Category Archives: Convention News

In depth reporting on issues and news within the North American Convention Scene.

Over Half of the Guests For Louisville’s Fandom Fest Have Dropped Out

Fans showing up to Louisville, KY based Fandom Fest today aren’t exactly going to have the experience they were initially promised. The con’s last minute change in venue which moved the con across town to an old Macy’s seems to have been just the start of their problems. What looms even larger now is the fact that over half of their guest list has cancelled.

Apparently the list of forty celebrities that were slated to appear has now dropped down to about eighteen at last count. Losses include Weird Al, Tori Spelling and Ian Ziering. When talking with local television station WDRB, Ziering and Spelling’s booking agent Tony Vela said, “Delayed flights and hotel room reservations — it just didn’t look like a good situation to be in.” While convention organizers have tried to shrug off the cancellations, blaming them on business as usual, the sheer number of guests no longer in attendance is hard to dismiss.

Frankly, it would be hard to see how the venue change isn’t to blame.

The most infuriating part of this for a lot of fans is that Fandom Fest has a “no refunds” policy. Considering how much photo ops and the like cost, with no recourse to recover spent funds, people aren’t exactly happy. While the convention is allowing attendees to transfer these purchases to another celebrity, there will always be people who showed up just for one who don’t really care about the rest of the guest list.

I mean, Weird Al Yankovic can’t just be replaced, you know?

Via File 770, WDRB

Pokemon Go Fest Has Been Kind of a Disaster

Today, Niantic is holding their first ever live event for Pokemon Go in Chicago called “Pokemon Go Fest.” The event promised massive group raids, rare Pokemon, and goals that could eventually unlock Legendary Pokemon for players worldwide. What people have apparently gotten though are long lines and an inability to connect to the game.

Now, to be clear, the actual Niantic servers seem to be up. I myself just walked around and did a couple of raids. What’s at issue for attendees though is that the cellular networks covering the park are getting jammed by all of the players. I mean, it’s 20,000 people in a concentrated area, all attempting to go online at once.

Did no one think to see if the networks were capable of supporting an event like this before choosing the venue?

Niantic has apologized, and is offering all players who attended a refund and $100 worth of in game Pokecoins. Admission was only $25, but because tickets sold out so quickly many bought their entry through resellers. Those who overpaid said scalpers are (frankly) just going to be out of luck.

Hopefully everyone will learn some good lessons from this (like, say, blanketing the place in Wifi and paying for multiple fiber connections).

Louisville’s Fandom Fest Announces Last Minute Venue Change (As They May Have Never Booked the Old One)

The Louisville, KY based Fandom Fest is scheduled to take place pretty damned soon (July 28th-30th), and while the venue hadn’t ever been formally mentioned on the con’s official materials this year, with no other location mentioned most people assumed it would continue to be held at the same one it’s been at for years — the Kentucky Expo Center. I mean, the official recommended hotels are all in the vicinity of the Expo Center, and with the con so close (and people planning it for months) it just wouldn’t make sense to announce a venue change now, right?

Well… wrong?

You see, a new venue is exactly what the convention announced on Monday — just eleven days before the event. The con posted the about the change to their official Facebook page, saying the con’s new location was an event space attached to the Jefferson Mall. This new “event space” (read: old, empty former Macy’s department store) isn’t a short walk from their listed hotels — in fact, it’s a fifteen minute drive. Continue reading Louisville’s Fandom Fest Announces Last Minute Venue Change (As They May Have Never Booked the Old One)

Kitsune Kon Bans Youtuber ‘DesolatorMagic’ Due to Weapons Concerns

Kitsune Kon is taking place at the KI Convention Center in Green Bay, WI, but at least one person who planned on attending won’t be let in the door. The convention made an announcement earlier today stating that Youtuber ‘DesolatorMagic’ has been officially banned from the event due to safety concerns.

In a video posted on July 1st where DesolatorMagic announced he was attending the con, he stated “considering the sheer volume of threats I get on Twitter and on Youtube and Reddit and everywhere else — if you so much as look at me wrong, I’m probably going to stab you. So just FYI — you might not want to freak me out. You might want to come at me within my full vision arc and kind of slowly. That said, if you do want to fight me, just announce it first. No cheap shots, or I will shoot you.” In context it’s actually really difficult to tell how serious he is, but as DesolatorMagic repeatedly mentions he carries a gun in his other videos (and also talks about having had to pull it out), it’s clear he’s serious enough. Continue reading Kitsune Kon Bans Youtuber ‘DesolatorMagic’ Due to Weapons Concerns

UK Based ‘Rogue Events’ Is Out of Business

UK based Rogue Events, which ran a number of fandom conventions over the last few years, has officially called it quits. While there is no mention of it on the official facebook page, the company’s website has been taken offline and replaced with the following message from the company’s director Jennie Glover:

I am truly sorry and heartbroken to have let down the attendees, staff and volunteers, as well as the guests in the way I have done at insurgence 9. I came on board in a desperate hope to be able to re-build the events into something great for everyone, and I failed. This was due to many factors. I made bad decisions. I was inexperienced. Nothing I can say will take back what has happened or make anything right. I can only apologise to people with everything I have. I am so deeply sorry.

A version of that statement was also posted to the company’s Twitter account. The company’s closure comes on the heels of reports that Chase Coleman, who had been a guest at the company’s “Insurgence 9” event, hadn’t been paid for his appearance still.

Most of the comments on the Rogue Events facebook page are people asking if or when they’ll be refunded for preregistrations for now-cancelled events, but there hasn’t been a public response from the company. We reached out to Rogue Events’s email address (as it was the only remaining contact option we could find), but received an automated response which stated “This email address is no longer monitored.”

