Vape Jam UK just happened, were you able to go? What were your thoughts on the event?
Last years Vape Jam UK was the first vaping event I had been to and I really enjoyed it (You can read about it by clicking here). Since then I have attended quite a few different events some larger and some smaller. So, I think I now have an idea of how these things go and what to expect.
So with me breaking my vaping event virginity at Vape Jam UK 2 I thought it only right to reignite that moment by going back this year. This year wasn’t going to be so daunting because through all the events I had attended last year my list of people and companies had grown a great deal. I had a whole list of people I was going to meet and say hello to. The week leading up to the event I was getting really excited, like a child waiting for Christmas to arrive (yes, I became quite kid like, ask my wife). It lead up to the night before and I struggled to sleep.
On the morning of the 8th April I jumped out bed (well crawled out) after a disjointed nights sleep which wasn’t down to the kids for a change, I got myself ready and on a seven fifty four train to London. Vape Jam UK 3 was being held in the same block of the ExCel Exhibition Centre as last year, though this year the pass collection desks were inside, so we had to wait for the doors to open to sort out our passes. I had arrived at about nine forty five and there was already a substantial queue.
There was a lot more signs this year requesting that people not to vape in the boulevard and in fact the majority of people respected the signs which was good to see, this wasn’t the case last year. With this in mind, I wanted to have a vape so I popped out the front, the queue could wait by itself.
While I was outside I met a YouTuber called SirVapingAlot and we had a really good chat about what each of us did, lovely bloke, he did several Vlogs about the event and you should go and check him out at http://www.YouTube.com/SirVapingAlots or click here. I am in his day 2 Vlog, you can see why I don’t get in front of a camera, stick to the writing VP.
I decided that I would go and join the queue, it had to be done. As I was walking down the queue I bumped into Tommy from VapeFINDR and a couple of his colleagues. Tommy is a top bloke and we have met at every event I have attended, our first meeting was back at Vape Jam UK 2. I suppose in a way it was our Broversary.
At pretty much the same time Michael from Twelve Monkeys was filming the queue and saw me, came over and gave me a hug, which was awesome to see the guy.
I spoke to Tommy for just a little while longer and then went to join the queue, I then met John from Crystal Cloudz who I had done review of their line which was printed in the Vape Jam UK issue #07 of Subohm Magazine. We were both rather excited to see that. If you didn’t get to see the magazine you can always check out the review by clicking here.
The doors opened exactly on eleven o’clock and it didn’t take long to get in and as I walked into the event I was greeted by Charlie and Josh from Subohm Magazine, it was great to see them, a quick hello and a promise to meet up later, I have written several aritcals for them, you can check them out and the rest of the magazine by clicking here.
Subohm Magazine were the media partners for the event, a great achievement for a magazine that have or are celebrating their first year in publication.
The first idea was to take a walk around, get my bearings and then start investigating the different companies afterwards. First impressions was that it was really well spaced out and with out the bottle necks that I have found at other events. As the days progressed it seemed rather full between twelve and three but not uncomfortably so. It did feel that people seemed to move around quite evenly with only a few stands being ridiculously over flowing.
In the most part this worked out, but I did keep bumping into people I knew. Firstly I walked past The FUU and Jean was there, an old friend from previous events and I have done a couple of reviews for them, if you’d like to check them out then the first one click here and the second one click here.
I then bumped into the team from iFancyOne.com who bring us the delights of Wick Liquor, Daily and their original range Tootin Juice. I said hello to Jon first as I have met him at several events throughout last year and apart from being a lovely bloke, has an awesome beard. I then met Charlie for the first time and he went through some of their new juices and explained some of the changes to a couple of their others.
Outside the SMOK stand I bumped into Chris aka EmpireVapeCo and had a brief conversation about the event, it was really cool to meet him.
I also popped over to VapeBase the UK’s largest e-liquid distributor to see James aka @Everyday_vaper1 a guy I have met at nearly every event I have been too and he has now grown a lovely beard. Top bloke and is always a pleasure to speak to.
