What is it with conventions and problems with their guests of honor lately? Guests haven’t not been able to attend. Expectations for attendance by the masses regarding the guests of honor have been off the mark. High prices for tickets lead to expectations that concoms don’t seem to be able to meet or convey effectively to avoid disappointment.
Two conventions have dealt with this recently. First there was Torchsong Chicago. Then there was TwiCon. Below are extracts from both articles on Fan History to convey the problems both conventions are suffering:
There was also mixed reaction from the risque antics which John Barrowman apparently got up to during his satellite-link appearances in both the Q&A session and the Cabaret.,, There were later requests from John not to post/share some of the more raunchy aspects of what went down publicly, for fear of negative backlash from the British press, and again, some fans reacted negatively, feeling they were being manipulated., It was also pointed out that the video feed was copyrighted and the con management did not want photos of the feed posted due to copyright concerns. Accusations of jealousy were made over some of these issues of requested silence and non-posting of photos.
In 2009, the cost of membership was listed as $255/person. On June 9, 2009, it was announced that only one “free” autograph would be included with the membership, and attendees had to reserve their free autograph of choice in advance (beginning June 19). There would be a limit of 2 autographs and one photo-op per attendee, and each guest would only do 65 photo-ops. Many fans were upset by this announcement, feeling they had been mislead on how the autographs and photos would be handled and given the cost of membership to the convention.
What is going on with conventions these days? Have people become used to the idea of megaconventions like DragonCon and ComiCon in San Diego? Do high costs of running these events drive up the expectations to the point where they are not managable? Did the connectivity of the Internet just make the drama involving conventions easier to access?
Whatever the reasons, this sort of convention drama is not going to go away any time soon. If you’re attending a convention, look at issues that attendees at other conventions have dealt with. Be prepared and have some sort of plan in case of a worst case scenario. Know your rights and understand refund policies before you purchase a ticket so that you don’t get any surprises like the people attended Torchsong Chicago and those who will attend TwiCon.