Emerald City Comicon ‘Volunteer’ Lawsuit Settled

The legality of volunteering for “for profit” conventions is a complicated issue, and one that’s caused some headaches for con organizers. Notably, as we reported last year, a class action lawsuit was filed against Emerald City Comicon over their ‘minions’ (the term the con used for convention workers) not being paid while working for the con’s old, pre-ReedPop acquisition management.

Well, it looks like that lawsuit has now been settled.

In the agreement, Emerald City Comicon has agreed to pay out $493,227.84. That number includes the plaintiff’s attorneys’ fees ($123,300), $5000 to the plaintiff, and additional funds to pay an administrator to dispense the money. The rest will be paid out to people who worked for Emerald City Comicon in 2014 and 2015, and applications and necessary forms can be found here.

As you’d expect, Emerald City Comicon doesn’t admit to any wrong doing in the case. So while the threat of a lawsuit does seem like an obvious deterrent to for profit shows using unpaid labor, it doesn’t really change the legal playing field at all. The writing on the wall seems obvious though — if you’re running a for profit show, you need to pay your workforce.

Hey Titan Fan Con – Maybe DON’T Tell Attendees to Directly Contact Guests Who Cancel?

So Titan Fan Con is a small comic convention that ran last weekend in Odessa, TX. It’s one of the myriad of small cons that dot the American country side, and with a small attendance it normally wouldn’t get close to registering on our radar. For a con like this to end up filling column inches on Nerd & Tie, they’d have to do something spectacularly amazing or spectacularly stupid.

They apparently decided to opt for the latter.

Actor Seth Gilliam, best known for his role on The Walking Dead, was originally slated to appear at the convention. A few days before the event, though, the actor cancelled his appearance. When stuff like this happens, it’s always unfortunate — but it’s a known risk running events where you bring in media celebrities. When Titan Fan Con announced the cancellation though, they didn’t exactly handle it well. Continue reading Hey Titan Fan Con – Maybe DON’T Tell Attendees to Directly Contact Guests Who Cancel?

Niantic Announces ‘Pokemon GO Fest,’ Whatever the Heck That Is

This week Niantic announced that in celebration of the first anniversary of their popular game Pokemon Go, they’re hosting an event called “Pokemon Go Fest” in Chicago’s Grant Park on July 22, 2017. Tickets will go on sale on the official website on June 19th… and we have no idea what the heck it is.

Will there be Legendaries? Vendors? Anything beyond wandering around the park like every other meetup we’ve seen? We have absolutely no idea. But it’s a thing, it’s happening, and they’re going to charge money for it.

In that same announcement, Niantic wrote that separate European events are planned, there’s a Pikachu event in Yokohama, Japan this August, and that starting June 13th a Solstice event will kick off featuring fire and ice Pokemon. Finally, the company also mentioned that the game’s gym system is being reworked, a part of the game that is long overdue for an overhaul. It’ll be interesting to see how that bit turns out.

But yeah — something is happening in Chicago this July, and we have no idea what the heck it is.

Wizard World’s Money Problems Continue With Shrinking Margins

Convention mega chain Wizard World has had some widely reported financial issues over the last few years, and it looks like things haven’t gotten any better for the company. Even having scaled back operations to fewer conventions and securing outside funding from Bristol Investment Fund, the company still managed to lose over $1.28 million in the first quarter of 2017.

Revenue per Wizard World show is down $99,096 from 2016, and with an ever more crowded con market, I can’t really see that getting better soon. This isn’t even to mention the “Con Box” subscription service, which appears to have fallen apart completely.

Honestly, as more and more pop culture events spring up across the country, and celebrity guarantees rise, the costs are making the continued existence of a chain like Wizard World untenable. Where finding big name celebrities at a regional con used to be novelty, it’s becoming less and less of one as time goes by. Without that draw (and a pretty hefty entrance fee), it’s hard to see a bright future for the company in its current state.

Via Newsarama

Colossus Con Rebrands After ColossalCon files Trademark Complaint

After running two events, California based Colossus Con has now been forced to rename their comic conventions. This has happened in the wake of a trademark complaint from Ohio based anime con ColossalCon. The Colossus Con events planned for Merced, CA and Campbell, CA have been renamed California Republic Comic Con and Campbell Con respectively.

As a 2018 Pleasanton, CA event hasn’t been announced yet, we don’t know what that event will be called if it happens again.

ColossalCon alleges that the Colossus Con name is confusing for consumers who might think the two events are related. I can see where they’re coming from, as even searching for Colossus Con in Google has the related search “colossus con ohio” pop up. That said, the two events aren’t in the same genre, have thousands of miles between them, and had names that are literally two different words. If ColossalCon’s branding is so weak after sixteen years that its attendees can’t remember its name, they have much larger problems.

The convention scene has gotten by for decades with events that have similar sounding names without congoers getting confused. Heck, there are literally two different events called MarsCon, yet we’ve all somehow survived. The idea that these cons would be confused for one another makes my eyes roll so hard it’s likely audible.

If these events were in the same area of the country or were based around the same genre, maybe I’d understand more; however, this really just feels like ColossalCon pushing around a smaller series of events because it can. And while the event certainly has the right to defend its trademark, I still can’t help but feel a tad bit iffy about this whole situation. Colossus Con clearly folded because it couldn’t afford to fight the case, even if they had a shot at winning it.

And frankly, it’s kind of ridiculous.

h/t Patrick Delahanty