When my boyfriend and I decided to move to California almost a year ago, we had a hard date in mind. We wanted to be in California for ScareLA as it was going to be Nightmarish Conjurings first time as press for a convention. To this day, that has been the best convention I have ever gone too and I hold that experience dear to my heart. The months following gave me opportunities to form friendships with the main people responsible for the success of ScareLA: David Markland, Johanna Atilano, and Rick West and they have shown me and my boyfriend kindness along with introducing us to the haunt and theme park community in Southern California. For that I am forever grateful.
When news broke a few months ago that David, Johanna and Rick were leaving ScareLA I was brokenhearted. What was to come of one of the best conventions I had ever been to? Luckily, I and many others, didn't have to wait long as an announcement was made that a new event was coming - Midsummer Scream! Not only was this going to be the premiere Halloween Event of the season, the success that they brought to ScareLA was going to be turned into a complete labor of love that would focus on the haunt/Halloween/horror community. As the days turned into weeks, Executive Director David Markland, Executive Producer Gary Baker, Creative Director Rick West, Producer Johanna Atilano, and Associate Producer Claire Dunlap wasted no time in securing some of the most anticipated events this Halloween Season such as The Queen Mary Dark Harbor, Knotts Scary Farm, Halloween Horror Nights Hollywood, and more!
As the dust settled and things began to calm down, I reached out to David Markland to see if I could talk with him one-on-one about the creation of Midsummer Scream and what fans (such as myself) could look forward to.
Shannon McGrew: As always, thank you so much for taking time out today to talk and answer some of my questions. How did you bring something unique and different to the creation of a new Halloween event such as Midsummer Scream?
David Markland: I started CreepyLA.com around ten years ago to compile what, at the time, seemed like only a handful of Halloween related events in the Los Angeles area, and through that I met Rick and Johanna with Theme Park Adventure, along with a whole community of people really invested in and excited by horror, haunted attractions and ghost stories. That, combined with my day job working in events led to me creating a number of projects, most epicly the newest one - Midsummer Scream.
SM: Midsummer Scream came together quite quickly, almost overnight, what challenges did you face getting this event together?
DM: Surprisingly few. While the event has a new name, our background in creating Halloween themed events and our network of friends is not, so the support that would typically take years to build was already there for most of the big names that we wanted to draw. The biggest challenge for us has been in improving on what we feel we've done awesome in the past.
SM: What makes Midsummer Scream different from other Halloween and/or Horror Conventions?
DM: There aren't many events like this to start with. There are haunt conventions, which cater to professionals who make haunted attractions, and horror conventions, which are usually meant for fans to meet stars of their favorite horror films. But Midsummer Scream is about showing the attendee they can make their own haunts in their home or turn themselves into a monster with makeup tricks, show them the best haunts to go to in October, and really serve as a launchpad for the Halloween season. We also have over a dozen on-site haunted attractions for guests to experience, and a ton of free classes, all included in the cost of admission.
SM: What are you most excited for fans to experience at Midsummer Scream?
DM: Our Hall of Shadows, with a ton of walk thru haunted attraction previews, is something I'm especially excited to see. We'll have home haunters building scares alongside big names like Larry Bones from Boneyard Effects. We also have our Museum of Paranormal History - almost a convention within the festival - made for people who like ghost stories and ghost hunting.
SM: You have already announced so many amazing things that will be at Midsummer Scream, can we expect some more surprise announcements soon?
DM: We plan to have our full schedule up by mid-June, but there's so much fun in saving some surprises til closer to the event I'd follow our social media and subscribe to our mailing list.
SM: As always, thank you so much David for speaking with me about Midsummer Scream and I know all of us at Nightmarish Conjurings can't wait to see what this convention will bring! If you haven't already purchased your tickets, go to www.midsummerscream.org and use the coupon code NIGHTMARE to get 30% off your general admission tickets to the premier Halloween Event of the Summer July 30 & 31!
If you are interested in learning more about Midsummer Scream or would like to subscribe to their mailing list, go to www.midsummerscream.org. You can also find them on social media on Facebook at www.facebook.com/midsummerscream, Twitter/Periscope @MidsummerScream and Instagram @MidsummerScream.