DashCon Disaster – Welcome to Night Vale Walks Out & More

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As a Tumblr user and Welcome to Night Vale fan, this writer is sad to report that fandom convention DashCon – which aimed to be “the largest gathering of Tumblr users to date” – has, according to attendees, turned into a complete disaster.

Earlier this afternoon, Jeffrey Cranor, one of the creators of WTNV, posted an apology to their fans for having to leave the convention. He stated that “The organizers of [DashCon] were unable to pay for our flights, hotel, or performance fee.” This forced the WTNV staff to leave, as they did not have the funds to pay for their expenses. This fan can only hope that other WTNV listeners don’t fault them for what was obviously a difficult choice on their part.

616573_10153083147193569_2253751364028707644_oWelcome to Night Vale and its fans weren’t the only ones disappointed in DashCon, though – many other Tumblr users and supporters of this convention were left in the lurch when certain fandom committees dissolved without notice, panels started late or didn’t happen at all, and projected attendance ended up being several thousand people higher than the actual numbers (1,000 or less actual vs. 3,000-7,000 projected).

It seems that the issues with DashCon became most noticeable when the convention organizers put out a plea on Friday night, asking attendees and Tumblr users to raise $17,000 for what they claim was a last-minute demand from the hotel. When some people became suspicious about this supposed ‘demand’ and contacted the Renaissance Schaumburg to question them, the hotel repeatedly stated that they were doing no such thing. On the other hand, DashCon staff/volunteers claim that this was a legitimate issue that was quickly solved. This confusion and conflicting information will certainly lead to more investigation into what actually happened, but hopefully we will know more soon and be able to update on this story accordingly. At the moment the hotel is refusing comment to Geekiary staff members who are on scene, stating that anything regarding information about money would have to be discussed with the DashCon staff.

As a convention founder and organizer and a frequent congoer myself, situations like this one hit especially close to home. It seems like there are new conventions springing up every day – and I’ve been to some great inaugural ones – but all it takes is a few bad apples to ruin things for the good ones. It would be great if this wasn’t one of those ‘bad apple’ cases, but at this point I think only a bit of time – and of course, more information – will tell.

If you attended DashCon, we’d love to hear from you in our comments!

 

Edited at 1:37 PM EST, July 13th 2014 – Please check out the video from Geekiary staff members who attended DashCon!

Author: Tara Lynne

Tara Lynne is an author, fandom and geek culture expert, and public speaker. She founded Ice & Fire Con, the first ever Game of Thrones convention in the US, and now runs its parent company Saga Event Planning.


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About the author

Tara Lynne is an author, fandom and geek culture expert, and public speaker. She founded Ice & Fire Con, the first ever Game of Thrones convention in the US, and now runs its parent company Saga Event Planning.

Comments

  1. I attended DashCon. I’m posting this from my room in the Renaissance Schaumburg, actually. I witnessed the whole 17,000 American Dollars incident and subsequent, slightly cringeworthy “We are the Champions” singalong with my own eyes. I’m fully convinced that this was a PR stunt of some kind because nothing adds up.
    Personally, though, I had a good time! I don’t regret paying for a weekend pass and I don’t regret coming. I bought some cool stuff in the artist alley and attended some interesting panels, none of which were about “cheeckbones

    1. You might just want to plan a trip to a real convention with actual guests and events next time.

      Anime Midwest for example is super cheap if you pre-reg long ahead of time, the hotel has a room discount for congoers arranged by the convention, and there are more affordable food options within walking distance as well as free ramen, rice, and soda for snacks provided by the convention. They had many guests including Steam Powered Giraffe who did two concerts and were able to do a free photo shoot with fans because the convention paid for it so fans wouldn’t have to. That’s how you treat guests. Not only were there tons of panels, there was also main programming such as Masquerade and dances, video viewing rooms, and actual gaming rooms where there were some actual games to play.

      This convention was just last weekend, and I’m VERY grateful I went to it instead of Dash Con.

      1. I have to agree. The people of Anime Midwest gives you amazing discounts for hotels. I stayed at the Double Tree for on $94 a night. Also the staff was awesome. 10/10 would recommend!

      2. Anime Midwest? Seriously?

        There are a lot of great cons in the midwest and you pick one of the Ryan Kopf ones (google him if you don’t know who he is)…

        Anime Central, Anime Milwaukee, Geek.kon, Ramen Con… all of these are better choices.

    2. wow you actually get wifi? must have a mobile hotspot since everyone else was having issues

  2. [sorry, I accidentally hit send too soon]
    …”cheeckbones” [sic]. Honestly, I hardly experienced any of the embarrassing weeabooery that a lot of non-attendees on Tumblr seemed to expect. I really hope DashCon gets it together for next year, because I’d like to attend DashCon 2015 if it isn’t a clusterf**k like this one was.

