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RainFurrest 2016 cancelled after failure to find venue

Your rating: None Average: 4 (4 votes)

RainFurrest 2016 logo Washington state furry convention RainFurrest 2016 has been cancelled, after failing to find a suitable venue for this year's event.

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.

See also: Hotel management doesn't care what your fursona is

As many of you know, RainFurrest has been in search of a new venue since October of last year. We have discussed and explored facilities in many wonderful areas, finding options with a number of excellent venues in Greater Seattle and western Washington state. Our hard-working hotel team has fought for every possible option that would suit what our fans want out of RainFurrest. Tonight, the last of those options has closed to us.

It is our sombre duty to inform you that our efforts to locate a viable convention and hotel space for 2016 have not been successful. We do not feel any additional options will present themselves in time to successfully plan and hold the event. As a result, the Rainfurrest Anthropomorphics International’s Board of Directors has voted to not host Rainfurrest in 2016.

We appreciate your support through a very challenging transition, and we extend a sincere thanks to everyone, especially our staff, who devoted their time, effort, and thoughts to us. We will continue to work on future locations and dates and we will return when we know the situation is right for our fans.

We will be issuing further details regarding refunds and other remaining issues in the near future. Please wait for more details before contacting us about this. If you have any questions or comments about the decision, please email board@rainfurrest.org or ask on their new twitter feed, @RAInAnthro.

Thank you for your continued support, and we look forward to seeing you all in the near future!

Rainfurrest Anthropomorphics International also oversees the Furlandia event in Portland, Oregon, which is still scheduled for May 27-29, 2016.

Comments

Your rating: None Average: 3.5 (4 votes)

Well then, shouldn't have let the furries run amok and cause destruction. you should know hotels can and do talk to each other. And if someone had called and let the new location know about last year, then you have some real hateful trolls loving this.

I guess Rainfurrest is going to either have to change their name, once again, or see if Portland Oregon will host them. Then again, furries might be too weird even for Portland.

At least they aren't Antheria though.

Your rating: None

I'm very glad that I got this information in time for my furry convention book, which has to be sent to the publisher at the end of this month, so it isn't left with the implication that RainFurrest 2016 on will be one of the most successful conventions.

There will still be many conventions such as Arizona Fur Con that will have many question marks because they have ignored several requests for information.

Fred Patten

Your rating: None

We already have Furlandia in Portland Oregon.
A good question now is what pressure of the demise of Rainforest will have on both Vancoufur and Fursndia.

Your rating: None

Furlandia has promised me information momentarily.

Fred Patten

Your rating: None Average: 4.5 (2 votes)

I think as hotels talk to one another, so must furry conventions also be talking to one another.

If they have not already, Rainfurrest needs to be confiding the mistakes made with other convention leaders big and small in order to educate them into the circumstances that arose so that others may not make similar mistakes.

Also, one thing furry conventions need to consider is a zero tolerance policy towards hotel damage. To which I mean that not only would a furry found maliciously vandalizing the hotel be striped of the ability to attend the convention in question, but would also be reported to the staff of other conventions hosted in hotels to be considered to be banned from them as well.

The message should be clear: don't screw with our hotels.

Also, I'm surprised if damages were that excessive that people were not arrested. Especially if it was a specific room.

Your rating: None Average: 5 (3 votes)

I was there. What's truly scary is that even with the benefit of Monday Morning Quarterbacking I can't see what more they could've done to prevent these problems. Personally I witnessed only one instance of bad behavior, a low-grade incident in which a spoiled-rotten adolescent was running down a hall, then sassed a con officer (who handled things perfectly) when confronted. Rambunctious smart-mouthed teens are something we shall have always with us. And we'll also have other bad actors among us as well-- there are some in every crowd, and again always will be no matter what preventative measures are taken.

So, what to do? Other than employing a few interesting psychological tricks I've seen suggested elsewhere, which I think are well worth trying but whose effects I suspect would be marginal, I have no idea whatsoever.

And that _terrifies_ me. Because if fault could be found with Rain Furrest's arrangements, then all other furcons would have to do in order to avoid the same fate is to avoid making the same mistakes. But if they _didn't_ commit any major errors and rather were merely the victims of bad luck, as I suspect... Then how do we avoid having the same problems at other conventions?

