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.
One of the drawbacks of living in South Africa is that the furry scene is currently rather small. Despite attempts to bring furs from all over the country together for a national meet, we had limited successes and, even when we managed a national furmeet, only assembled between 14 and 16 attendees. Things have improved during the last few years, and meet sizes have increased quite dramatically, even to the point that plans are underway to reboot the South Afrifur convention in 2016.
So, when I moved to Europe, I was glad to finally have the opportunity to attend proper, large-scale furry conventions. I chose two different cons to attend. One was Lakeside Furs, which is a relatively small (approximately 50 attendees) Austrian convention. It made sense as I was now living in Austria and it offered a way to meet the Austrian furry community. I also chose Eurofurence which, as the largest furry convention in Europe, is an almost obligatory furry visit. Although I didn't realize it at the time, both Eurofurence and Lakeside Furs were started by Unci, although he is no longer involved with Eurofurence.
This news is a year old, but I don’t recall seeing any mention of it on any furry newssite from then until now..
There was a Pikachu Tairyou Hassei Chu (“An Outbreak of Pikachus”) Pokémon convention in Yokohama on August 9-17, 2014 that included a march of 1,000 costumed Pikachus (according to original press releases; it appears considerably less Pikachus actually marched) through the city.
Many people took videos of the marching Pikachus, added music including heavy metal tracks, John Williams’ Star Wars Imperial march and old Imperial Japanese Army military marches, then posted them to YouTube.
When Anthrocon started in Albany in 1997, the humble gathering went by the name of “Albany Anthrocon”. Two years later the convention found itself moving out of New York State and into Pennsylvania. Through that was learned the first major mistake a fledgling convention could make. Naming your new convention after the city it is hosted in is like someone getting their lover’s name tattooed to their arm. Ironically, it’s a mistake that other conventions still make to this day.
But living through mistakes is what makes one stronger in the end. It has now been about one decade since the largest furry convention had made its home in Pittsburgh. At this point I think it’s a much safer bet to commit to being inked.
As there were 6,389 recorded attendees to this convention, there are just as many stories and perspectives on the convention. So this review will focus on three sections I focused my experiences around: fursuiting, performances, and writing. It is essential to note that reviewing a convention is unlike reviewing any other medium where you can experience a full package. Many panels run concurrently so one has to make a choice, usually based upon one’s preferences.
Anthrocon is exceptionally supportive of furry music. The following performances – by Amadhia, Bucktown Tiger, Fox Amoore, "Bandthro", Matthew Ebel, Pepper Coyote and Rhubarb & Cosmik – can be seen at this year's event, running July 9–12 in Pittsburgh, PA.
Recently your humble ed-otter and his mate, Sy Sable, put up on YouTube a recording of the presentation they did at Further Confusion 2014 (in San Jose, California) celebrating 25 years of furry fandom conventions. That’s right, 25 years ago (well, 26 now!) in January of 1989 the very first furry-themed fan convention and seminar, ConFurence Zero, took place at a little Holiday Inn located in Costa Mesa, California, with a membership of just under 100 and an actual attendance of 65. At Further Confusion last year the co-directors of the original run of ConFurence (Mark and Rodney, sable and mink) lead a well-attended discussion about the early furry cons, how ConFurence came about, and where they’ve been since then. Afterwards, Changa Lion (of Furry.Today) went about creating a slide show and video sampler to go along with the recording of the discussion — and now, it’s available up on YouTube. Have a look — and learn some furry history.
A broken plain glass jar containing a white powder was found in the ninth floor stairwell after reports from room 963 of a strong chlorine smell that forced the occupants onto the balcony.
A standard "box alarm" at 1:03 AM was quickly elevated to a hazardous materials and third-alarm emergency response. The adjoining convention center was used to house attendees until the area was made safe, with the all-clear sounded at 4:21 AM.
The convention was held in the Ramada hotel near the Mall of America and MSP Airport, and the guests of honor were Foxfeather R. Zenkova, Kyell Gold and Jeff Eddy (head of Sofawolf Press). Overall I had a very good time!
All first-year conventions are a bit wobbly, and Furry Migration is one of the least wobbly ones I've ever attented. They ran it really smoothly, especially registration - amazingly efficient. Apparently there was a bit of a last-minute shuffling of staff in the weeks leading up to the con, and there was no sign of it. The only major let-down was the limited sponsor brunch menu (probably due to budget constraints); some panels were unusually under-attended, but you can't blame staff for that.
Despite the attendance of 543, the halls never felt horribly crowded. Friday night was a little slow, while Saturday was a blast - this is definitely a social con! Now all it needs is a zoo or general-purpose lounge, although I'm not sure where they could put one. Aside from the con suite (well-stocked with drinks and snacks), one of the nicest places to hang out was in the fresh air, there was an inner courtyard with lots of chairs. Holding the evening bonfire there went really well, great energy.