Moving on and I met the guys from a Dutch distributing company Hardcore Vapers and spoke to the guys about the different companies they were distributing for. One of which was Café Racer which I had come across before and thought very highly of. Two others that really stood out for me was Charlie Noble and Dvtch Amsterdam.
As I moved further round the event I bumped into some people who knew me, but I didn’t know them to start. One was Natasha from LE VAP, we had been previously emailing prior to the event and I went and spent some time with her whilst she showed me some of the new products they had. Natasha gave me some of the new products for the purpose of review, look out for them over the next few weeks.
I then moved on and went to see a company called Vapeothcary.co.uk and spoke for quite a while about the juices they had on offer and a small MOD that they had designed and made themselves. Embarrassingly they gave me a juice to try that I couldn’t workout what it was, can’t win them all.
As we finished talking there was a lot of hustle and bustle behind me in the Seminar Theatre which was directly behind me. One of the gentleman said “It’s Grimm Green”, I turned and there he was with Ruby Roo getting themselves comfortable for a session of Q&A. I hadn’t realised what the time was, the one thing I do notice about these events is the time flies.
Before I carry on, I feel I need to share something about myself, I use to check a lot of different reviewers about eighteen to twenty four months ago when I was looking around for new stuff. But now I very rarely watch or read other reviewers, for a couple of reasons, firstly because I’m afraid I do not have the time, I have two young children, I have a full time job which I work evenings and so I don’t see my wife during the week, so weekends are precious and I do written reviews which takes up all my spare time.
The second reason is I am like a sponge and I don’t want to have influences in my written work. I would find myself watching VapingwithVic and then I would try to write something and my internal voice would be speaking with a Scottish accent or watching GrimmGreen and finding my internal voice talking in an American accent, what the hell is that all about? Go figure! (there you go, my internal voice is now an American accent and I’m using American phrases). I would also start writing phrases that these guys use.
Leading up to the event I knew that GrimmGreen and RubyRooVapes were going to be at the event and doing a Q&A session on both the Saturday and the Sunday. Now, I knew all about Nick aka Grimm Green as I was already subscribed and I had in the past watched some of his videos and with 323,930 (I’m the 284,233 subscriber, I’m joking, I have no idea) makes Nick the third most followed Vaping Youtuber in the world and the second in the US. RubyRoo with 84,454 followers, who I wasn’t aware of and so did a little Instagram stalking and watched a couple of videos prior to the event. Together they do a podcast – Culture of Clouds.
Sitting and listening to people talk isn’t normally my thing, so as they started to talk I took a few photos (poor ones) for this blog and was going to move along. I suppose wrongly, I assumed with them being ‘Vaping Famous’ that they would be a little closed off and just go through the formalities, how wrong I was.
Both were really open, expressive and looked like they wanted to be here and enjoying it too. There was certainly a lot of plugging of their products but it was done in a warm and funny manor. There were lots of questions about vaping, drinking and Star Wars, all being answered with great detail. they both had some excellent humour and I found myself drawn in for the whole hour. I should mention that Kent aka Twisted Messes was also there looking after the microphone for the questions from the crowd and certainly added to what was a very entertaining experience. I think what also showed was that they all seemed to be great friends.
I think I should mention BACON, Ruby, tut tut tut, don’t you know bacon is like the Holy Grail in the UK? In the bacon’s defence, you probably had hotel bacon which is cooked on mass and then left to keep warm, not the best way to have bacon by a long way.
Once it had finished and they got up to leave, a large crowd gathered to speak to them personally and take selfies. I thought I’d leave them be, I just had this overwhelming desire to go and ask them to go for a beer. By the end of the Q&A it just felt like I wanted to become friends with them.
There were people queuing up to speak to and have selfies with Dean the VapingBiker too, I thought I would go and say hello. As it got to my turn, I oddly walked up to Dean complimented him on his beard and said “cool to meet you” and as he geared up to have a selfie with me I walked away, I don’t know what was going on in my head, somehow got nervous at the situation, so I never got my photo for my blog.
For the rest of the afternoon it merged into walking around and talking with different companies and watching what was going on. I was saving certain things for the second day, including the Modders Block.
