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NEWS: Baltimore's Universal FanCon Convention Postponed 1 Week Before Opening


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Aresef



Joined: 22 Jun 2005
Posts: 237
Location: MD
PostPosted: Sat Apr 21, 2018 12:57 am Reply with quote
M-flo’s Taku Takahashi was also supposed to be there.

I was going to be a staffer at this, but I’m going to speak freely, since I’ve preemptively resigned to my supervisor in protest of this mess, and I’m pretty sure he will, too. This is a shitshow.

I am not privy to the finances. However, it’s clear this con simply aimed too high. You don’t book the sort of guests they booked, promise the sort of scale they did, do the things they said they were going to do in your first year out. Even Otakon got its start as a tiny whatever in State College. It should have been clear weeks ago, not in a recent board meeting, that the con couldn’t pay all its bills And if they were going to announce this, it should have been done weeks ago, when some people might be able to cancel flights, find another show to do, not take vacation time, not send their wares ahead of them to Baltimore.

As it stands, nobody is getting their money back. Not people who bought tickets, not people who bought booths, not people who backed the show on Kickstarter. Some backer levels cane with hotel nights! Right now, there’s the promise they’ll take care of all these people when the con does happen. But it won’t. And even if they do put some kind of show on, the late cancellation torched all potential goodwill, and I doubt many attendees, guests, artists, panelists or partners will want to work with them.

It’s a shame, too, because one of the reasons I was interested in being part of the con was that it aimed to create a place for segments of fandom that are often underserved, to create a place to celebrate the diversity and intersectionality of fandom. But ultimately they put too much on their plate.
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Ashley Hakker



Joined: 31 Aug 2016
Posts: 34
PostPosted: Sat Apr 21, 2018 1:04 am Reply with quote
Postponed is just a stalling tactic. No first year con survives a mistake like this and there are surely financial penalties they'll face for pulled out this close, so they don't just 'don't have enough money' but they're losing more in the moment. Not to mention the vendor, guest, and attendee bridges they've burned.

You may hear of this con again but only as more detailed stories about how it melted down and finally evaporated. I'd bet $1000 that the con never see's it's doors open for it's first year.
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BodaciousSpacePirate
It's Over 9000!It's Over 9000!


Joined: 17 Apr 2015
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 21, 2018 2:05 am Reply with quote
They'll need to announce a new date for the con soon if they want even a hope of surviving. Sad
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AJ (LordNikon)



Joined: 14 Apr 2009
Posts: 268
PostPosted: Sat Apr 21, 2018 5:42 am Reply with quote
Terrible headline NEWS: Baltimore's Universal FanCon Convention Postponed 1 Week Before Opening

Should read: NEWS: Baltimore's Universal FanCon Convention Postponed Indefinitely One Week Before Opening

It's like reading over copy from my damn first year interns at Kyodo all over again. As originally written, the reader may be given the impression the con's official open is delayed by one week. Technically every word is not suppose to be in caps either. I'll send ANN a copy of the current AP Style Guide.
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Emerje
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Joined: 10 Aug 2002
Posts: 6718
Location: Maine
PostPosted: Sat Apr 21, 2018 7:28 am Reply with quote
AJ (LordNikon) wrote:
Terrible headline NEWS: Baltimore's Universal FanCon Convention Postponed 1 Week Before Opening

Should read: NEWS: Baltimore's Universal FanCon Convention Postponed Indefinitely One Week Before Opening

It's like reading over copy from my damn first year interns at Kyodo all over again. As originally written, the reader may be given the impression the con's official open is delayed by one week. Technically every word is not suppose to be in caps either. I'll send ANN a copy of the current AP Style Guide.


That was how I interpreted it first as well. I read the article to figure out how they could possibly justify pushing the convention back by one week.

Emerje
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TarsTarkas



Joined: 20 Dec 2007
Posts: 3681
Location: Virginia, United States
PostPosted: Sat Apr 21, 2018 7:30 am Reply with quote
Unless it was stated at the ticket transaction point of sale, they cannot say that your tickets will not be refunded, if the event is cancelled. Which no matter what way they phrase it, it is effectively cancelled.

This event while canceled because of the financial failure in fully funding it, will be further exacerbated by all the lawsuits of people trying to get their money back for ticket sales and other travel expenses.

There are too many wheels to have to set in motion to make a large convention work for a specific date.
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Aresef



Joined: 22 Jun 2005
Posts: 237
Location: MD
PostPosted: Sat Apr 21, 2018 8:46 am Reply with quote
TarsTarkas wrote:
Unless it was stated at the ticket transaction point of sale, they cannot say that your tickets will not be refunded, if the event is cancelled. Which no matter what way they phrase it, it is effectively cancelled.

This event while canceled because of the financial failure in fully funding it, will be further exacerbated by all the lawsuits of people trying to get their money back for ticket sales and other travel expenses.

There are too many wheels to have to set in motion to make a large convention work for a specific date.


Unfortunately, that’s their excuse. People were told all sales were final when they paid for their tickets, and they claim the money has been spent. On what, I have no idea.
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invalidname
Get off my lawn!Get off my lawn!


Joined: 11 Aug 2004
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Location: Grand Rapids, MI
PostPosted: Sat Apr 21, 2018 8:57 am Reply with quote
This sounds grimly similar to last year's cancellation of the Midwest Media Expo, a spring nerd convention in Dearborn, MI, run by the organizers of Detroit's Youmacon. The con was caled off with less than 48 hours notice. There was never a solid story about what happened there; most of the posts I saw indicated a breakdown with the hotel (the venue has gone through several ownership changes since it was a Hyatt Regency back in the heyday of the auto industry), but it's also highly likely they were up against a deadline for having to pay the hotel and didn't have the money. Entirely possible this is what happened with FanCon too, the difference being that M2X had been going for a few years, whereas FanCon was a first-time event (albeit one with Kickstarter money to work with).