Since I expect that most of the the RF staff will likely read this, please forgive me for adding something more that's a bit off topic. Folks, I _loved_ your con, and as a writer shall remain ever appreciative of your unceasing support of furry literature. As I've said before, I can't see where you ran anything less than a first-class event in _any_ way and it's a terrible shame that this has happened to you. I'll also never cease being grateful to you for naming me Writing Guest of Honor in 2007. It was one of the highlights of my life, something I'll never, _ever_ forget. One last time, Thank You.

In fact, Thank You for many good times and good years. I hope you can come stage a comeback, even if under another name. If you can, and if it's at all possible for me to attend, I'll be there to support you.

Your rating: None

It can happen to any convention, and that is true. It very much almost happened to Anthrocon too in some of its earlier years with the Westin. Kage got some flack for coming down on the side of the hotel and allowing the cleaning staff access to the rooms by a certain time frame.

I think at this point we can see that sometimes there are reasons for certain decisions made.

It's sometimes easier to blame cruel fates, but all fate is weighted by the action or inaction of every individual. Otherwise, there's absolutely no point for life, no less conventions.

Being a convention that was actually trying to specialize, and to furry writers no less, this story certainly brings me no pleasure. Hopefully the staff can regroup and figure out what is needed to come back strong.

Your rating: None Average: 5 (1 vote)

...geez. It sucks for all the good people who are losing a con now, but all the losers who ruined it...ugh...this sucks so bad.

I'm a different furry with different opinions.

Proud Staffer of VancouFur 2017~

Your rating: None Average: 4.5 (2 votes)

What is so infuriating is that the losers who ruin conventions usually aren't real furry fans. They just take advantage of the conventions to party uncontrollably, and when their actions cause the convention to lose their hotel, they just shrug, say "Too bad", and go on finding places to party outside of furry fandom. Catching these people before they cause damage at the hotels is almost impossible. The best that a convention or its committee can do is to establish an atmosphere that discourages it in the first place. Anthrocon seems to have done this despite its size.

Fred Patten

Your rating: None Average: 3 (9 votes)

Let's not fall for the No True Scotsman fallacy.

"If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind."
~John Stuart Mill~

Your rating: None Average: 2.7 (10 votes)

Let's not fall for the I Learned About Arguing With People By Reading A Book Rather Than Actually Interacting With Them fallacy.

Your rating: None Average: 4 (3 votes)

I must've missed that one.

"If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind."
~John Stuart Mill~

Your rating: None Average: 5 (1 vote)

He's right though. What basis is there that someone who causes damage to a convention isn't a real furry fan?

I can immediately think of quite a few people who I would consider to be simultaneously part of the community and detrimental to it.

Your rating: None

And here's a troubling thought. The 2014 chlorine attack at MFF is loudly decried as evidence of hate for furries. Nobody knows who did it. It does seem like something that would be considered funny for 4chan trolls. Those aren't exclusive from "real furries".

Your rating: None Average: 1 (1 vote)

I'm sure I heard that it was a fur who did it, thinking it would be a funny prank but not understanding the consequences.

"If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind."
~John Stuart Mill~

Your rating: None

As far as I know, they still haven't caught and don't know who was responsible for the chlorine attack.

Are you perhaps thinking of another incident that happened earlier that day during the fursuit parade? That one involved a registered attendee who thought it would be funny to throw lots of dollar bills from the balconies and overhead walkways. He was caught and his badge was revoked. He later posted a video taken by a friend and bragged about it, though he also stated he was detained for questioning following the chlorine attack.

Your rating: None Average: 3 (2 votes)

Rather defensive, at the first sight of someone who actually knows what a evasive argument tactic is. (And a tactic that is commonly used by furry fans to avoid dealing with the fact that furry culture both protects and creates a lot of bad fans.)

Your rating: None Average: 1.3 (3 votes)

Fred's argument totally is a logical fallacy; however pointing that out does not require Rakuen to make his own argument. In his own terminology, it's an ad hominem attack. He is adding no argument to no argument; it's a passive aggressive, no sum game, and it would have been better to just not acknowledge Fred, especially since Rakuen himself had nothing of substance to add.

Apologies if this wasn't in reply to me; threading of the page and all.

Your rating: None Average: 1 (2 votes)

Also, people who say things like "No True Scotsman" on the Internet sound like they've never interacted with a real, live human being before.

Your rating: None

I admit that I have never been to a RainFurrest. They were started after I had my stroke and have been hospitalized. Therefore I have no real knowledge of who caused the damage.

