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conventions

From one-off meets in far-off lands to annual gatherings attracting thousands, Flayrah covers them all. Popular events: AnthroconCalifurCamp FeralConFurenceConFuzzledConifurC-ACEEurofurenceFurry Weekend AtlantaFurther ConfusionMephit Fur MeetMidwest FurFestMorphiconRBWRCFMWPAFW

Ghosting the Attendees: the problematic trend of conventions hiding their headcount

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Granddad loved ghost stories The term "ghosting a convention" is when a person attends and hangs around, but has not paid the organizers to do so. It’s seen as a major faux pas in the furry fandom due to the amount of time, effort and money their fellow fans put forth in order to put on the events.

Those who support the festivities through their patronage, therefore, should be praised for putting their time and money forth to support their gathering of choice. For the relationship between convention and attendee is symbiotic.

Instead, certain events seem to have started to shun the precedent of sharing how many furs attended their celebrations. Like a tree falling in the forest, the con did occur; but if you look back years from now, there will be no hard evidence of how many gathered. In essence, it is the attendees who have been ghosted.

Which is why I am writing this piece today, concerning a worrisome trend that a handful of events seem to have taken - including some of the largest events in our fandom. Conventions, as of late, have been trying to push away from publicly putting forth their attendance counts.

Update 5/24: An updated tentative count was released by BLFC in the comments below.
Update 6/16: FWA has provided their counts with the video of closing ceremonies in comments below.
Update 6/16: AnthOhio, which took place in late May after the article was written, has as of today not released attendance numbers on any internet media platform. They did release charity numbers of $13,000 raised.

Furry camps - My experience at World Wild Fur Camp

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Spring is in the air and the snow is melting. Gone are the seasons where furs bundle up in their homes, and here are the days where they come out to frolic in the sunshine. But perhaps instead of going to a big city to a stuffy hotel, you may be interested to know that there are other fur gathering styles that are becoming a bigger staple in the furry fandom.

The fur camps are gatherings that take place in parks and other such outdoor facilities that put emphasis on connecting the fur with a bit more of the rural wilds than the urban jungles. Camp Feral!, which takes place in Algonquin leads the pack with estimates of around up to 200 guests. Today I go over my first experiences with one of these cons, and how they differ from their hotel-bound cousins: World Wild Fur Camp, which took at a YMCA camp just north of Cincinnati Ohio in the fall of 2018.

Mitigation of the Line Cons

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November 29, 2018, Midwest Furfest, 1731 hours,

I write to you, my love as I enter hour two along the snaking way. My bladder aches for release of the carbonated beverage I bought from the far overpriced convention center vending machine. The legs keeping me aloft wobble, reminding me that the days I worked in retail that had adapted me to long stretches on my feet were long in my past. Those along with me pine for acceptance into the gathering which we placed reservations for. But as those ahead go into the adjacent room I cannot tell how much further our journey shall be. The company and conversation of my colleagues keeps us going, but for the first time we may be coming to the realization that there may be some unintended consequences for the growth of our eccentric rabble.

In the meanwhile, my mind wanders. I wonder if what if anything can be done to resolve our plight. Perhaps someone, someday, will write an article providing some solutions. But until that day, here I stand.

Hope to see you when this is through,
DarkFox7912

Worry not DarkFox7912, this article goes out to you.

Further Confusion restricts membership of those with predatory history

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On December 17th, 2018, Further Confusion posted an update to its Code of Conduct rules. The update includes a stipulation that membership can be revoked by an attendee's history of sexually predatory behavior.

For the safety of our attendees, Further Confusion does not allow attendance by those with a history of sexual violence or pedophilia. If you are unsure whether your ability to attend is affected by this rule, please reach out to chairman@furcon.org

Update 10:42PM: This code of conduct has been updated further, details marked in article below

This announcement has been made around the time where pictures of a fursuiter named Growly (aka TORA) have been shared on Twitter with furs stating their frustrations about his presence at Midwest Furfest this year. Tora has been a fur fan since 1999, and is infamous due to having served time in prison over sexual abuse of a minor, being arrested and convicted for these activities in 2001. After serving his sentence, and serving three years probation, he has returned to fandom activities. Suspicion of his behavior around minors continues to this very day as his removal from Fur Affinity in 2009 was prompted by being confronted about his interactions in private note system with minors.

Furry convention attendance reaches 5 digits at Midwest FurFest 2018

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Based on preliminary numbers from this weekend, Midwest FurFest 2018 had 10,700 attendees - a 22% increase from last year! [Update: Final count, 10,989!]

