Crime Con kicked off its second year at Nashville’s famous Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center. The three-day true crime-themed convention featured interactive panels, live podcast recordings, exclusive screenings, and rare opportunities to hear from prestigious guest panelists, speakers, and experts. After the success of the inaugural Crime Con in Indianapolis, Indiana, the convention took Nashville, Tennessee, by storm.
Walking into the Opryland lobby, the first thing we saw were booths set up by different vendors handing out swag, a bookstore selling books by all the authors speaking at the convention, and the extremely popular pop-up section donned Podcast Row. On Podcast Row, all the podcasts represented at the convention had interactive stations where you could meet your favorite podcasters, take photos in front of podcast-themed props, and collect stickers and podcast-themed merch. With the growing popularity of podcasts over the past two years especially, this section was particularly busy during its open hours (our podcast is now available).
One of the biggest hits of the weekend was Nancy Grace’s session called “Lady Justice Is Calling!” Our favorite television personality and former prosecutor led an impassioned presentation where she dove into her experiences growing up that led her to be passionate about victims’ rights and justice. We had the opportunity to speak to Grace about her new podcast, Crime Stories, and her experience at Crime Con. The full interview will run in December as part of The Peach Review®’s “PEOPLE” series but enjoy a preview below:
Lauren: What was your experience with the convention last year?
Nancy: I had the greatest time. The twins and I lived on Podcast Row. We had so much fun. They came home with these two big bags of stickers and pamphlets, magnets and all that. They’re here right now!
Lauren: So they love this stuff? I love that. So you’ve got your podcast Crime Stories with Nancy Grace. How would you explain that to someone who has not heard it before?
Nancy: Well it’s very much like my previous show with HLN, where we take stories, cases, investigations, trials of the day and break it down and put it back together again with informed guests. For instance, a forensic expert, a reporter in the area, a lawyer, a shrink, to dig down into it and figure out what’s really going on and why.
Lauren: So within your career as a prosecutor, what has been the case that has stuck with you the most?
Nancy: Oh my goodness. That’s like being asked to pick my favorite child, because with the cases I’ve prosecuted, and a lot of the cases that I would cover that I actually get to know the victim’s families, they stick with me for a long time. I mean, still to this day.
Outside of panels and speakers, Crime Con also provides the opportunity to stream new shows and documentaries. One of the screenings we had the opportunity to attend was for a show premiering on WGN in January 2019 called “Pure”. It’s a scripted drama based on real events, following a Mennonite pastor attempting to rid his community of drug traffickers. After the screening, we had the opportunity to speak with one of the lead actors, Alex Paxton-Beesley, about the show, what draws her into true crime, and what her experience at Crime Con 2018 was like. The full interview will run in December as part of The Peach Review®’s “PEOPLE” series but enjoy a preview below:
Lauren: It’s such a great show.
Alex: Thank you so much.
Lauren: I want to binge watch all the episodes right now.
Lauren: So you said this is your first convention. What do you think about Crime Con so far?
Alex: It’s amazing. I was texting my best friend and I was like “maybe we exclusively have to come to crime conventions because everyone’s talking about murder” and I’m like really afraid but also really into it.
Lauren: Right. Like this is my personal aesthetic to just talk about crime all day.
Alex: I also just read Michelle McNamara’s book, thank god after they caught the Golden State Killer, otherwise I never would have slept again ever in my life.
Lauren: But can you imagine the thrilling excitement of reading that book and then finding out they got the guy right after you finished it? Insane. So you’ve done a couple of projects in the crime-centric world. Are you drawn to projects like that or do you just kind of follow roles that speak to you?
Alex: I tend to follow roles that speak to me. I mean, crime is endlessly fascinating, right? And there are so many stories within it. There’s so much humanity within crime. So yeah, I do tend to follow the roles that interest me, but crime is fascinating.
The theme of this year’s convention was, “What is your motive?” In the lobby, a giant bulletin board spelling out the year’s theme invited guests to write their “motive” on a post-it note and share it on the board. By the end of the conference, the board was full of notes talking about what drove them to the conference. Notes praising Nancy Grace and Payne Lindsey were sprinkled around, notes about people whose loved ones were lost to senseless crimes, and people demanding justice. It was clear that conference attendees all had their own unique takeaways from the weekend and it’s safe to say, everyone is looking forward to Crime Con 2019.
For fans of true crime, Crime Con is a can’t-miss event. Tickets for Crime Con 2019 in New Orleans are on sale now at www.crimecon.com.
Photo: Kevin McCarthy