The internet was seen as a major catalyst for the furry fandom finding one another during the times before we held conventions. During that earlier period in the 1990s, conventions and meets were rare, and finding one another was done mostly through the chat rooms and message boards of the past. There was no bandwidth for video or sharing major animation projects, therefore most of our intimate conversations were textual.
For many younger furries, it was a time that was lost in the annals of a distant history. Instead they found themselves joining in amongst a wave of growing conventions being held in various places around the world on any given weekend. Ones where those in custom fursuits march out in the streets openly rather than feeling a stifling isolation of being cooped up in hotel spaces, with a handful of home made creations, being wary of a hostile media looking for a freak show.
Coming out of 2019, it seemed that the time where furry was just an internet thing was fully behind it. However a series of unfortunate events were in line for 2020, a year that has led humanity to be forced into their rooms by an irate Mother Nature as an easily spread virus has forced governments around the globe to take drastic measures to slow its spread and put strict limits on social gatherings. A situation which has forced both the furry fandom, and the internet that brought it together, back to their roots.
As governments restrict gatherings of people, furry conventions are being postponed or canceled. Here's a quick run down of events in March and April and their status as of March 28 11:00 EDT (UTC-4) in response to the COVID-19 pandemic - updates to come.
Video from Thabo Meerkat, transcribed
Welcome to another edition of Digging Up Positivity! This episode is dedicated to the many volunteers that make all those amazing conventions and charities possible. But besides them, we are covering some animation news and other (maybe otter?) tidbits!
Midwest Furfest 2019 had a pleasant surprise for its charity. An anonymous donor had decided to match the generosity of those that had gathered, which was $110,000. This doubling to $220,000 was a major push that had set up the fandom to make it past a milestone last year of raising over a million dollars to charitable causes cumulatively. The final total coming to $1,109,974.51.
The reference for this was not Wikifur as one might expect, but instead was released via a Youtube video, put together by Thabo Meerkat and Dixie Lioness. While it may seem to be a simple feature with just a bunch of numbers, these figures actually tell us a lot about the future of fundraising in the furry fandom.
Furpcolypse, out of Connecticut, has always been an interesting Halloween gathering for furries. To fit the season, the convention usually picks themes dealing with decay or a haunted vibe. Over the last few years when the hotel they contracted with fell under new management, one thing started to become perfectly clear. The venue itself was dressing itself up to the themes, and it would not back down from one upping the attendees themselves.
What was once known as the Radisson was now the Red Lion, but its foundation had not moved from its spot off the 91 in Cromwell. The venue's story is one which is cursed. Clearly the architect was mad, as they had adorned it with a lovely indoor pool, however placed it smack dab in the middle of a building that was not prepared for the maintenance and moisture that it brought with it. As a result the costs of upkeep was high, and apparently unmanageable by their owner. What followed was a game of hot potato with the ownership.
According to convention chairman Rizzorat, "configuration changes to our payment systems" which include switching payment providers necessitated a delay to "reliably implement and test" them. ConFuzzled registration, previously expected to open tomorrow (Friday, October 11), is now to open November 1 at 20:00 GMT/UTC+0 – British Summer Time to have ended October 27.
Organizers apologized to those who may have "made special plans to be available tomorrow evening to ensure you secure your registration", going further to justify and explain the change, which was felt to be "absolutely necessary to ensure your peace of mind" ahead of the event's 13th instance:
Why are we making this decision? As a result of uncertainty surrounding the UKs departure from the European Union, our banking & credit card handling partners have imposed additional conditions that we’re having to work through. Unfortunately, this is resulting in various operational changes, including (but not limited to), switching our payment partners to ensure we can maintain our normal operations.
We’d like to reassure you all that registration will be going ahead on the new date, and that ConFuzzled is not financially impacted by the above changes. Furthermore, we are fully confident that we can continue to welcome those of you who visit ConFuzzled from EU countries. Whilst we expect travel documentation requirements may change, as long as these are satisfied, we see no reason you should be unable to visit ConFuzzled.
Editors Disclosure: This article has been posted by the communications director of the convention.
Multiverse, a brand-new convention for fans of science fiction, fantasy, horror, comics, furry culture, and more, will hold its debut event from October 18th to October 20th in Atlanta, GA.
