As the global rollout of coronavirus vaccines provides much needed light at the end of the pandemic tunnel, what is the post-COVID pop culture events landscape looking like in 2021?

We saw some tremendously successful pivots to virtual formats last year as everyone in the industry worked hard to maintain those special and – in times of crisis – important links between fans and their most loved TV shows, movies, games, comics and more.

Without a doubt the next 12 months are likely to see a mix of virtual, live and hybrid versions of our favourite events, for both consumers and industry, with the overall landscape very much dependent on vaccination progress in individual territories.

Excitingly, where we are lucky enough to reconvene in a physical location, those virtual event learnings from last year will greatly widen audiences, especially at a time when there will be question marks when it comes to international travel.

So, what does the 2021 calendar look like as things stand? We’ve been marking our diaries with the below events – it would be amazing to see you at some of them.

London Games Festival – March 19-28

Now in its sixth year, the London Games Festival is now firmly established in the pop culture calendar, combining public exhibitions and business networking environments across the capital. This year, the event will showcase a range of unreleased titles from around the world and explore how games have aided players’ lives under COVID-19.

Metaverse – TBC Spring & Summer

ReedPop conjured up the virtual Metaverse last year when its New York, London and Birmingham Comic Cons couldn’t take place physically. And what an amazing success it was! Plans are still being hatched for 2021, but it’s been confirmed that a spring Metaverse in collaboration with New York Comic Con, Emerald City Comic Con, and the rest of the ReedPop Comic Con family, will be followed by more virtual Metaverse events in the summer.

PAX East – June 3-6

We’ll be shipping up to Boston this summer and if we’re not climbing the topsails we’ll most certainly be at PAX East to celebrate gamer culture. The event’s organisers are keeping plans fluid, but the hope is that both this event and its sister convention PAX West (see below) will make a triumphant return.

E3 – June 15-17 (TBC)

Hosted by the Entertainment Software Association, E3 has changed dramatically in recent years, adding in consumer attractions alongside its traditional big reveals to industry.  A ‘reimagined’ event has been pencilled in for June, though we’re still awaiting an official announcement, so don’t book those flights to LA just yet.

Pocketgamer Connects London – June 21-22

The games industry’s traditional January curtain raiser has moved to a June slot and will run as a live and online conference that covers off not just mobile, but also PC, console, streaming, XR and the blockchain. Not to be missed if you want to stay ahead of the curve.

Develop Brighton – July 13-15

We missed our summer trips to the seaside last year and unfortunately that included Develop Brighton, which successfully transitioned its conference sessions online. The plan is for the event, and its awesome industry awards, to return physically to the Hilton Metropole on July 13th. We’ll see you in the bar

Game Developers Conference – July 19-23

Usually taking place in March, GDC continues to be the go-to global event for anyone in the business of creating games. In 2021, the San Francisco-based conference (in its 35th year!) will run as a hybrid format, combining physical sessions with an extensive online offering.

Comic-Con International: San Diego – July 22-25

A regular event (albeit with a few name changes) since 1972, Comic-Con International: San Diego has the following mission statement: ‘Dedicated to creating the general public’s awareness of and appreciation for comics and related popular art forms.’ And who are we to argue with that?

London Film & Comic Con – July 23-25

London Film & Comic Con will return to bring us our favourite stars from TV, film and comics as well as a whole host of fun activities, including photo shoots, panels, autograph sessions and hundreds of stalls full of TV and film memorabilia to browse.

Social in the City – July 31 – Aug 1

If you love online video and social media as much as us, then you need to be in London this August for Social In The City. The event will return with its unique mix of fans, influencers, creators, brands and industry for two days of learning and networking. It’s a brilliantly inclusive event that cuts across different media types – we’ll see you there!

Gamescom – August 25-29

After last year’s purely digital event, it’s hoped Gamescom will be return to its Cologne home in 2021, though for now there’s no official confirmation of whether the event will be physical, virtual or hybrid.

PAX x EGX Digital – September TBC

What happens when two of the biggest events in the games calendar can’t happen physically due to coronavirus? Well, you combine them into a single virtual experience, of course. Our hope is that both events can take place in real life once again in 2021, but don’t be surprised if PAX x EGX Digital carries on as a lovely bit of digital brand extension.

EGX – September TBC

2020 saw EGX and PAX combine for a great big digital event – there’s no official word yet, but hopefully we’ll see a return of the awesome EGX (and sister indie event Rezzed) to its physical Tobacco Dock home in London this September.

PAX West – September 3-6

Along with its Boston-based sister event (see above) PAX West is a festival for gamers of all genres to come together and celebrate the culture of gaming. Organisers will be revealing more details about format and line ups in due course, but we’re already excited.

PAX Australia – October TBC

We don’t have firm dates yet for the return of PAX Australia, and much will depend on how PAX East and PAX West play out in terms of dates and formats. But fingers crossed we get to return to lovely Melbourne this year!

New York Comic Con – October 7-10

Having joined MCM Comic Con London in the awesome virtual Metaverse in last year, we’re looking forward to a physical return in 2020. It’s always a special event in the calendar and an amazing opportunity to connect with fans from across the pop culture spectrum.

MCM Comic Con London – October 22-24

The biggest pop culture conventions in the UK, the MCM Comic Cons draw in tens of thousands of fans every year to celebrate the worlds of movies, games, comics, anime, TV, gadgets, clothes and toys. The digital Metaverse event last year was awesome, but we can’t wait to get back on the show floor.

MCM Comic Con Birmingham – November 13-14

And of course, right after the London event is MCM Comic Con Birmingham. We’ll be heading straight up the M1 for a full weekend of pop culture fun.

Comic Con Liverpool – November 13-14

It’s going to be a busy weekend, but we’re going to try our best to visit both Birmingham and Liverpool for both of the awesome pop culture events each city is hosting. Road trip?

VidCon London – TBC

VidCon is the world’s largest event for fans, creators, executives and brands who are passionate about online video and building diverse communities. Having started out life in the US, the event has expended globally, including London. The 2020 UK incarnation ran in February pre-lockdown and like everyone else we’re awaiting confirmation of dates for this year with bated breath.