  3. Im currently in my hotel room at dashcon and while hanging out with all the people i met was really awesome, some parts of the convention was a bit of a letdown. A lot of the panels did start late and had to be ended incomplete. The hotel is nice enough, but the internet is really expensive, and the food is too. The 17,000$ stunt was super shady to me and i hope we eventually get a legitimate statement from the hotel staff. Overall i would come again, just not for the convention but instead meeting the people here and hanging with them.

  4. I’m confused about the sob story WTNV is presenting. They knew all about the hotel cleaning the con funds out, both a contract oversight /and/ blatant discrimination. They demanded money upfront of the panel at the last minute. Close enough to the start of the panel that people were left sitting waiting for them. They refused to do a one hour panel, took their toys, and walked off with no reason to assume they wouldn’t be reimbursed when the con took in more money. If I’d known I would’ve volunteered money so Nightvale fans wouldn’t be disappointed. But no. And everyone I’ve spoken to who was waiting for the panel said the WTNV folks were originally supposed to be paid afterward and pitched a fit about an hour of their time being maybe not paid for, throwing away the possibility of reimbursement. One person commented they thought because they represented themselves as grassroots and for the people they never thought they’d behave that hurt fully. But then I guess they could always leave, cry on the internet, and get all their money from their other fans w/o doing any work at all? Buh?

    Please some more detailed reporting on this thing and not just third and fourth hand stuff or automatically trusting these WTNV people who waltzed away to spend reputation points on what may be sympathy trolling.

    1. I’m writing this at one in the morning with a riotously loud wedding party down in the lobby whooping and hollering like at a football game. This hotel looked nice when I walked in but for srs you can’t blame the DashCon staff for everything. When I was speaking to the Marriott staff myself Friday night, both the desk and floor folks, they generally told me nobody was communicating with them from higher up and they were also waiting for an official statement. I’m not standing for convention runners I don’t know. I mean, I was seriously nosey and these aren’t one sided problems. Why write this article this way w/o covering DashCon’s posted explanation equally? It’s no more or less sketch than WTNV.

        1. I’ll agree it’s pretty horrible when the staff see fit to be “an attendee” , defending the convention. There was an agreement, and the convention saw fit to disregard/ignore their agreements with their guests, the hotel, and later, their promises of a worthwhile event to their attendees.

          Remember. Don’t be an enabler and let this group get away with this again in 2015.

      1. We posted a video with DashCon’s explanation from the Night Vale incident and we also included links to staff and volunteer’s explanations. We DID present both side, but unfortunately the evidence that this was poorly run or possibly a scam far outweighs what the DashCon staff has publicly stated or released. If DashCon staff would like to talk to us personally they can talk to the two staff members in attendance or email TheGeekiary@Gmail.com

        -Admin Angel

      2. From a person who has nothing to do with either side of this – this management group running the Con was unprofessional and unorganized. Why are they discuss payments and finances days of the Con?

        I promise you this (as someone who attends plenty of professional conferences and have spoke on a few panels) a lot of the headaches are more than addressable by being buttoned-up.

        I mean her excuse was …we couldn’t get to a bank in time. Why are you waiting till now to have fund available :\

        There is no sob story for either side; just a poor execution of a conference.

    2. Performers cannot perform for free. While yes, it sounds like they probably made the choice to leave a bit too late than was ideal, the expenses of staying (food, lodging, etc) and the loss of essentially giving away their product outweighed the disappointment to fans. They put out their podcast for free and run their business mostly on con fees and donations; performing for free is not a good business plan. It was also not unreasonable (or unusual in the industry as a whole) for them to ask for payment upfront, especially since there was evidence at that point that the con was not honoring its financial obligations. Yes, there was the possibility of being paid when the con took in more cash, but that is not a definite, and for a business that runs on small margins not really an option.

      1. Considering they had other guests actually run their panels and then suddenly be notified by the hotel that they were now expected to pay their room bills, I’m glad Nightvale left. Dashcon staff didn’t pay guests who DID run their panels, I sincerely doubt they would have paid nightvale at any point.

    3. As a creator, it is not a ‘sob story’ to be upset when you are not paid the promised amount for your contracted services. Nor is it selfish to refuse to perform for free. As far as I understand it, they were ALREADY out of pocket a huge amount (that they should never have been). A legitimate con, fan or professionally run, does not require guests to pay one thin dime of their own money to get there, stay there, or eat there unless they’ve been paid a big chunk of change ahead of time as a flat sum from which they take their own expense money. One of two things happened here. 1) This was an incredibly inexperienced first time convention organization that reached too far and refused to do any research on what is necessary to run a con, or 2) This is an intentional scam to make money. Either way, the WTNV people should not have been expected to deal with this, and were WELL within their rights to refuse to perform.

