A guide to surviving Dragworld UK

Dragworld- the Mecca of drag here in the uk and our closest thing to DragCon (but better because it’s here in the uk). From its beginnings in 2017, this incredible 2 day convention went from strength to strength last year with a much more diverse lineup, more uk drag artists and a bigger space!

But what can you expect from Dragworld if you’ve never been before? Well I’m here to install some knowledge and tips that I’ve picked up from going to both years conventions.

As the resident dad of our group and a huge nerd, I like to have all my paperwork and information in one place! Introducing Nathan’s Purple Folder! It’s a lifesaver for me. All my tickets and information for the weekend ahead are in one place and it doesn’t take up much space. It is famous in my circle of friends.

*Location, Location, Location
Dragworld is right next to an easily accessible tube station. You literally have to cross the road and you’re at the venue. There are also lines on taxis just outside the venue door available all day and quite reasonably priced.

There are plenty of places to stay in close proximity too. Obviously if you go with friends, you can make your accommodation even cheaper. There are also lots of shops nearby so you can get all your essentials. And don’t worry about going hungry because there are an abundance of takeaways and cafes available. It is a perfect area really.

*It’s time for Meet and Greets
Dragworld is a great place to meet some of your favourite drag race stars. It was also good last year to see them branch out to Dragula too and not forgetting the incredibly talented UK stars! When a new star is announced, meet and greets go on sale a few days later. This happens regularly on the lead up to the weekend.

Phi Phi greeting hoards of fans. Photo by Sparkles

There is always a mad frenzy to snatch a meet and greet but don’t be upset if you don’t manage to grab one for your favourite.
You will find that people will be selling some closer to the time on social media so it’s worth keeping an eye on Facebook and Twitter. Also, a lot of the stars will be at their booths throughout the weekend. Queens like Phi Phi O’Hara, Ginger Minj and Jinkx Monsoon very rarely leave their booths unless it’s for a panel or a time tabled meet and greet.

The past 2 years has seen Autograph Alley which queens drop into for an impromptu meet and greet session, however all change for this year with more focus on the artists being at their booths. Be prepared to queue though for this, if it’s someone who you love, I’m sure the wait will be worth it.

The Music Panel, Dragworld 2018. Photo by Sparkles

When purchasing meet and greets, you will find a link on dragworlds social media to go to where you can buy them from. Enter your email address in the ‘promotional code’ section and this will then allow you access to the meet and greets when they go live. They usually cost around £10 each (maybe slightly more but not much more) and are limited so be quick!

*Panels, Entertainment and What else you can do!
There is so much more to do at dragworld than meet and greets. It really is the Mecca of all things drag. Last year, I kept my meet and greets to a low so I could explore the convention more.

There is always a full itinerary of panels covering a variety of topics. My personal favourite last year was one on mental health. These are incredible and it’s good to hear the panellists opinions on the subjects covered. They usually get very busy though so get there early if you want a good spot.

Dragworld 2017. Photo by Sparkles

There is also a whole host of entertainment and performances on the catwalk stage. We saw some amazing performances last year so it’s definitely worth a visit.
All the drag artists have their own booths selling merchandise and a lot of them will spend a lot their time at their booths, meeting fans and selling their stuff. Again, this is a good way to meet your favourites but be prepared to wait.

The market area is a beautiful place to visit for all your drag essentials and products. It is well worth a wander round to pick up some bargains. Don’t forget to take your purse though because you will spend, spend, spend!!!!!

*Stay hydrated
The venue can get quite warm and it can be a long day, especially if you get queuing early. It is important to take water and snacks to keep yourself going throughout the day. There lots of refreshment shops in the venue but it’s still a good idea to keep some things on you, especially water. I tend to take quite a few cereal bars and brioche as they don’t take up much room but give you that bit of energy if you’re flagging.
Stay hydrated kids!!!

*Dress to impress
If you’re thinking of dressing up, Dragworld is the place to do it! It is an inclusive space where you are free to be who or whatever you want to be.

If you want to experiment with your look, do it! You will see so many people wearing some amazing looks so feel free to try one out yourself!

And if you like someone else’s look, tell them! Pay the kindness forward. Ask them for a picture even! Just be nice! If I dress up, I love it when people ask me for a photo. It’s the best compliment you could get, especially aster you’ve spent so long putting the look together and built up the courage to do it!

*UK drag
Obviously you have your big American RuPaul’s drag race stars but you also have some amazing and talented UK drag to explore. Our ever growing drag scene is finally getting the exposure it deserves, last years dragworld really showcased that.

The Incredible Joe Black on the Main stage. Photo by Sparkles

If you’re not familiar with the UK drag scene, then do a bit of research. There’s loads of interviews, links and profiles on this very site. Dragworld announce the UK stars that are going to be there, so be sure to check them out. You won’t be disappointed. There really is more out there than the drag race stars.

They are all really friendly and approachable when you meet them so don’t be afraid to talk to them. My best piece of advice- check out their performances on the catwalk stage as this is where you will see them truly come alive!

*Make new friends
The build up to Dragworld is almost as exciting as the event itself. If you keep an eye on social media, you will see lots of people looking to make new friends as they’re going alone or just want a cool new drag crew.

Dysfunctional Drag fam with Phi Phi ‘O Hara. Photos by Sparkles

This is how I met the lovely girls from DA girls. You will also get chatting to new people in queues so just be nice, be approachable and do some good deeds. Maybe offer to take a photo, give someone a compliment, there are so many little things that go a long way.

This is so important! If you are lucky enough to get a meet and greet, respect the artist you’re meeting, respect the staff working there (who are lovely by the way) and respect the other people in the queue. There are too many rude people in this world so go against the grain and be that well mannered, nice person.

*Have fun!
Dragworld is easily one of the best experiences ever! It’s a long 2 days but it really does fly by with all the fun you will have. There is so much to see and do, I know you will have the best time!

If you want to ask any questions, feel free to drop me a message. I will always do my best to help if I can. And if you see me or the DA girls about, please come and say hello. It would be great to have a natter to you.

Keep up to date with all things DragWorld on Twitter- @DragWorldUK

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Written by Contributor Nathan Warren

DragAdventures was born from the passion and the love for the art of drag. It's fueled by the combined chaotic forces and wanderlust of Kirsty and Sparkles, two European girls that reunite their powers to see as many of their favorite performers as possible and wanted to give all these amazing people a platform to showcase their talent.
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