This is my first “con report”, and it’s gonna be an odd one. Because one on hand, I had a really fun time.
On the other hand, it was one of the most poorly put together cons I’ve attended, and I can’t, in good conscience, recommend it to fellow vendors/artists/guests.
Why not? In a nutshell, here’s what was lacking:
- Advertising (I can’t tell you how many people, both in Myrtle Beach, and from the con scene, had NO IDEA what X-con was)
- Organization (The convention took place on the ground floor and parts of the second floor…and then all the after hours stuff took place 6 miles away at a strip club that you had to pay an extra $15 both nights to get into. Oh, and it was 21+ only, so half our booth staff was basically stuck with nothing to do. There's something really sad about a nearly empty club on a Friday night.)
- Staffing (this is a bit misleading. They had plenty of staff, but every person you talked to had a different answer for your question. They were downright rude to one vendor when she was trying to ask where the afterhours activities were, and during the entire show, no one stopped by our booth to make sure we were squared away.)
- Attendees (this year was the most attendees they’d had yet! Awesome, except they charged people as though they were an established con with a good sized attendance.)
- Location (we were at the very end of a road with no outside traffic, in a hotel prone to water pipes breaking and lights flickering...)
- Honesty. Because we spoke to the show’s coordinators before hand, and they deliberately lied to us about their show.
I certainly sympathize with conventions that are just getting started, but outright lying about your attendance numbers to get vendors to attend… There were vendors, artists, and guests who had traveled from Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Georgia, New Jersey, and freakin’ London to be at this con. Factor in transportation costs, booth fees, hotel rental, food money, and comping booth help – and lost time that you could be doing a more profitable con, or working on more inventory – and my sympathy ends there.
Dealers/artists/guests are part of the backbone of conventions. They help make the show lively and interesting; they draw crowds who want to shop around and ogle the cool merchandise they can’t normally find elsewhere. And while they don’t help organize and run the show, they put in just as much work making sure they have interesting products and displays, traveling to and from the events, and doing setups and breakdowns. Conventions need to recognize that vendors are not customers; they’re collaborators.
Anyway, now that I got that frustration out… what was good about the show?
I’ve been bitten by the burlesque bug, guys, and you can blame the ladies of Purrrlesque (yes, that’s three R’s). They did a smashing show on Saturday night that was funny, sexy, and impressive. Great costumes, choreography, music...oh, and I won a t-shirt for my mad skills with ice and tight pants. And I’m leaving it at that.
We went out and walked along the beach at 2am under the full moon, and it was stunning. Watching the waves turn silver as they crested in the moonlight is really something else.
This actually wasn’t all that good but I did learn I could do a show on 5ish hours of sleep, which is useful knowledge… also useful to know is that my speech functions are one of the first things to go. Towards the end of the weekend, I’d start talking and then just give up because the sentence came out like a word salad.
One of the advantages of sleeping three to a bed…snuggles! I am fueled by cuddling.
All in all -- fun weekend, lousy con, and more incentive for me to put on AwesomeCon.