Before leaving I decided to pop in and see Michael from Twelve Monkeys, who was really pleased to see me and we spoke about the new juice that they will hopefully bring out this year, which I think is amazing. We spoke about what was happening in Canada with Bill S-5. We also had our, what has become customary selfie. I have done a couple of reviews for Twelve Monkeys if you would like to check out Discovery & Intelligence ranges click here and for Triumph click here.
Once I was checked in, got myself settled and had rang home to check on my wife and the kids I headed down to the restaurant to get something to eat. On my to the elevator I bumped into Jon and Charlie from IFancyOne.com and found out that the team were staying in the same hotel, we had a moment of reflection on the day and went our separate ways. After dinner I went back to my room, freshened up and got ready to go out for a couple of beers.
I fancied a beer and a vape and as the hotel didn’t allow vaping inside, I decided to go to The Fox which was just around the corner and had a beer garden, win, win. The beer garden was full of people who were attending Vape Jam including the Vaping Biker and the guys from The Ideal Ohm Show. I did find myself a point of interest for one lady who had had a couple glasses of wine and wanted to man handle (or women handle) my beard, she was very polite about it and so I duly obliged.
I had a couple of pints and then headed back to the hotel. On returning to the hotel, quite a crowd had accumulated so I decided that I would have another beer. Low and behold the lady who had been so interested in my beard was standing at the bar with her husband and friends. I started chatting with the group and funnily enough the subject was beards, though we were all vapers. The conversation did move on to vaping and I was to find out that I was in fact speaking to the creator of Valhalla Vapes. We all went outside for a vape and I bumped into Charlie of IFancyone.com again and we had a great chat about what Charlie’s does and talked about the production of eliquid, I found the conversation fascinating. I know about juice, I know what I like, I know what I don’t like, but I don’t know much about how it comes together in a large scale environment. I would love to go and see how these things work and come together, I think I would find it most interesting – there it’s decided a vaping goal, something for me to sort out in the future.
So after four more pints than expected I headed to bed.
The day started a little fuzzy, but after a good English breakfast (twice) and a hot shower I was ready for day 2.
I headed off back to the Excel excited for the second day. As I walked down the queue that was already gathering at great pace and at length I heard a shout. It was Dean TheDevilVaper, a fellow reviewer and someone I met a year ago at the last Vape Jam. We do keep in touch through Twitter but it was really good to see him and have a catch up face to face and we were able to do that as there was still some time until the doors opened. Someone I highly recommend going and checking out, a great reviewer.
Whilst we were waiting and chatting, Kev the TelfordVaper walked past with some friends it was a quick hello and I then had a catch up with Kev later in the day.
I headed over to the Modders Block, I was a little wary of going over as I knew I was going to see something I liked (and I did, many things). There were a lot of beautiful devices mainly Mechs but all made out of all sorts of materials. This was a great addition to the show which wasn’t present in the last show and if I had had the money I would have spent it here for sure.
I did find myself walking in circles a little bit, until I came across House of Vapes London, a distribution company with brick & mortars. I had done a review of one of the companies they distribute in the UK – The FUU and I wanted to check out what else they were distributing. I met a lovely bloke called Ben who kindly showed me around the companies they were showcasing at the event and I was really impressed, so there will be a couple of reviews coming from them as they kindly gave me some samples for the purpose of review, so watch out for them coming out soon.
On my walk rounds I had gone past Eco-Vapes on a number of occasions, but I had been looking out for someone particular and hadn’t seen him so passed on by. This time I passed I spotted Brett and went over to greet him. I met Brett at the Vaper Expo last year and it was great to have a chat. We chatted mostly about the pending TPD coming in next month and how ready the company was and how unready a lot of other companies seemed to be.
After saying goodbye to Brett, I went to get some water and bumped into Josh from Jack Rabbit Vapes they make the most wonderful juice, Banoffee Pie you should check it out. If you’d like to check out my review please click here.
I found myself by the NNA (New Nicotine Alliance) stand and David Dorn was present, I had wanted to meet the bloke as we had spoken briefly on twitter last year. A great bloke who has a lot of passion for what he believes in. Please go and show your support.