    4. I’m siding with WTNV. This wasn’t a charity event. It was a convention. You need to pay your talent at a convention.

      1. Like I said, before taking their side it’d be good to investigate if they really were already supposed to be paid later and stood up the first panel while demanding to be paid in advance ‘just in case’ in which case, no, they were not behaving professionally whatsoever. Their ability to check out unexamined stills seems to be the privilege of a possibly undeserved reputation.

        As somebody who has no engagement with the product, the reports from their hurt long term fans directly after the event has weight with me as well as one of the panelists on “Homoerotic Subtext” (nobody’s getting paid or anything to be a panelist, everybody’s at liberty, the person is not associated with the con or getting perks) declined to promote WTNV on her recommendations for positive, intersectional representations, saying she was reconsidering her support of them based on their poor behavior. All I’ve heard from the ground is at least equal fault.

        Accepting somebody’s side of the story because their product is entertaining really isn’t enough. Demanding money ahead of when you were ever supposed to be paid with a room of people waiting for you to come on? I’d like real reporting on if that happened versus hand waving. Heck, I’m interested.

        It’s rustrating to see an article like this based on what looks like mostly reading troll rumor lingering #dashcon on tumblr without any proper interview of attendees. I’m attending and presenting and it’s going fine for me, personally. Some people have had poor experiences. But the idea that this is some kind of total disaster isn’t warranted so far.

        1. Sorry, but almost every convention runs on the basis of money up front for guests. It protects guests and means guests are not out of pocket. It sounds most likely that WTNV were very good eggs by not demanding payment up front of their attendance, but refusing to pay them until “some other time” because the money was “locked away in PayPal” is at best atrocious management – not having the money as cash or doing a bank transfer days in advance is insane – and at worst an attempted scam. WTNV were absolutely right to walk in any of these scenarios. If WTNV had agreed to be paid after their appearance but subsequently demanded payment up front in the light of the con failing to meet its financial obligations, that’s a sensible financial move. What this sounds like, though, is DashCon did not have contracts in place for their guests setting out payment terms and appearance conditions (which is how real cons do it) and that they were not in a position to honor an agreement made between them and WTNV. So WTNV in my mind are absolutely, clearly in the right here. There isn’t any excuse for mismanaging a con to this extent with that much money.

          1. I’ve helped organize several cons, and am friends with people hwo successfully put on cons every year (including the Underground Monster Carnival in OKC)… It is most CERTAINLY common practice to pay your special performing guests up front the day of (or even before) the convention. Most performers won’t even talk to you if you even remotely suggest that payment will be deferred to a later date, that you can’t pay them, or anything other than upfront. Yes, we have had people walk out because they didn’t want to wait an extra 20 minutes to get their cash because it was taking a bit to count the cash drawers. They’re fully within their rights to do so, and it’s not “poor practice” not to. That is literally how the industry is run. That is how these things work.

            1. Same here. I work for a number of conventions, and when it comes to guests, you pay their transportation, you pay their room, you make sure they get any vendor tables or the like that they are supposed to get, and you give them whatever appearance fees or stipends that are agreed upon. And you do all of this BEFORE they set foot upon the premises (with the exception of stipends and/or appearance fees). You also make sure you put it all in writing, so if a guest DOES walk, you can hit them with breach of contract.

              DashCon seems to have decided that Night Vale should be happy to come to their new convention and pay their own way. Night Vale gave DashCon publicity on their shows and on their website (BTW, DashCon is no longer listed on their list of shows, although they are still on the tour’s picture), and DashCon gave them nothing except the promise of “Oh, we’ll pay you later.”

              Not only were the Night Vale people in the right to walk, but they were smart to do so. They’ve spent 2 years doing this and managed to draw multiples of DashCon’s entire attendance to their own shows. They worked the convention into their tour schedule, they bent over backwards to do what they could, but eventually, they had to stand for what was right as performers.

              Good for them.

            2. exactly…I can’t believe anyone would even side with DashCon on this. Its extremely unprofessional to ask for a last minute fundraiser and not having clarified payment terms before hand.

        2. We have two staff members in attendance. Sorry if you missed that part? We even have a video of them at the convention itself, which we’ve now linked in the original article and in an article of its own. So it’s not like we didn’t even talk to any attendees. Two of us ARE attendees. They are there. Filming. Reporting. Talking to people. The very things you are saying this blog is not doing.

          I’m still siding with WTNV. Performers need to be paid for events unless its a charity event or something and all of the details are worked out beforehand. That is very clearly not the case here or they wouldn’t have walked.

