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.
Welcome 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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