DashCon 2014 is officially over, and considering the mess that it became shortly after it started, I’m shocked that the convention – and the people who organized it – lasted out the weekend. Apparently others feel the same way as well, as Geekiary staff members who attended the convention spoke to several people about the situation and received some pretty similar statements from most of them. These statements included comments such as “Everybody wanted it to fail before it even happened”, “the Internet looked at the description [of DashCon] and made fun of it”, “[the convention was] poorly run”, and that the organizers simply aimed too high.
It certainly seems clear that the latter is true, as DashCon was held at a five-star hotel and booked popular podcast Welcome to Night Vale as their convention headliner. That’s pretty bold for a first-time convention that didn’t meet their Indiegogo goal (falling about $1,000 shy of it) and also apparently never sent out the rewards promised to those who donated. Additionally, DashCon claimed to be in a ‘partnership’ with the Random Acts charity, but after the convention begged attendees and Tumblr users to raise $17.000 – and then raised it, but still couldn’t (or wouldn’t) pay the WTNV staff for their time or expenses – many people began questioning this partnership, as well. We here at The Geekiary contacted Random Acts for a statement regarding this situation, explaining our intention to produce this follow-up story and our hopes that they would clarify the nature of their partnership with DashCon. Their response was as follows:
Thank you for your email. We did not have any official affiliation or partnership with DashCon. One of the administrators had completed a Volunteer Fundraiser form and been approved to run a fundraiser. This differs from a partnership in that we do not offer any support to the program and the Fundraiser accepts all responsibility in maintaining the integrity of the event. We have received several emails regarding allegations of mismanagement of funds. As of Sunday, the individual who had submitted the initial paperwork was asked to stop collecting funds for Random Acts. We have reached out to them since regarding if any funds were collected, but have not been given an amount yet. We are watching this situation very closely. If anyone did give money to DashCon with the express purpose of the money being donated to Random Acts, we ask that they please contact us. If they received a receipt for payment, they should also send a copy of that receipt. As of now, we have not received any information regarding people who claim they donated, just people with concerns about our general affiliation or lack thereof. Thanks!
This statement from Random Acts seems to add a bit more weight to the opinion that DashCon organizers simply bit off more than they could chew and weren’t just running a complete scam, but there are still people pointing out that there was likely a clear contract between the convention and the hotel, a contract that DashCon obviously couldn’t fulfill…as well as other people breaking down the letter that the convention supposedly received from the hotel on Friday, July 11th. Unfortunately there’s a chance that the full, true story will never come to light, though people have continued to post about their experiences with DashCon – as [one-time] volunteers, as vendors, and as guests. It was briefly speculated that a lawsuit – or lawsuits – against DashCon were already in the works, but unless we see more solid proof that it was a scam and not just complete disorganization, that seems unlikely. Meanwhile, there are still plenty of people professing to have had a good time despite the mishaps, because while everyone seems to agree that the convention management was a total mess, the attendees were apparently great.
There was in fact a feedback panel at the end of the convention during which the organizers claimed that DashCon 2015 was still going to happen, and I for one am interested in seeing how that pans out. In the meantime, there are several amusing posts and blogs popping up in the wake of this DashCon disaster, and personally I suggest checking out “What can you buy with 17,000 dollars?“, both for the laughs and for the fact that it’s using this ridiculous situation to actually raise money for a good cause. And here’s hoping that eventually we’ll have clarification on whether DashCon was more mess than scam, or vice versa.
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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