          -Admin Angel

        3. given how terrible the thing was going, and how many problems were evident, I would have demanded payment up front as well. considering how many panelists got stuck with their hotel bill and fees because the organizers pulled their promise of payment, I don’t blame WTNV at all and I doubt anyone with brains (clearly not those running dashcon) would either.

        4. This is simple. This is a business. If you are running a con there are a few details you need to work out first. Funding being the most important. As evident by a last minute fund raiser – they obviously were not organized and not funded. Moreover its extremely unprofessional to discuss payment w/ performer day of. This should be settled before even announcing their appearance.

          What we need to know are the payment terms.

          But even at that consider the following: if you were owed money and you hear the person who owes you money, (24 hours before having to pay you) asking for a last minute cash-injection – how would you react?

          Personally I don’t fault WTNV for walking if they lack confidence in payment. That’s a full staff that includes hotel, food, travel expenses. Getting stiffed is a risk not worth taking.

    5. I’m confused about the sob story DashCon is presenting. They knew all about the hotel cleaning the con funds out, both a contract oversight /and/ blatant discrimination. They demanded money upfront of the con at the last minute. Close enough to the start of the panel that people were left sitting waiting for them. They refused to pay anyone on time, took their money, and walked off with no reason to assume they wouldn’t be reimbursed when the donations took in more money. If I’d known I would’ve volunteered money so Tumblr fans wouldn’t be disappointed. But no. And everyone I’ve spoken to who was waiting for the con said the hotel folks were originally supposed to be paid afterward and pitched a fit about an hour of their time being maybe not paid for, throwing away the possibility of reimbursement. One person commented they thought because they represented themselves as grassroots and for the people they never thought they’d behave that hurt fully. But then I guess they could always leave, cry on the internet, and get all their money from their other fans w/o doing any work at all? Buh?

      Please some more detailed reporting on this thing and not just third and fourth hand stuff or automatically trusting these Dashcon people who waltzed away to spend reputation points on what may be sympathy trolling.

      1. …you’ve said this once, CK. Or, well, now you’re KF. Posting the same thing again? You don’t look like part of the con AT ALL, right? Super defensive, calling everyone a “troll” who disagrees. Nice and mature, that.

        1. It appears to me that CK and KF are different people, and KF is using essentially the same thing that CK said about not trusting Welcome to Nightvale to say that CK (and everyone else) shouldn’t trust the Dashcon organizers.

            1. Different IPs can be faked. It doesn’t mean they are different people. You can be on the same computer can go through a browser proxy or use a VPN.

              1. *can go through a browser proxy or use a VPN.

                and can through…

                ugh, still not over migraine aphasia.

              2. I am well aware of this but I doubt people who put on such a disaster of a convention would either 1) know how to do it or 2) have the time to consider it when their con is falling apart around them.

      2. Don’t you hate it when your fingers start poking out of the toes of the sock puppet?

        1. I’m of the opinion that CK/KF are Dashcon staff trying to engage in some damage control.

          1. KF took the post about WTNV, copied it and then changed a few words, making it a satire of the original post by CK. Notice how it says “I’m confused about the sob story DashCon is presenting.” whereas the original says “I’m confused about the sob story WTNV is presenting.”

            If you read closer next time, you’ll notice it’s word for word but they replaced a few proper nouns.

      3. Asking a client to fulfill the terms dictated in their contract is discrimination now? News to me. I wasn’t there, but I do know how convention booking is usually handled. Conventions reserve a “room block.” That is, they promise the hotel that a certain number of rooms will be booked in exchange for reduced fees for the convention space. If the day arrives and those rooms aren’t filled, the con eats both the cost of the rooms (albeit at a discount), and charges additional money for the convention space. These terms are ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS spelled out in advance, in writing.

        From what I’ve been able to gather, Dashcon promised the hotel that they would be COMPLETELY booked for the con (there’s talk of an overflow hotel prior to the con). When literally 10% of the promised attendees showed up, they exercised their right to charge additional money for the space. It has nothing whatsoever to do with “discrimination” or not liking “nerds”. Chicago hosts some of the largest sci-fi and anime conventions in the country, many of them dating back 20-30 years.

        When Dashcon booked the convention, they set aside rooms and facilities that could have been used by other organizations. They scheduled staff, ordered food/etc., expecting to service a full hotel. They give large conventions a discount because they expect to make up for the loss with things like food, internet charges, etc. Surprise surprise, hotels are businesses, not charities.

        1. Yeah, the “discrimination against nerds” gambit that Dashcon pulled to grab more money from people really rang hollow to me. I think someone in the Renaissance hierarchy knows what a fandom con is and if they hated nerds so much they wouldn’t’ve been able to reserve this hotel in the first place.

