Fans Stunned as Universal FanCon is Abruptly Postponed One Week Before the Event
Now We Know How Those Folks at Fyre Fest Felt
What happens to a Con deferred? To no one’s surprise, the answer is massive internet outrage. Yesterday, the organizers of Universal FanCon abruptly postponed their convention a week before the event, which was set to debut April 27th at the Baltimore Convention Center. In a statement released yesterday, the organizers wrote, “as we built out our floorplan, invited guests, figured out lodging/travel arrangements, and confirmed activities, our costs started to grow exponentially. Unfortunately, the support we were anticipating in terms of ticket sales and sponsorships did not materialize. Accordingly, the organizers of FanCon made significant personal investments in order to ensure FanCon’s success.”
It all started out so well. The brainchild of Robert Butler (The Black Geeks) and Jamie Broadnax (Black Girl Nerds), Universal FanCon was meant to be a con rooted in inclusion and representation that celebrated fandom in all forms, including film, television, gaming, and comics. After a successful Kickstarter campaign that raised $56,498 (doubling their goal of $25,000), FanCon starting securing a line-up of special guests including Lamorne Morris (New Girl), Brittany Curran (The Magicians), Mehcad Brooks (Supergirl), Orlando Jones (American Gods), and Hodor himself, Kristian Nairn (Game of Thrones), just to name a few. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Butler said “The response from fans has been incredible. People really want to see us succeed.”
Universal FanCon was promoting the event as recently as April 19th, until attendees who had booked hotel rooms through the Kickstarter campaign started receiving cancellation messages from partnering hotels. These emails went out before guests, panelists, and even vendors were notified by the event organizers. Soon the Twittersphere was flooded with angry attendees, panelists and vendors, who had booked non-refundable travel plans to Baltimore.
I shelled out $2,362.18 to build a civic engagement booth for #UniversalFanCon that would allow participants to register to vote, recruit their networks and other civic engagement activities
— L. Joy Williams (@ljoywilliams) April 20, 2018
— BlackGirlGamers (@Official_BGG) April 20, 2018
.@UniversalFanCon so you are just going to KEEP our money? Is that it? Are you serious? But you want us to hang tight for the "possibility" of another con?
— Clarkisha Kent: Slayer of Colonizers (@IWriteAllDay_) April 21, 2018
But despite the bad news, not all hope is lost. Booking agency Lo Mo Pro, which reps cast members from SyFy’s Killjoys and The Magicians are still working out a way for fans to connect with actors and creators, and vendors are posting their goods online and cross-boosting to help one another.
We saw the email from @UniversalFanCon. Not all hope is lost. Our flights are non-refundable, venue space is available, and we want to hang with all the #Killjoys & #TheMagicians fans. Who is down to make something special happen with us in Baltimore? #FanConAssemble pic.twitter.com/JrTXJcwuTW
— Lo Mo Pro (@Lo_Mo_Pro) April 20, 2018
(via The Hollywood Reporter , images: Universal FanCon, Marvel)
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