Attendance aside, there were many more numbers that furries could be proud of, including:

Artwork courtesy of KunaCoyote
(Image source: @wryote)

This Is Life presented Furries as a wholesome coping mechanism, and that's fine

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Journalist Lisa Ling sits on a bed, surrounded by fursuit heads.Our fandom had been waiting for a Sunday night to watch CNN, a moment of truth.

A year earlier, Anthro Northwest sprung a surprise documentary film crew onto its attendees. It immediately caused an uproar online. There was much debate and drama around it, and then things were silent.

The film crew belonged to Lisa Ling and her new flagship show for CNN, This is Life with Lisa Ling. An episodic documentary program to highlight some of the oddities in our humble society. I, like many furs I'm sure, had never heard of the show nor seen it. It felt like we were in for another nasty media portrayal.

Closer to the airdate, we discovered that our subculture was going to be the show's season finale. Pressure's on, right?

Con Report: Eurofurence 24: Aviators – Conquer the Sky

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Eurofurence 24 ran from 22 August to 26 August this year. It was the biggest one so far and a great opportunity to meet friends from all over and enjoy oneself. There were several panels, discussions and events which are worth noting. However, conventions are very personal experiences, so while I will focus on some larger themes, your own con experiences may vary. I have previously reported on Eurofurence 21 and Eurofurence 23.

EFBanner_small.jpeg

DenFur shatters first year con record at over 2,000 attendees

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The fandom continues to show strong growth on the last weekend of August 2018. A weekend in which 5 furry conventions took place: Fur Affinity: United, Eurofurence, Camp Feral!, Indyfurcon, and DenFur. Of them the inaugural gathering in the state of Colorado has turned heads as it had shattered the first year attendance record of a furry convention at 2,086.

The first year attendance record was previously held by FurryPinas, a convention in the Philippines at 1,542 attendees, which acquired it just this last May making this year a strong startup for furry gatherings in general. Other conventions also had solid growth in attendance rates. Fur Affinity: United showing its first growth since their move out of the state of New Jersey. The number breakdowns for last weekend's cons can be seen below:

Convention

2017 Attendance

2018 Attendance

% Increase

Charity

Camp Feral!

220

[Unknown]

[Unknown]

[Unknown]

DenFur

N/A

2,086

N/A

$15,000

Eurofurence

2,804

2,908

3.7%

$47,945.07

FurAffinity:United

515

528

2.5%

$2,869

IndyFurCon

1,214

1,412

16.3%

$17,616.79

TOTAL

4,753

6,934 + [Feral]

45.88%+

$83,430.86

Update 6/29: Story indicated previous record holder was Biggest Little Fur Con, was corrected to be FurryPinas. -Cirrus credited for correction.

Harbouring Classism: Australian convention chair highlights elitism in furry fandom

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Late last year, Nightf0x, an individual who I have done furry panels about journalism and non-fiction writing, had his first furry piece published by DogPatchPress. Prior to his publication he had spoken with me about doing a review and offering advice on it. In this piece he discussed his feelings of a furry’s class and how that weighed more at a larger convention like Anthrocon where he didn’t feel such a thing at his more local gathering of Anthro Weekend Utah which has an attendance around 10% the size of the Pittsburgh gathering.

My main critique with this piece was that I had noted while he was speaking from his experience between the environments of smaller conventions against larger ones, it did not highlight, nor go into depth, why he felt that the larger one had more classism in it. There weren’t any major examples on classist behavior observed which would have sold the concept better, but instead all the article did in the end is note that it existed.

Little could have anyone suspected that in the last weekend of July, a convention from Syndey, Australia would provide us with a new neologism that would elicit more groans and eyerolls than even the infamous words of “yiff” or “popufur”. This word would become known as the highlighting of elitism, particularly that of fiscal abundance. More ironic is that the convention that coined this phrase was even smaller than the Utah convention at an attendance cap of 300.

This word is “fursuite”. A word put forth to the press by the chair of Harbour City Fur Con. It was defined as meaning “a fursuit that is cheaply made”; giving the example of a costume that is being worth less than $5,000. What followed in its wake was a stark look at classist behaviors at the small Syndey gathering, and the fandom at large.