      4. The hotel wouldn’t allow Dashcon to proceed without upfront payment. That’s not how Marriott facilities operate. They would have expected payment in full no less than five days prior to the event or Dashcon would not have been allowed to proceed. Period, end of story.

      5. If it’s information that you want, then I’ve got it for you. WTNV has it very clear that all payments would have to be in advance(just like any standard hotel contract), as was travel, hotel, and food. For them to come out without even having their travel covered in advance was astonishing, and highly unusual. But it is very much standard that everything be covered prior to any performance. It’s all in their contract. A contract that was violated by the staff of Dashcon.

    6. KF’s 1:19pm post shows that KF is not a performer. It is industry standard for performers (musicians, comics, etc.) doing one-off shows to receive payment before walking onstage. Many years of unscrupulous venue owners/operators, bookers, managers, etc. ripping performers off have led directly to this practice. What happened in this instance is not a freak occurence. Ask around. Many of your favorite performing artists have refused to go on for lack of payment. My father has been a professional working musician for almost sixty years and he’s been screwed over enough times that he (and everyone he works with) demands payment before taking his horn out of the case. It’s the way business is done.

      1. Ditto with what YeahRight said. I’ve seen a lot of hotel contracts and while exact payment terms vary based on what is negotiated, hotels just don’t go demanding money at the last minute in the way Dashcon is claiming. Especially not at 10pm on a Friday night when the accounting people would have gone home already. If Dashcon really wants to prove their side of the story, they should post their contract and not some possibly faked letter online.

    7. DashCon had one job to do…

      You don’t make last minute switches (requiring you to ask for a last minute fund drive) and you don’t discuss payment details hours before a show. The management lacked professionalism and organization. Everything else is white noise.

  5. Top notch reporting there Ace. Can’t even get the abbreviation for the group you are an apparent fan of correct.

    1. Do you have anything to add other than pointing out that my author flipped two letters in an abbreviation? Also, she is a fan. I know her, so there is no “apparently” about this. You need to read the policies of the website before commenting again: https://thegeekiary.com/policies

      “Disagreement is fine, but please do not be cruel, hurtful, rude, or downright mean towards other community members. Personal attacks are not allowed. Stay on topic. If you can’t engaged in civil discourse do not engage at all.”

    2. Wow. Yes. I actually have issues with transposing numbers and with letters in acronyms. It’s actually a learning disability. So thank you for pointing that out.

        1. Transposed letters are a really small thing to nitpick considering the weight of what the article is actually about. It’s not like she got the name of the show wrong. She transposed letters in an abbreviation. It should be pretty obvious that it’s a letter transposing issue based on the fact that she got the title of the show right.

          Now please, let’s discuss the more important things going on here, like the horrible mismanagement that went on at this convention.

          -Admin Angel

  6. Dashcon was advertised as “the largest gathering of tumblr users in one place” and people are actually surprised its a cringe inducing failure

    Christ just watching footage from it the secondhand embarrassment is hard to bear. I bet the people actually attending will have to shower for weeks straight before they feel clean again

    1. This. Given my expectations when I heard about a Tumblr convention, this was a roaring success!
      And a good representation of Tumblr, bad with money, INCREDIBLY childish behavior, and victim blaming (while complaining about victim blaming!)
      I mean all in all, this was a very meta convention. While, yes, it brought together members of the Tumblr community, it also showed us what would happen if Tumblr was a real place instead of simply a website.

  7. I would like to just point this out real quick: I worked in event coordination for 3 years and that included negotiating contracts for events with both podcasters and bands, both of those operate on a similar level and Welcome to Night Vale had every right to walk out (even on short notice) if they had not or were not going to be compensated for their work ahead of time. Normally before you get a guest there is some sort of contract in place on both their part and yours; if neither party had a contract then it’s tricky to see what was going on, if it was an ‘oral’ one (like what almost every contract I’ve read about has been at this convention) then I can pretty much assume that they told the staff of this that they would want payment before their panel. You can’t expect people who run a podcast or perform to do anything for free since that’s their income; you are paying them for time lost that they could have made money by working on or completing other projects, for having to cancel appointments that may have been made or keep the dates you want them to appear or perform open, and for any possible lost advertisement revenue (they have video’s on youtube that they could claim and get the ad revenue from along with a website they need to maintain). Welcome to Night Vale shouldn’t have had to pay for anything up until the panel if the event had been planned properly; if they had done so on the assumption they would be paid when they got there or before their panel then I understand just up and leaving if the staff couldn’t do that since they would have no guarantee on if they would be making back any money that they put in already. While it must suck for those who were waiting for the panel for it to be cancelled they really need to look at it from the other perspective of “We have no guarantee they can pay us the amount we requested and we may lose more money than we can get back” before they go trying to make Welcome to Night Vale into a bunch of bad guys.