The convention, located at the Hilton Atlanta Airport, will bring together fans, authors, artists, and other creators, all of whom share a common passion—genre fiction. Attendees can expect sci-fi, fantasy, and horror media, tabletop role-playing games, cosplay, and other beloved staples of “geekery” to feature heavily at Multiverse.
“Panel discussions, a fursuit festival, an art gallery, a gaming hall, and even a charity auction for the nonprofit RAICES—it’s going to be so much fun, truly,” says convention chair Allie Charlesworth. “Whether you love Game of Thrones or Black Panther, the movie Get Out or Dungeons and Dragons or even My Little Pony, this is absolutely your con.”
Oklahoma's first three-day hotel furry convention, Tails and Tornadoes Fur Con (TTFC), has a lot to celebrate after their inaugural convention – themed as "Taking Oklahoma by Storm", and focusing on local furs and their experiences of wild weather.
The convention, held August 30-September 1 at the Southern Hills Marriott in Tulsa, OK, has been in the works for over a year, after organizers saw increased attendance at local meets, such as a furry bowling event.
TTFC's mission is to produce events with educational value surrounding the topic of anthropomorphic arts – and to raise awareness of local wildlife rescue organizations, such as their current charity, Safari's Sanctuary, based in Broken Arrow, OK.
TTFC 2019 hosted at least 507 attendees and 86 fursuiters, and raised $7000 for their charity. Chair Peace Wolf lead a team of sixty staff and advisors, working with TTFC's first two Guests of Honor, Stormi the Folf (of Mississippi) and Citrinelle (Texas).
Based on attendance, TTFC is currently the 46th largest furry convention globally. Next year's TTFC is to be held September 4-6, 2020, with the theme "Rawring 20's" — Guest of Honour and event details will be listed on the convention's website, once available.
From the oldest active fur con, to one of the newest: Wild North, held in Northumberland, just shy of the Scottish Borders, is looking to spread its wings, with falconry, archery and the cult game of Werewolves taking place at the venue over September 27-30.
Staying Friday 3 PM to Monday 11 AM costs £150 for buffet food, soft drinks and beds, but not bedding. A recent announcement added two-day weekend and single-day residency options, for £100 and £50. But prospective castle-dwellers must hurry; registration and payment is to close this Saturday, August 31.
Over 14-18 August, Berlin's Estrel hotel was filled to capacity with furs attending Eurofurence 25: 'Fractures in Time' - both the largest furry convention outside the United States (attracting 3412 this year; a 400 increase), and the oldest running furry convention in the world. EF25 celebrated 25 years since Unci made the post on alt.fan.furry leading to the con's creation.
Due to the eponymous fractures in time, Eurofurence 25 started by showing the closing video during the opening ceremonies! That was hardly the only disturbance in time and space, as attendees also saw Uncle Kage announcing the move of Anthrocon to Pittsburgh before time stabilised enough to continue as normal. It was the most impressive opening of the past five years, and you can get a sense of the excitement from one attendee's upload on YouTube. Beyond the opening ceremonies, it's impossible for any one person to see everything. I'll give an idea of what I saw and what was going on so that everyone has an idea of what they may be able to expect in future years.
Update 03/09: The final charity total is €42 105,37.
Being a con's programming director may sound easy on paper. You take a bunch of panel submissions, and assign them to rooms. However, there are a bunch of logistics involved. Like the conflicting interests of the panelists, who want to attend other events themselves, or making sure there are no schedule overlaps by knowing which rooms are available, and when.
And now to that list of concerns we can add: Making sure that inviting a particular headliner won't cause interpersonal issues with other performing talent who'll be attending.
IndyFurCon, a furry convention that takes place in Indianapolis with a Hawaiian theme this year, found itself in the midst of a gnarly programming snafu last week when it began to announce its guests for this year's gathering.
In order to celebrate their tenth anniversary, there was a decision to try and bring back the special guests they'd honored in all their prior years of operation. Things have changed in that decade though, and one of the returning alumni, 2 Gryphon, was seen as being too controversial. This led not only to Internet outrage, but other performers to back out of their planned attendance.
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.
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.
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,
Worry not DarkFox7912, this article goes out to you.