Midwest FurFest's Dealers Den policy prohibits fan art, causes fan concerns

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Last Sunday, Canadian furry artist Nayel-ie brought to Twitter concerns about Midwest FurFest's rules for dealers, which state:

Midwest Furry Fandom Inc. prohibits the sale or offer for sale at Midwest FurFest of items that reproduce third parties’ intellectual property without the express written permission from the owner.
[...]
Prohibited are included but not limited to:

Unlicensed depictions of characters appearing in third parties' movies, TV shows, books, sound recordings, still images, sculptures or any other media. No fan art; no counterfeit goods.

Daily Fail: Daily Mail's thirsty sensationalist headline gets basic furry fact wrong

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Harbour City Furcon, based out of Sydney, Australia is a healthy yet small furry gathering of 300 people. However, despite the smaller size, over the weekend of its operation it created quite a media stir. One article by the Daily Mail’s Holly Hales shows a quite embarrassing blunder in its haste to attract an audience utilizing a hyper-sexualized headline. In the midst of orgy allegations, they destroyed any credibility of expertise on the matter being discussed by stating that the Sydney furry convention was the largest gathering of the fandom down under.

Innocent cosplayers who love dressing up as animals or deviant sex cult? 'Furries' in colourful costumes defend their pastime while gathering at Harbour City Fur Con

  • Furry fanatics have descended on Sydney as part of the fan culture's largest annual gathering down under
  • The Harbour City Fur Con convention sees people splash thousands on cartoon-inspired animal suits
  • However, the fandom has often drawn criticism for its sexual component which includes allegations of orgies

[Warning, link goes to source for documentation/evidence purposes, do not click if you do not wish to support this behavior via viewership.]

Furry conventions get bigger in Texas - outgrowing California

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Texas Fiesta_0.jpgDeep in the fuzzy heart of Texas in February 2018, Furry Fiesta had convened at a brand new facility in Dallas to compensate for their continued growth in attendance. When the festivities came to a close, it was announced that 3,866 were in attendance. This number ups its ranking in the list of most populous furry conventions, it now being the fifth largest.

It replaces Further Confusion, one of the original large furry conventions from the early years of furry. The convention from San Jose, California has always had a strong following. It’s pilot year in 1999 saw it as the third largest furry convention behind the first major gathering of Confurence, another Californian convention, and the soon to be leader of the pack Anthrocon, which was in the Philadelphia area at that time.

Further Confusion is currently in a creepingly slow decline since peaking in 2014 at 3560. As of 2018 they are now at 3415, which is still higher than they were the year before they reached their peak. This stagnation in growth can be more likely contributed to factors of seasonal competition from other growing conventions rather than the Californian convention’s own actions. Furry Fiesta, being among them, which occurs only a month after it. But also Biggest Little Fur Con (Reno, Nevada) which is geographically within 4 hours San Jose, both contribute to some stiff competition for the long running event.

Furry Conned: Credit cards used at Midwest Furfest ATMs get fraud calls

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Multiple reports have been made by furries on social media that cards utilized at ATMs in the Hyatt Regency O'Hare hotel, the main hotel of Midwest Furfest, have had attempts at fraudulent charges in the Chicago area. If you had utilized a card to withdraw money from these machines it is advised to keep an eye for any unusual activities.

Midwest FurFest usurps Anthrocon's record and becomes the world's largest furry convention

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The cockroach upon the Pittsburgh-themed horse sees the Chicago Raccoon off as it takes the lead, while special friends look on. (Art by SelkieGal)

A closing ceremony for the fandom's history books took place on December 3rd, 2017. In the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Rosemont, Illinois, uproarious cheers and howls could be heard. With the utterance of a simple number, the convention's attendance was revealed to the expectant furries and made waves. Around 8,700 people had attended the gathering in Chicago this year, and in that moment it became the largest furry convention in the world, surpassing Pittsburgh's furry convention, Anthrocon, whose attendance was 7,544 this year.

Anthro Northwest premier forgets history of Furlandia's rough first year

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Washington state has had a rough time with furry conventions in recent history. Rainfurrest had to shut down after they gained a sour reputation with hosting hotels due to reports of vandalism. So local furries were elated to hear of a new organization starting up by the name of Anthro Northwest. This convention, while a bit more stringent on their rules (particularly around adult material), was a welcome possible restart in relations with hotels in the region with furries.

But as activities started word leaked onto the internet of on camera release forms being deseminated for a show called "This is Life with Lisa Ling", a property of the channel CNN. Instantly locals had recollections of another incident that had occurred at another pilot convention one state south, Furlandia.

Update 11/15/17: Attendance has been announced and Anthro Northwest has been noted as being the largest attendance for a first year furry convention at 809, article updated to reflect this.