As for "postponed" versus "cancelled"… well, M2X's 2017 page still lists their event as "postponed".
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DerekL1963
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Joined: 14 Jan 2015
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Location: Puget Sound
PostPosted: Sat Apr 21, 2018 9:58 am Reply with quote
Aresef wrote:
I am not privy to the finances. However, it’s clear this con simply aimed too high. You don’t book the sort of guests they booked, promise the sort of scale they did, do the things they said they were going to do in your first year out.


Reading their FAQ, that they couldn't decide if they were holding an anime con or a political rally probably didn't help much. They're two very different things. The latter in particular almost always leads to... a certain starry-eyed naivete. Which runs counter to the needs of running an event, which requires hard nosed pragmatism and practicality.
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Dessa



Joined: 14 Jul 2004
Posts: 4207
PostPosted: Sat Apr 21, 2018 10:31 am Reply with quote
Aresef wrote:
TarsTarkas wrote:
Unless it was stated at the ticket transaction point of sale, they cannot say that your tickets will not be refunded, if the event is cancelled. Which no matter what way they phrase it, it is effectively cancelled.

This event while canceled because of the financial failure in fully funding it, will be further exacerbated by all the lawsuits of people trying to get their money back for ticket sales and other travel expenses.

There are too many wheels to have to set in motion to make a large convention work for a specific date.


Unfortunately, that’s their excuse. People were told all sales were final when they paid for their tickets, and they claim the money has been spent. On what, I have no idea.


I'm sure that a good lawyer for a class-action lawsuit would be able to put forth that the "no refund" policy was so that attendees couldn't decide against attending and get their money back. That they paid for a "product" and the company didn't deliver is another matter.
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samuelp



Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 2026
Location: Tokyo, Japan
PostPosted: Sat Apr 21, 2018 11:47 am Reply with quote
So was it incompetence or just good old fashioned fraud?
We will probably never know.
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BodaciousSpacePirate
It's Over 9000!It's Over 9000!


Joined: 17 Apr 2015
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 21, 2018 1:18 pm Reply with quote
samuelp wrote:
So was it incompetence or just good old fashioned fraud?
We will probably never know.


With that amount of money involved? The truth has a way of getting out.
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Maidenoftheredhand



Joined: 21 Jun 2007
Posts: 2368
PostPosted: Sat Apr 21, 2018 1:25 pm Reply with quote
Dessa wrote:
Aresef wrote:
TarsTarkas wrote:
Unless it was stated at the ticket transaction point of sale, they cannot say that your tickets will not be refunded, if the event is cancelled. Which no matter what way they phrase it, it is effectively cancelled.

This event while canceled because of the financial failure in fully funding it, will be further exacerbated by all the lawsuits of people trying to get their money back for ticket sales and other travel expenses.

There are too many wheels to have to set in motion to make a large convention work for a specific date.


Unfortunately, that’s their excuse. People were told all sales were final when they paid for their tickets, and they claim the money has been spent. On what, I have no idea.


I'm sure that a good lawyer for a class-action lawsuit would be able to put forth that the "no refund" policy was so that attendees couldn't decide against attending and get their money back. That they paid for a "product" and the company didn't deliver is another matter.



Exactly it’s one thing if someone decides on their own not to go then they shouldn’t expect to get their money back.

But you can’t tell someone that we postponed to another date. What if you can’t go on this new date (if it should even happen). When people bought tickets it was for a date they could go. They absolutely need to give people back their money. I would call my credit card company or open a dispute with PayPal or my bank.
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octopodpie
ANN Associate Editor


Joined: 02 May 2011
Posts: 1479
Location: Washington State
PostPosted: Sat Apr 21, 2018 2:07 pm Reply with quote
AJ (LordNikon) wrote:
Terrible headline NEWS: Baltimore's Universal FanCon Convention Postponed 1 Week Before Opening

Should read: NEWS: Baltimore's Universal FanCon Convention Postponed Indefinitely One Week Before Opening

It's like reading over copy from my damn first year interns at Kyodo all over again. As originally written, the reader may be given the impression the con's official open is delayed by one week. Technically every word is not suppose to be in caps either. I'll send ANN a copy of the current AP Style Guide.


I agree with you on the headline phrasing, and I'll make the suggestion over to the news team.

However : "Technically every word is not suppose to be in caps either. I'll send ANN a copy of the current AP Style Guide."

This is true, but ANN does not strictly abide by AP Style in all instances. This includes headline capitalization and using the Oxford comma. The choice to capitalize headlines is deliberate and it's been this way since I started working here, and long before. No need to mail us copies of the AP Style Guide. We all have one.
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Sango chan



Joined: 04 Mar 2005
Posts: 165
Location: In the demon slayers Village
PostPosted: Sat Apr 21, 2018 2:31 pm Reply with quote
A convention started on a Kickstarter is a flag for me. considering the frauds that been going on lately using kickstarter. This entire thing sounds like they wanted to pull a giant fraud using a convention this time instead of using it to "Make" a fake video game. Because they knew that they would make a crapton more money that way.

If I am wrong about that, then I am sorry and made a mistake. But from what I have read so far, it sounds more of being in the fishy direction.
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