AAUK Explains Summer of Sonic Departure

AAUK Explains Summer of Sonic Departure

Summer of Sonic co-organiser and webmaster of Sonic Wrecks, Kevin ‘ArchAngelUK’ Eva, has written a heartfelt open letter to the Sonic fanbase explaining his departure from leading the annual convention. Exhaustion, funds and career aspirations are all cited as reasons for the initial announcement on Twitter some weeks ago.

“[The] truth is all these years of being battered and battering myself with endlessly long hours for SOS I’ve just reached a limit and had enough,” writes AAUK in a statement on Sonic Wrecks. As an integral member of SEGA Europe’s Community Team, AAUK’s role in co-organising the Summer of Sonic has been nothing short of an extremely important one, arranging internal budgets and pitching the concept of the event to Brand Managers and other executives in the company.

Such campaigning is starting to bear fruit, as AAUK mentions the sudden interest from key members of SEGA Europe management during the execution of this year’s well-recieved convention. “I think you simply won’t need me by [2012],” AAUK writes, “Some SEGA/Sonic high-ups had actually been in the [2010] venue and already offered much more help than I got this year in securing wonders for you.”

Another reason is the inability to afford the costs of setup. AAUK contributes within the region of £500-1000 of his own money each year into the Summer of Sonic – while other members of the organisation staff also contribute a similar number, since 2008 the contributions AAUK has had to make has resulted in some “real financial headaches… I’m not THAT well off ya know and I’ve a family I need to take care of.

“I kinda hope by then I might’ve moved either onwards or upwards by the time people start thinking of an SOS12,” AAUK continues. “I don’t want to be Sonic Community Manager forever, I actually think I could contribute to the brand higher up.” Following this, he mentions his final and possibly saddest reason for leaving his role behind – the fact that he has simply lost the love for the event.

AAUK stresses that he is not exactly leaving the fanbase – “at least not yet.” Before parting with the announcement of a few final surprises to come for the event, the Community Manager finishes with thanks to “all the Summer Of Sonic staff who’ve helped so magnificently and magnanimously over the years – you’re all awesome sauce incarnate,” along with “all those who’ve come to SOS over the years and hey its not over yet – we’re just reaching the end of this particular chapter.”

Svend ‘Dreadknux’ Joscelyne: Speaking personally, as the creator and co-organiser of the event as well as a personal friend, I know that the Summer of Sonic event would never have become a reality without the knowledge, passion and dedication that AAUK has put into this project over the years. I may be so bold as to say that he is truly unaware of just how much respect and acknowledgement he has earned from everyone in the Sonic community for this convention, and everything he has worked for and achieved besides in his role as Sega Community Manager.

Ultimately his health, happiness and family come before anything else, and I would not have it any other way. He leaves the role knowing that he is directly responsible for helping create an event that touches so many Sonic fans’ hearts today. The Sonic Stadium, the Summer of Sonic attendees and the Sonic community at large salutes you, dude. All the best in your future Sonic (and non-Sonic) related endeavours.

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Dreadknux

Founder of The Sonic Stadium and creator/co-organiser of the Summer of Sonic convention. Loves talking about Sonic the Hedgehog in his spare time. Likes Sonic Colours a little too much for his own good, apparently.

12 Comments

  1. Completely understandable, I sort of suspected this was the case

    The Sonic fanbase can be (as the Mushroom Hill 3D video discussions show)…a not quite so easy fanbase to deal with. People have some crazy expectations of the franchise and as the official “voice” of the European side of things, AAUK has had to bear the brunt of it all. I’m sure it feels like a horribly thankless job at times and it must take someone with nerves of steel to take the critisism, the outcrys over how news is presented and constant pestering of release dates and stuff.

    Being someone who dives in and out of the community to avoid some of the fuss, I can understand after being so immersed in it all that AAUK needs a time out. Dude deserves a medal or something REALLY AWESOME for putting up with us crazy lot!

  2. There goes a great man. I’m not at all active in the online Sonic community, but I’d like to thank AAUK for his efforts in making this tremendous event happen. Good luck for the future!

  3. Fair enough chuck! Just like a certain Prime Minister puts his family before football, so you should put family before SOS! Let someone else take the reigns x

  4. The Sonic community couldn’t be more thankful for AAUK’s efforts and hard work. No matter what his future holds, we’ll always know him as one of the greatest people in the community hands down. He’s brought much joy to us fans.