Fred Patten

Your rating: None

Funny thing is, I really doubt Rakuen disagreed with you all that much on the basic point (that being Rainfurrest being canceled sucked) while I don't disagree with Anon.5's basic point that sometimes furries can be kinda terrible, or that I was "defensive", just not about furries. I just like you better than Rakuen, so I was defending you, who was being kind of a shit (and to be fair his response to me was pretty good).

Your rating: None Average: 5 (3 votes)

Pretty much this. Con staff, security stff, and (most of all) the attendees have to stay alert and be willing to point out when someone's behavior is going way, way over the top. As a fandom we're usually pretty lax about this, we don't like to judge others too harshly, we enjoy partying too, and who wants to be "that guy" who points the finger. On the other hand, it's really not that hard to say "Look, I think you've had enough to drink tonight" or "That guy's wandering around the main hallways in [insert inappropriate clothing]".

Way back in 1997, after ConFurence 8 (which had around 1000 people), rumors flew that some people's behaviour at the con was starting to go too far. What was surprising was that it was being said by people who were usually pretty tolerant. The good news is that the following year, CF9 didn't have anywhere near the same amount of griping, and its attendance was even bigger, around 1250 people. So it's possible for the attendees to pull themselves back a bit and still have a successful con; CF9 was ConFurence's peak.

Rules only go so far - the key is atmosphere. Expectation. I've argued that furry cons are a kind of "reality bubble" we create to let out our furry side. Within that space, there's less willingness to acknowledge the norms of behavior that we want to escape from. For a good chunk of the fandom, that's part of the fandom's appeal.

That's why I think the Dorsai's presence at Anthrocon is particularly successful. Yeah fine, there's always stories about someone power-tripping - all the security staff at furry and science-fiction cons get accused of that. What the Dorsai really do at furry cons, on a subtle level, is represent "the outside". It's an important reminder. And yet there's still lots of good partying at Anthrocon, so the balance works, and the con stays in good graces with its hosts.

I saw something similar at MidWest FurFest years ago - don't know if it's still done - the police would show up on Saturday night and just casually walk around briefly. They loved the dance, they took photos, and the fursuiters formed a conga line around them. :-)

Your rating: None Average: 4 (2 votes)

Ehh.

I know the crowds you speak of. They are furries. They have furry characters and get furry art of them drawn and have FA pages and engage in furry things. They have furry twitter accounts and furry such things. They do all the things on the internet and in real life that furries do.

It's just at cons, they seem to believe the purpose is to have a wicked nightlife as well.

Saying they're not furries is really doing a disservice to what's going on here. They're furries. The cons are not supplying enough on their own to keep people interested in doing non-troublesome things. So these furries are inventing things to do, and that's causing problems.

I don't know the answer to this, but I suspect it comes about as cons have become less and less "specific" and more and more general. Cons tend to aim for larger attendances year over year and stop aiming for being good at one thing or two things.

I suspect if RF was, instead, branded as "Furry Writers Con" , and filled its days and nights with writing tracks ONLY and writing workshops ONLY, that you would see attendance drop, but also would see behavior mellow out as furs who are there are REALLY there for a reason the con provides, as opposed to one that must be carted in in liquor bottles and vaporizers.

Your rating: None

I don't know if I can agree with that assessment. There are a lot of furry conventions that are just general furry conventions without specialization that don't have these issues.

MFF, Anthrocon, Furry Weekend Atlanta, all of these cons are general furry conventions yet have not had this issue the Rainfurrest did. Some came closer then they would like I'm sure.

Blaming all those who party I don't think is going to solve the issue. I think it should be fine for those to hang their hair down a bit. I know there are those in this fandom who are in it for reasons other than over indulging in intense social dynamics, however there are those that will party hard.

As long as they clean up hard or tip the staff accordingly, I don't think that'd be too major an issue.

I recall hearing that MFF did some sort of contest for cleanest room. Basically the hotel staff would report the cleanest room and the con would cover their room costs. I think it was MFF anyway, I can't quite remember the details. I know one of the cons did something to that effect.

Your rating: None Average: 4 (1 vote)

I can confirm that MFF had a clean room contest such as you describe. Whether they are the only convention that did that, I have no idea.

When the chlorine attack occurred at MFF 2014, one of my biggest concerns was that it would jeopardize the relationship between the convention and the hotel. They had to evacuate everyone from the building for several hours, including non-con attendees, and the hotel has for instance contracts with airlines to put up their flight crews overnight. Would it have been reasonable for the hotel to argue that the attack occurred because the furry convention was being hosted there, we can't afford incidents like this, and therefore we don't want you back? Fortunately that didn't happen and to all appearances the hotel was as welcoming and enthusiastic as ever for MFF 2015. If there were any discussions over whether to cancel or alter the contract, I don't know about them.