    1. Hear hear.

      I was actually at a first-time con that divebombed with a $5k deficit they had to ask the congoers to fundraise during con. And they were honest and up-front about it, as well as repentant (I only know their honesty for sure because they had kindly offered their ConOps room for me to sleep in for the weekend – unprecedented, but kind. So I heard all their problems and discussions. Nice games of Apples-to-Apples, too). They were honest with the congoers – we’re really sorry, we f*cked up, here’s how we f*cked up, we’re really sorry. Then they auctioned off their own and donated items, opened up donations, raffles, etc. to make up the $5k. All apologizing for the inconvenience and oversights.

      Then I look at this DashCon debacle. There’s a right way and a wrong way to handle f*cking up…

      1. Yep. And DashCon’s way meant that everyone at the con who believed their crap was going to end up hating the hotel staff. Which is so wonderful for people who are just trying to do their jobs!

  8. I was there Friday and Saturday with a friend. We attended a few panels and the main thing that I had an issue with was the fact that there was no space between panels. Every con I’ve attended the panels ended 10 minutes before the hour, to clear the room before the next one and have time to get to another one. That was an issue, and one reason why nothing was starting on time. And honestly, the panels sounded cooler in their descriptions. A couple of the ones we went to were ill-prepared and so basic that we could have gotten more interesting information from a Wikipedia article. One last nag: the PDF booklet was almost useless. Having the various panels and their descriptions in it would have been helpful, and a numbered map of Artist Alley without a key was worthless, but whatever.

    I don’t regret going. The big thing I wanted to accomplish, I got accomplished – Noelle Stevenson was the whole reason I wanted to go in the first place. I got to meet her, she signed my comics, and I got a terrific Nimona print.

    This was their first time organizing a con so I can forgive a lot, but I think they still have a lot to learn.

    1. But that’s where you allow them to get away with it. I see every year horrible events take place, and people keep attending them year after year, with the premise that “Maybe they’ll do better next year”.

      Please, just please do not be an enabler.

    2. Noelle Stevenson went to the con under the impression that her travel would be paid for. According to her twitter, the con wasn’t going to pay for her room and she ended up crashing with some of the Night Vale guys.

  9. I agree. This one seems to walk the line of looking like both a poorly run con *and* a scam.
    Also, there’s this one repeat commenter in there who’s posting as different people and talks like he may be part of con staff… seriously, didn’t he think people would notice the exact wording his aliases are copypasta-ing?
    I say WTNV had every right to walk out. They were already out of pocket and weren’t seeing signs of being reimbursed. DashCon was suddenly dropping a 17k deficit sum for the fans to voluntarily pick up for them via fundraiser during the con (supposedly for the hotel, according to con staff, which the hotel denied was true). WTNV makes their money by donations, the store, and events like this – it’s the income that drives the show and makes it possible, since the podcast is free. I would walk out too, to make it clear that I will not be scammed into performing for free as a guest – who, by the way, had already paid for their own flights, hotel, food, etc. – when promised these and a performance fee would be paid for by the convention.
    I hate when this happens.

  10. I didn’t attend Dashcon, but I was a member of a few committees early on. The admins were bad at communicating with committee heads, and several people said they were booted from committees for inactivity, when in reality, we weren’t given anything to do. I left a few weeks after Tumbl-con (what it was originally called) became Dashcon. Honestly, though, none of what is happening is surprising. From the get-go they were asking teenagers to create paypal accounts (and connect them to personal bank accounts, which is totally not sketchy at all) as well as fundraise for them, without offering anything in return. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if committee members had to pay for a badge, either. The legality is unsurprising as the admins have little to no business experience. It breaks my heart to see something that could have been a fun convention fall apart. If another group that is well prepared to organize and run a convention decides to make a Tumblr convention, I’ll fully support them. Dashcon is poorly organized and poorly run, any of the committee members could have told you that from the very beginning.

  11. I might have more sympathy about this ‘awful misundstanding’ if Dashcon hadn’t also screwed two of it’s featured fanartists too (maybe more) but Gingerhazing posted about it-she was supposed to be there as a guest and have her room paid for, she ended up paying for it herself and leaving early and sleeping on somebody’s couch. It also might have looked a little less shady to everyone if Dashcon hadn’t tweeted Night Vale in desperation on friday night begging for money and retweets to keep their con open when they thought they were about to get thrown out? That kind of thing doesn’t exactly establish trust in your performers that they are going to get paid.