  5. Thank you AAUK for making SoS one of the best if not the best Sonic convention around. Good luck in the future, and thanks for all.

  6. I thank you AAUK for giving us Sonic fans such a fantastic convention that has united us that much more. Best wishes for you and the family and thanks again for helping the first 3 Summers of Sonic being successful.

  7. Thank you very much AAUK, for all you have done in the Sonic community! You have contributed in great ways that we are all appreciative of. SoS is a fantastic event and everyone knows the pressure and hard work that goes into organising it. I wish you good luck in the future 😀

  8. I believe a few words from me are in order.

    First off, I reiterate what Dread has said. We are all incredibly grateful for the gargantuan amount of work AAUK puts into this event, and I think at times he is unaware of the praise he gets; especially the from the hail thanks we’ve all had this year. I hope AAUK can see the legacy he will leave behind, as SoS is no mean feat let me tell you.

    It’s not something we like waving in front of people’s faces, but Summer of Sonic does personally cost us a lot – and I’m not talking about SEGA money, I’m talking about our own money. Because we have so much going on, the budget is always strained, and as much as AAUK really does feed the five thousand with a fish and two Sonic baguettes (in-joke), we inevitably run over. Always. AAUK has thrown a hell of an amount at this event along with Dread to fund things like guest appearances; hotels, flights, transport all cost money. Heck, this year I had to hire keyboard, amps, cabs, keyboards etc… for performances. Not only that, a lot of the other staff have thrown in a bundle to help out where they can. At the end of the day, we do it because we are passionate about this fanbase – you guys. Speaking personally – this year it was worth every last penny as I think meeting Jun and Johnny, playing Sonic 4, talking to other fans and rocking out really made a lot of people’s summers.

    Unfortunately I think with organising any event, the madness of sorting every detail in the run-up has taken its toll on a lot of people – but none half as much as AAUK. It is fair to say this event has exhausted him physically and mentally. I am amongst one of the many people who are greatly concerned about that, and the state he’s been in after some of these gigs (last year especially). I resonate the thought that maybe this is probably a good thing that this is the final SoS for AAUK, health-wise definitely.

    Rather than making SoS a sombre occassion next year, lets make it a celebration of what it has become – not just something Dread and AAUK have created, but something that has grown from the participation of people way back in 2006 up to this year’s attendees – afterall this is a celebration of coming together to get all geeky about something we all feel passionate about – Mr. Needlemouse!

    Besides…we can’t all do this event forever right?
    Perhaps in a few years time you, the person reading this right now, will be on stage introducing Summer of Sonic 2020, or sound checking at Summer of Sonic: United States, or manning the airlock at SoS:Mars…ok maybe the last one is a bit mad…but you get what I mean. One day you might get the calling and contribute to this event what others have before you, and give back a little for the masses you’ve received over the last three years.

    Rest assured I think AAUK has only started something that has the potential to get bigger and better in the future…and for that I tip my hat to you good sir.

  9. I also wish you good luck AAUKand I salute before your incredible work as the community manager of the probably craziest fanbase of all time.
    Well it’s not over yet, but when the time comes, I hope you can look back on this chapter of your life and be content with it.

  10. It’s quite sad to read this. I read a few of his twitter posts a few weeks ago and it was clear he was struggling to get the words he wanted to say in the right context.

    It also makes me mad when I read a couple of negative reviews on SoS ’10 saying that “they didn’t get free gifts”, it was “boring” or it was too hot (like that was anybody’s fault!! I went through 3 T-shirts that day for crying out loud and didn’t whine about it!). When you invest your time, money and sanity into such a thing only to be bitched at; who on earth would want to continue? Constructive criticisim is one thing, but that is not constructive.

    I totally respect AAUK’s decision and thank him for all that he has done for the Sonic community. I’ve only spoken to him a couple of times incredibly briefly (I think all I said to him was “Do you need any help?”) but i’m glad to know him simply for what he has done for us Sonic fans 🙂

  11. Thanks for everything, AAUK. I guess everyone has to move on eventually. No matter how much you love something, few things are worth risking your health and family over.

  12. I think it’s totally within reason for AAUK, who has done so much in making SOS possible to depart after time. Setting up this annual event must be a nightmare and the man’s got to take care of his health, finances and his family first.

    I hope all the Sonic community who attend SOS can also sympathise with his reasons for leaving.

    All the best AAUK.

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