However, management at other hotels might see it and handle it differently. 'This happened because your convention was here.' My hunch is that this is what RainFurrest was dealing with, both from the Hilton and from other prospective venues. I've never heard any confirmation one way or the other whether they know who was responsible for the incidents that caused the worst of the property damage, and if they don't know, that implies they can't be sure if they were con attendees or not. I was at RF 2015 and will concur with what Rabbit said above, which is that everything I saw indicated a sane and well-run convention in terms of what happened during the weekend. The damage took place mostly outside of public view, and I didn't witness the adult diaper incidents (which I am told didn't have that much to do with the cancellation anyway).

Your rating: None

Further Confusion also has a clean room contest, I believe running separately at at least two of the three convention hotels.

- Chipotle

Your rating: None Average: 5 (5 votes)

My suspicion in this is that Rainfurrest has had problems over multiple years and thus did not have a good relationship with the hotel. The hotel lost confidence in Rainfurrest's Executive staff (even though they do not seem to have that distinction, all staff gets to know all things, which is why leaks are easy to find there) accomplishing the simple job of managing the expectations of the attendees.

So when the last year hit, and there was all this damage, it did not surprise the hotel. They knew that RF staff is incapable of doing their jobs, and they knew that year over year this is how the con and staff would operate. They chose to end the contract based on that information.

Contrast that with MFF, which has an incredibly stellar relationship with the hotel. The hotel asks MFF's hotel liason for things, and things get done. There ARE problems at MFF, many of them. Tons of them. I'm good friends with a board member and there are always fires being juggled. BUT the attendees don't see them, the action never drops below or outside executive staff, the hotel gets resolutions within hours if not minutes, and the event is none the wiser.

So when a chlorine gas attack occurs, and the hotel is evacuated, the hotel can trust that this is outside the scope of what is expected behavior at the convention. They can address it with the board members and executive committee, (who all found each other and were liasing with the hotel and law enforcement, I suspect), as the event was unfolding. The whole process could have killed different cons, but conventions that have good relationships and a history of getting things done and controlling the expectations and actions of the guests like MFF only looked like an even stronger entity for it.

So that's the difference. MFF didn't look bad out of the chlorine attack. They looked amazing.

Your rating: None

Rainfurrest's history. No hotel in their right mind would host an event with such a destructive history. Vandalism has always been a problem, and it's pretty damn clear it only got worse throughout the years. Changing the name won't matter. Staff will still have to explain why they were kicked out of the Hilton.

Your rating: None Average: 4 (1 vote)

Regular attendees of MFF also had years of fire alarm evacuation practice! This time it really paid off. :D

Your rating: None Average: 2 (2 votes)

I have more to say.
First I do not have very much confidence in the leadership of Rainfurrest , especially after talking to some close to the senior staff the "official" reason was Rainfurrest left because they outgrew the Hilton. I was told this three times in spite of my objections that any hotel will do a background check. If Rainfurrest had tried that line and not being 100% honest Davenport Grand, it no wonder thing fell apart.
I am bothered other furry media making similar excuses. RF simply screwed the pooch.
I go to a large anime and a multi genre con and never heard any problem of vandalism resulting in the con ejected form the hotel.

Rainfurrest 2007 was my first fur con and there I met Stalking Cat, the fist furry I met in person; bother are gone. I also remember sitting at the same table as Rabbit at the dinner. The conversation was way better than the food.

Your rating: None

KhordKitty has posted an hour-long video of a panel at VancouFur in which RainFurrest board member Trapa gives his view of what happened that led to the cancellation of RainFurrest 2016.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XojIUvWKebU

Your rating: None

Applause to him for sharing these details.

Now the picture makes a bit more sense, as it seems that furries visiting Washington were getting a bit too lax on the drugs thing because of the changes to their state law?

Come now guys, if you start acting a fool because a state lets up its drug laws a bit, you're going to scare the other states into keeping their draconian ones. Always in moderation.

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About the author

GreenReaper (Laurence Parry)read storiescontact (login required)

a software developer and Kai Norn from London, UK, interested in wikis and computers

Small fuzzy creature who likes cheese & carrots. Founder of WikiFur, lead admin of Inkbunny, and Editor-in-Chief of Flayrah.