of them - multiple brick pits including Duplo, Star Wars building tables, Minecraft building tables, City building tables, Architecture (white bricks) building tables, building map, and probably other stuff I've forgotten.

    And if they get fed up of building, there's dozens of games consoles for them to play Lego (and other) games, and Bright Bricks usually take their Warriorbots arena along, oh and Bright Bricks usually have a 'build a huge hippo' activity to do as well.

    To put it bluntly, they don't need AFOL content. It just isn't what the show is about. The show is about entertaining your kids for the day, and the kids are entertained plenty without needing AFOL models. 

    I've said it before and I'll say it again. AFOLs aren't the target market for BrickLive. Kids are. And the kids don't care about seeing AFOL content when there is so much Lego to play with.

    If you're a parent, all you really care about is if your kid has a good time. If your kid is happy, you're happy.
  • dmcc0dmcc0 Member Posts: 778
    A second BrickLive just announced for Aberdeen in September too.  Normally would be all over an event on my doorstep, but reading some of the comments above might not bother.  My kids maybe a little older than target audience for this, although my nieces and nephew would probably love it.
  • Th1nDieselTh1nDiesel Member Posts: 591
    I went to BrickLive at the NEC yesterday and despite little change in the actual content, it seemed to be much smaller than last year. I think much of this was down to there being fewer retailers, as there was just a single row this time around. 

    Much of the focus was on building and play; there was certainly plenty of opportunity for engaging with Lego bricks with themed areas (Star Wars, Minecraft, City, Architecture etc.) and the ever present brick pits.

    The kids had a great time, which is the main thing, but from an AFOL perspective it was not great. Many of the models on display were there last year, though they kept my daughter's interest, especially now she can read the fact sheets. I won two tickets and got two more from Wowcher, which made it feel worthwhile cost wise, but had I have paid full price I think I would have been disappointed.
  • kingstonjameskingstonjames Member Posts: 1
    I was at Bricklive on Thursday and, sadly, from an AFOL perspective, it gets worse and smaller each year.

    I thought the 2018 goody bag full of Fortnight pap was the lowpoint but then there was the 2019 show!  (I could have understood, if not forgiven, the goodybab being Minecraft based - at least that would be Legoish but what does Fortnite have to do with Lego?)

    I get that Lego is a children's toy but the gradual phasing out of AFOLs is surely going to cause them issues as retailers won't attend if there aren't AFOLs to sell things to.

    It seems bizarre that they have no AFOLs showing off their MOCs at all save for the Star Wars stuff that was there last year and the, admitedly very good, nautical and Paw Patrol models and I was somewhat pleased at the fact that all the video game stuff had been removed after seeing it seemed to be the main drawing point for younger visitors last year. Also no showing by Blocks Magazine or Brick Fanatics which stuck me as odd.

    But the retail though...

    Firestartoys were the only big name that I recognised and it's always good to see them there.

    The other retailers seem to fit into four categories:

    1) Charity Muggers which is really not acceptable at a paid event
    2) People selling minifigs  and polybags which is great for collectors and finding those figures you want
    3) Parts sellers that were few on the ground this year
    4) Vintage lego sellers - there was a MISB 6769 at one of these stalls that was very nice to see although out of my price range.

    The last few years there have been people there selling mini mocs and lots more parts and vintage sellers and I thnk this is part of the problem Bricklive is bringing on itself by cutting out the AFOL models.

    For me the highlight was always seeing those models and then spending my savings on weird and wonderful parts and that spark just wasn't there this year.

    By shutting out AFOLS - the ones with the buying power - they are only going to reduce the retailers more and more as no KFOL is going to spend several hundred pounds on vintage sets when there are newer ones for a fraction of the price and so the vinatge sellers and parts sellers are going to vanish into the night.

    I think this is pretty sad, going to the show was one of the highlights of my year and while I understand the direction the show is being pushed in it won't be long until the only things there are brickpits, Minecraft and a Star Wars zone which are great for the younger visitors but useless for the older crowd.

    Having said that though, a friend of mine when with his two kids (10 and 7) on Friday and they had a blast but  it's definately a show now just for families with nothing to draw in lone AFOLs.

  • DB361DB361 Member Posts: 299
    Whilst it is a shame for AFOLs, is having a Lego event specifically for kids really a bad thing? When you really think about it, there's quite a lot of shows and exhibitions that cater very well for AFOLs all around the country, and to be honest they're at venues that are prehaps somewhat better, as realistically you're never going to fill a hall at the NEC with exhibitors and their MOCs year in year out. Give me a wander around STEAM at Swindon over a hall at the NEC any day. But I can't think of many, if any other similar events to BrickLive, and given that ultimately Lego's general target audience is kids, I think you actually have to applaud BrickLive for finding what is a pretty sizable niche audience.

    So in all honesty I'm not exactly shedding tears that BrickLive isn't appealing to me anymore.

    From the sounds of it, BrickLive could almost get away with cutting the independent retailers right back to just half a dozen specialist Lego sellers, but they'd be far better off finding a replacement for Toys R Us. If Smyths or a Lego brand store were to set up a similar pop-up shop in there, I'm sure they'd do very well indeed. 
  • HuwHuw Administrator Posts: 7,119
    edited November 2019
    I think it's more a case of BrickLive pricing vending space way too high and generally being unpleasant to work with, which is resulting in it not being worthwhile for small retailers to attend.
  • PaperballparkPaperballpark Member Posts: 4,270
    See my comment back in May regarding AFOLs at Bricklive. Nothing that @Th1nDiesel and @kingstonjames have said surprises me in the context of what I said. Indeed I'm slightly surprised that anyone who read this thread would expect it to appeal to AFOLs 😉
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