    1. Yes, of course! That’s it! The staff didn’t lie about the hotel in order to raise funds to pay guests opnly to then claiom they will reimburse congoers because the guests realized how shady this was and left… no, it must have been Anonymous! Yes, anonymous held a fake hotel meeting claiming the hotel wanted specifically 17,000 out of nowhere, and clrearly the staff wouldn’t be expected to actually verify contractual obligations with the actual hotel management right? Yes, totally more likely that somehow 4chan did this just because someone on 4chan said Dashcon is going to suck, which was rather obvious from the get go.

      Actually, it looks like staff lied about the hotel in order to raise funds to pay guests, forgetting that they would not be able to transfer money out of the pay pall account to guests immediately. So then the guests start baling out because they see this weird shady shit going on, hardly any attendees, and think ‘we’ve been duped! we’re not getting paid, there are no fans to buy merch, and we are getting billed for our travel and rooms!’ Now the staff have $17,000 that they conned people out of and no legit convention expense to spend it on. Hilarious!

      1. Watch the tone, please.

        You need to read the policies of the website before commenting again: https://thegeekiary.com/policies

        “Disagreement is fine, but please do not be cruel, hurtful, rude, or downright mean towards other community members. Personal attacks are not allowed. Stay on topic. If you can’t engaged in civil discourse do not engage at all.”

        1. given the circumstances, I don’t think their tone is out of bounds. There were no personal attacks, nor is the commenter directly lobbing their attitude at one specific person on this community.

          Sarcasm is not the same as violating the policies.

      2. I think he’s right, though. What will they do with that raised $17k? Will they reimburse the guests for their trouble?

  12. I didn’t mind WTNV cancelling because they let us have an extra hour in the ball pit (although frankly it smelled a little like an outhouse). I’m sure it will be much better next year.

  13. biggest trainwreck evar. and best part is, they probably ran off with the money. when you or anyone else asks for a refund, they will play victim. i should make a bet in vegas on this.

  14. As a professional convention organizer, I call scam.

    I would honestly call out the Dashcon organizers on fraud, on quite a few levels. The event didn’t have the funds to cover the event, but that didn’t stop them from “running” their event. Here’s what you have to keep in mind.

    1. There is no hotel that would agree to allow any group to move in without paying for the space. Unless they had years worth of history between a group and a venue, there is no way that they would allow the group to “pay throughout the weekend”. There are deposits that need to be paid in advance, and the hotel WILL notify a group about said payments, and these are all clearly laid out in any standard hotel contract.

    Next up, let’s talk about guests. The Night Vale staff and cast should have been paid before their events, it’s just how this is done. You don’t go on until you’ve been paid, and by all counts, the Dashcon staff should have had the fundage from their pre-registration sales to cover their talent. To hear that they hadn’t even covered transportation, let alone their fee, should have been a giant red flag. The Night Vale crew came out on their own dime, in the middle of a tour none the less, and they were stiffed.

    Now let’s talk about the raising of funds to actually pay the hotel. That’s $17,000, which is no small number. At no point should attendees, or the community have had to have covered that expense. Guest what? No one is going to see that money back. This is money that they got with no conditions whatsoever, and a lot of it was in cash. From all accounts, the hotel is also claiming that they never made said ultimatum to kick them out if they didn’t get their money by X time.

    Passing the buck. So now it turns out that even more guests did not get paid. The original band they booked, Steam Powered Giraffe, cancelled some time back because their flights had not been covered, and they obviously could see the signs in advance, and luckily avoided this debacle. Now we’ve confirmed that guests are now having to foot the bill for their own hotel rooms. All this while the con organizers are ignoring their calls.

    People paid extra to see Steam Powered Giraffe, and were not refunded when they withdrew. People paid extra to see Welcome to Night Vale, and they will not be refunded for a show that will not take place. What did they get? The offer to have an “extra hour in the ballpit”…I’m sorry, this is 100% a scam. The sheer level of expectation for what was promised is beyond inexcusable.

    $80 at the door for the weekend. I have attended and run my fair share of conventions in the past, and I only know a few who can charge that sheer amount, and most of those have 30k+ attendance, and more towards the 50-80k mark. This was hands down one of the most brazen shams and scams, and inexperience is not an excuse, especially when they claim to have over 15 years of business experience. I have no sympathy for the runners of this event, as their actions will do nothing but harm not only first-year conventions for a long time to come, but they also damage other long established events by their actions.

    Oh, did I forget to mention that they promised 3-7k attendance for their first run? Their first run! Most accounts give a 500-1000 head estimate, and they knew what their pre-registration numbers were at, so when they have only 500 badges available a day for at-door purchasing, how did they possibly conceive that they would reach those numbers, and by that logic, how were they going to pay for the event.

    This event needs to go like Las Pegasus Pony Con in Vegas. Buried with no hope of reviving, because they won’t learn, nor should they be given a second chance. They’ve already received more than enough slack, but to reward them by letting them continue? I’m sorry, but you CANNOT reward bad behaviour like this.

