NeonFur was a great experience this year. I came into it with the right attitude. I was there to have fun and enjoy myself. NeonFur is different from FurDU it has its own feel. The weather was bad but that's something you can't blame on the organisers.
For NeonFur you can't go to it expecting FurDU 2.0 the convention has a more relaxed atmosphere and vibe. Some people are complaining about the lack of panels and structure. It feels like that's a very deliberate decision made by the convention staff.
I can understand the criticism and I wouldn't recommend NeonFur to new members of the fandom and people who don't have a group of friends who they can hang out with. That said, I don't mind the structure but it could be an idea to run a fursuit panel or just an icebreaker panel.
I can understand why they made the decision that they did. I found that I don't go to many panels at a convention as much as I did when I first started going to conventions. The convention is geared towards people who have a group of friends in the fandom and are comfortable organising a party.
What I think they did right was the three-day dealer's den, they had a headless lounge so fursuiters could cool off (yes, some conventions don't have one.) and the props and fursuit toys. Another thing that was spot on was the dance parties. They had good music, UV lights, smoke machines and bubbles.
Boxer Fox offered photo shoots that you didn't have to wait hours for. The NeonFur vibe was fantastic the team was friendly and respectful to attendees. NeonFur is about making new friends and meeting people. For that part, I got to know a few people better than I did before and met some new friends. You get out of NeonFur what you put in.
I also liked that the organisers respected the local fur community by having local artists contribute to their sponsor art and not just ship in overseas popular furs as a gimmick. Aussie conventions should do their own thing and not just copy those Yanks. Rippa and Esky are great convention mascots and I reckon they have a thing going on behind closed doors.
NeonFur has massive potential especially when ConFurgence is going through upheaval and Fursuite con (HCFC) has no dances, headless lounge and a one day dealer's den the only other convention options available are FurDU and the Western Australia ones.