Colorado furry convention Rocky Mountain Fur Con has been canceled. Funds collected in advance of this August's event are to be spent on existing liabilities, and refunding attendees and dealers where possible; any remainder will go to the convention charity.
While their official statement cites rising security costs, the closure follows the controversial issues surrounding CEO Kendal Emery (Kahuki Liaru), and the "Furry Raiders" group. It has also been discovered by Flayrah that the convention's parent company's Federal tax-exempt status, obtained in 2009, had lapsed, and it had not filed taxes for a period of seven years, while still claiming to be a registered 501(c) non-profit. In this investigative report we can identify the issues that have contributed to the end of Denver's furry convention.
First off, let me engage in an act of self-disclosure: I recently finished writing Furry Nation, a personal history of the birth and growth of our community and its treatment at the hands of entertainment and news media that will be published in the fall by Cleis Press. I interviewed numerous furs for the book, unknown and well-known, Fred included.
I found myself concerned it would be a conflict of interest for me to opine on Fred’s work, with the temptation to belittle it in comparison to my own. However I was happy to find Fred’s book unique in its own right. It is a work of scholarship I could never hope to duplicate. In fact, I wish it had been published a year or two earlier; it would have been an immense help to me in writing about furry conventions worldwide, a topic not covered in great detail in my own non-fiction work.
Furry conventions from A to Z
Furry Fandom Conventions begins with a brief overview of the various kinds of furry gatherings and a succinct timeline of the fandom’s origin and spread. Even though the timespan covered is in the book’s title, the conventions themselves are described not chronologically but alphabetically, from the first “Abando” convention in Brazil in 2008 (with 15 attendees), to the last “ZonieCon”, held in in Tucson, Arizona in 2001 (57). The decision to alphabetize makes perfect sense: if you’re curious about say, Further Confusion, it makes it a lot easier to trace its history in one place rather than flip through the entire book looking for each year’s summary.
We are very sorry to announce that VancouFur's Art Show has been cancelled for 2017 due not being able to secure adequate staff and leads for the department. We thank everyone who put time and effort into the department this year and we hope that it can resume in future years!
Artists who paid for panels in the show are being contacted to arrange refunds.
The news follows the resignation of art show lead Mesa and her partner Silvermink, following their attempt to get a fan alleged privately of attempted rape banned from VancouFur, which led to intense debate for several weeks.
In its 4th year of operation, Biggest Little Fur Con lived up to its name. When the count was tallied, BLFC 2016 had set another record, drawing 3,651 attendees; making it the largest furry event in the Western United States, and the third-largest furry convention in the world.
Dear past, current and future attendees of Fangcon,
I hope by this time you may have heard of the difficulty we have been having with the hotel in Knoxville, TN. We attempted to secure a date with them for 2016 right after the con had concluded. The hotel put us off even though the local football schedule was already posted. We found out later this is what many hotels in the local Knoxville area do. They look for groups with bigger numbers so they can charge a higher price for the rooms (sometimes three and four times the amount we paid.) This year the football schedule only left a few open weekends for groups like ours.
Our hotel for Fangcon 2016 will be the Hilton Hotel, Perimeter Park Birmingham, AL. We know this will come as a disappointment to many attendees but this is the same issue we ran into after our first year of the con when we started it up in Nashville, it became too late into the year to find good options for hotel space. So it is either wait till 2017 and not have a con this year or make the best of it and see how well we do in Birmingham, Alabama. The con will be on the dates of Oct 27th through Oct 31st 2016.
Fred Patten says:
My book on furry fandom conventions throughout the world, from the first in January 1989 through the end of 2015, was supposed to be sent to the publisher, McFarland, on March 1st (about 280 manuscript pages). Instead McFarland has given me an extension to try to get information about some conventions that have a lot of question marks because their committees are not answering my requests for information. The questions are things like “Who was Western Pennsylvania Furry Weekend 2015’s guest of honor?”, and “Who were Arizona Fur Con 2015’s conbook cover artist and T-shirt artist?”
Since questions to these conventions’ website “contact us” addresses are being ignored, does anyone have the e-mail addresses of any individual staffers for these conventions? On details like the name of Arizona Fur Con 2015’s convention book cover artist, AFC 2015 had 725 attendees. Does anyone have its convention book, and is there a cover artist credit in it?