After walking around for a while a bumped into Dean again and low and behold Steve of Steve Vape Reviews was standing with him. I love this bloke, only met him the once before briefly (and so was this meeting) but I speak to him regular on Twitter, a top top man, down to earth, tells you how it is and a great sense of humour. Shame that the meeting was to be short lived yet again.
After saying my goodbyes I knew that GrimmGreen and RubyRoo were going to be on again, so I headed over to see them. It had already started so I stood at the back to listen, a seat became available and I went to sit down.
As it had been the day before, they were funny, engaging, answered the questions, took the mick out of Kent (Twisted Messes), a little self promotion and they knew there stuff. However there was no mention of bacon today. With all the talk of beer I do believe they need to come back to the UK and venture out of London and find the real beer of the country and cider for that matter.
Once again I thoroughly enjoyed the Q&A session, as it finished everyone gathered round to get selfies and signings. I hung about, with questions going around in my head, I don’t need to meet them, I want to meet them, leave them be, let them enjoy there own space and time. But then I thought, I really wanted to say hi, they had made an impression on me and why shouldn’t I have a memento of one my highlights of the show.
I stood and waited and waited, I even got close to Nick but others seem to barge forward, I waited a little longer and then it was my moment “Hello, I think I’m just too British” I said. Nick laughed and said “Too British? Do you think so?” I said “Yes, I’ve kinda stood here and let people through” Nick said “I saw that”. We smiled, shook hands and took a selfie.
With Ruby, just as awkward as I can be, but we spoke about her next visit that she should venture out further a field, as the rest of the country had a great deal to offer, we also had a selfie right in front of the Suicide Bunny stand.
My Thoughts on the event
As a whole I thought the event was a much more balanced and a better atmosphere than last year. It seemed more spacious and though there seemed to be a lot people there, you were still able to get around freely. I think that there have been some excellent additions with the Seminar Theatre and the Modders Block which has added diversity to the event.
I think for me not to have mentioned the centre stage and the giveaways is a really good plus point, it seemed to be a focal point last year and this year, well, I didn’t really notice it going on.
With the Seminar Theatre they have introduced something that was in my eyes well attended and well thought out, which the organisers came under criticism for last year, when some people didn’t get the opportunity to talk who should have.
With the popularity of Mechs on the up, the welcome addition of the Modders Block certainly opened up a whole new section to some people who may not get the chance to see such devices, other than on computer screens. I found everyone very helpful and informative.
At the event and following the event there has been the question on whether there was enough hardware vendors on show. For me and didn’t see such a problem but felt there was a lot more on show than last year, certainly a lot more of the larger companies.
As for juices, I don’t think that there was as many companies that stood out, other than the ones mentioned. I think that this maybe for a couple of reasons. With 100 juice reviews under my belt, I try a lot of juice and have come across a lot of companies so there may not be the wow factor that there was back at last years Vape Jam. There was some great juice on offer and some of them I am yet to try, so watch out for a few reviews coming your way. The biggest plus point of the event with regards to juice there was very little Strawberry Cream, YAY!!
The biggest disappointment was large companies running out of juice, most notable Suicide Bunny who ran out and went at lunch time on the Saturday. Just came across very poor and a lack of care for the event and the UK customers.
Apart from seeing all the old faces, friends and companies I have seen, my biggest highlight has to be seeing and listening to GrimmGreen and RubyRooVapes, I’ve come away with them both leaving a strong impression on me. I found them extremely funny, down to earth, grounded people who I just want to go to the pub with and have a laugh. I came to the show thinking they were ‘Vape Famous’ and gone away knowing that they are just normal people like you and I – But funnier.
I look forward to seeing their juices hit the UK shores and hope that maybe I might get the chance to review them. A reviewers juice line should be good, right?
Check them out on social media;
I have had an excellent weekend and would like to thank P-Vaper and his team for thinking about and changing some things for the better this year, I could certainly tell.
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If you think that there is a juice/vendor out there that you think I should try or you are a company and would like me to do a review, you can contact me via the following:
Have a dapper day cloud chasers!