    OH, but they already have their 2015 event planned out. Watch out Indianapolis, Dashcon returns one year from next weekend to come ruin both conventions and fandoms for your region. Best of luck, and talk to their hotel, because I’m sure that there will be issues with following(or even reading) contracts, and “PayPal Malfunctions”, just like this year. Have fun with that ballpit folks, because that’s the most consolation prize that you’ll ever get from these folks.

    -Raoul

    1. Only one correction: the Brony convention in Vegas was called Las Pegasus Unicon.

      I also wouldn’t necessarily call DashCon a scam, as I seriously doubt monies were pocketed as profit (unlike LPU). Nail on the head for pretty much everything else, though. DashCon was mismanaged on every level and needs to either cease to exist or have their entire administrative team removed.

    2. I don’t think it was a scam so much as pure incompetence mixed with lies that were trying to hide their failures.

      Whole damned thing’s a mess.

    3. Though it may have started with incompetence, appearances make it look like they’re scamming off with the money… they have hotels lined up for 2015 already. And I’m like, guys, you think there’s going to be a 2015? And you’re estimating 5,000-8,000 guests? Get a reality check and a lawyer.
      They’re already memefied.
      It’s based on a social media site! They don’t think word will get out to avoid them like the plague? You know… maybe on Tumblr? The Tumblr Dashcon tag is great, btw.
      Also – a note. They did give some sort of money to pay The Baker Street Babes, but ONLY after they threatened legal action… HINT HINT, everyone else.

  15. Initially, I didn’t plan on going to DashCon. But when I heard WTNV was SUPPOSED to perform, I decided, “Screw it, I’ll go to see them.” because I love them so much. Not only were we all disappointed, I was incredibly angry — not at the WTNV crew — but at DashCon. This is the absolute worst “convention” I have ever had the displeasure of taking part in, and I feel incredibly bad that the WTNV team wasted their time on this.

  16. WTNV was smart to walk. 1. The DashCon organizers got a bunch of minors to donate on Paypal (Good chance they were logging into their parent’s account.) 2. DashCon LLP is an Ohio Company. Ohio has laws against fraudulently soliciting donations. Check the Ohio Attorney General website. There’s an online form to fill out to file a complaint. Meaning – those donations are possibly a criminal, not civil, offense. 3. The Dashcon Organizers were showing WTNV their Paypal balance to show them they had money to pay. Put 2 and 2 together . . . WTNV would have been paid out of potentially fraudulently sought donations.

    FYI – I attended DashCon. The cosplayers were amazing but the panels were disasters. Doug Jones was the saving grace of the entire event and I really hope he didn’t get screwed because he was truly wonderful.

  17. As a, relatively, long time convention goer (I’ve been attending various conventions for over a decade now) I can’t stop shaking my head at all the signs that conventions goers are missing. When the reason you are going to a convention backs out at the last minute, and it doesn’t get much more last minute than being at the con, because their travel, room and payment for performance are missing there really isn’t much you can stop to say in the defense of the people in charge. I’m a photographer and I can tell you there is no way that I would do a paid shoot on the promise of money to come. I will take the pictures, review them with you and expect my payment before I go onto the processing and delivery of the product. You can’t expect talent to work for free, if they did nobody would make anything that people find enjoyable because there would be no way to make a living off of it.

    I hope that DashCon is dead. It was an interesting theory but it failed and the experiment should not be reproduced, or at least not reproduced by the same people as are currently in charge.

  18. I didn’t attend Dashcon, and it seems that I probably made the right choice by not purchasing a ticket. I have attended VidCon twice, and if that is what Dashcon was attempting to emulate, it blatantly failed. VidCon is run by professionals, not any old teenager with an Internet connection and a Skype account (see http://augustinesycamore.tumblr.com/post/91592502875/here-goes-i-decided-to-write-up-my-personal and http://augustinesycamore.tumblr.com/post/91658737570/here-it-is-part-2-i-found-even-more-junk-on)This had disaster written all over it from the beginning. And in keeping with the VidCon comparison, WTNV was absolutely correct in walking. While VidCon guests like Jenna Marbles have bailed, it has been only for personal reasons and at no fault of the convention. If Dashcon is the real-life embodiment of Tumblr, I am ashamed to be a Tumblr user. Dashcon appears to have committed blatant fraud. The organizers have at the very least lied about attendance numbers, and at most cheated artists, creators, fans, and volunteers out of the money they rightly deserved. Do not allow this atrocity to make a reappearance in 2015.

  19. haha wow I love how they went immediately to 4chan as the scapegoat. Not the fact how mismanaged this con was…

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