Following is a list of the conventions not replying. The e-mail addresses of any of their individual staffers will be appreciated. Or if anyone knows any of their individual staffers, just tell them that I am trying (unsuccessfully so far) to contact them.
A new event, Furrnion, has been announced as "the first Spanish furry convention".
Furrnion is to be presented in English as well as Spanish, in the hope of attracting dealers and attendees internationally. Features outlined on its website include a dealers' den, art show and auction, nocturnal raves, and a fursuit lounge.
Staff are still being recruited; registration is to be opened in April, assuming all goes to plan.
The first local event - Ibercamp, a mountain camp launched in 2012 - attracted 60 furs in its second year, but was not held subsequently. August 2015 saw the introduction of another camp, Furbest, with 29 listed attendees (video).
In 2002, I wrote an article here about the problematic side of furry fandom, and what we needed to do about it. In 2007 I gave the fandom positive grades for progress made. In 2011 I praised the fandom for it's growth and outreach while also cautioning that growth can also come with its own difficulties. But now I fear that I need to talk to the fandom again.
The fandom has grown. With that comes a growth in the number of idiots and trouble makers, so risk isn't a hypothetical anymore. Damaging chairs, wrecking public areas, inappropriate conduct and a return to the "squick the mundanes" attitude that I'd hoped we'd moved beyond. This has already resulted in the failure of one major convention, Rainfurrest, and we need to all act to prevent it from happening to another.
Historically based in Seattle, RainFurrest's former chair posted a strong warning last October that the acts of some of the 2704 attendees had jeopardized the convention's relationship with the Hilton airport hotel, resulting in uncertainty about future events.
Convention staff had previously posted apologizing for not giving more feedback, discussing rumors about a move to Spokane, and noting the board's decision to discuss contracts there. Last month saw posts about travel, hotels and recreation, and, on January 30, the opening of registration and the announcement that RainFurrest's parent organization was now a 501(c)(3) non-profit. All these posts have now been removed from the convention's website.
Update (20 Feb): Former con-chair buni has posted a post-mortem of the challenges faced in attempting to organize RainFurrest 2016.
He basically explains that Abando became somewhat out of hand, it became way too expensive, Abando is a little event, and organized by few people, that do it just because they like it, but these things consume way too much time, effort, and in the case of this one, much, much money, since it requires the rental of an entire nature park, regardless of the places getting sold out or not.
Some of the staff, over the years, had to step out for many reasons; some are getting married, having children, moving away. And taking care of the event is a big task, not to mention that lately, it threatens the financial security of the whole staff.
Fred Patten says:
This is a last call for information about furry conventions. For the past two years, I have been compiling a history of all furry conventions throughout the world from 1989 through the end of 2015. My book, Furry Fandom Conventions, has been accepted by an academic publisher, McFarland. It covers 113 furry conventions in North and South America, Asia, Australasia and Europe. The manuscript is currently up to 278 pages. My deadline for finishing is March 1, 2016.
Most of my missing information is for details that happened at the conventions, such as attendance totals, the number of fursuiters in the Fursuit Parade, or the amount of the charity donation; therefore what was published in the conbook before the convention is of no help. Many convention committees have given full information, but others have not answered at all. I suspect that some lack of replies are due to my requests going to a minor committee member who is not answering or passing them on to the chair. So a public announcement might reach a chairperson or another committee member who wants their convention represented in my book with all questions answered.
Also, I am trying to get at least one illustration for each convention — art such as website logos, conbook covers, posters, illustrated membership badges, illustrated hotel room keys; whatever a committee wants to submit. McFarland says that none of the illustrations on the Internet are of high enough resolution for book publication, so I cannot just framegrab an illustration from the Internet. They need a high resolution electronic file of 300 DPI or better.
Oklacon, held since 2003 (originally as "Festival of the Feral") at Oklahoma's Roman Nose State Park and billed as "the world's largest outdoor furry convention," has been cancelled for 2015, and probably permanently. The convention's website now contains an announcement of the cancellation:
So, it is with a sad and heavy heart that we inform you that Oklacon is cancelled this year and indefinitely.
We understand the extreme disappointment and trouble this will cause those who had planned to attend this year’s iteration of the world’s largest outdoor furry convention. We understand some may have arranged travel, time-off, or forfeited other plans to attend Oklacon - and to those who have been adversely impacted by the State of Oklahoma’s decision - we are extremely disappointed too.