Endless Convention Cancellations: MCM Birmingham, All-Con, & More

MCMSomeday I will write about things other than COVID-19 convention cancellations, but that day is not today. Let’s start with MCM Comic Con Birmingham.

MCM Comic Con Birmingham is one I’ve been keeping my eye on for a while.  I was honestly a bit surprised they didn’t pull the plug earlier in the week, but the MCM chain of conventions is also part of Reed Exhibitions, who have been extremely determined to hold their conventions until they are forced to cancel by emergency limits on gatherings put out by authorities.  It seems that’s finally happened and MCM Comic Con Birmingham has fallen.

Their statement

We are passionate and dedicated to delivering the best possible experiences for everyone who attends our shows, we know that MCM Comic Con means a great deal to a lot of people, and we care deeply about the MCM community that we love so much. We always want the best for our fans.

Having monitored the situation around COVID-19 constantly over these last few weeks and taking on board the feedback from the MCM community, we have taken the difficult decision to postpone MCM Comic Con Birmingham. The show is now scheduled to run from 27-28th June 2020 at the NEC, Birmingham.

We tried to do everything we could to run the event as planned, at all times following the protocols and advice set by the World Health Organisation (WHO), Public Health England and the relevant local authorities in Birmingham, but ultimately, we have listened to and acted on the feedback from you, our community, and postponing is the responsible and right decision.

We realise this decision is going to impact many of the individual creators who depend on MCM Comic Con. Please know that we will do as much as we can to shine a light on your work in the days and weeks ahead and ask that our community support you and help lessen any impact this may have on you all.

To all our fans, your tickets will be valid for the new MCM Comic Con Birmingham dates and no further action is needed on your part. More information on our guest line-up in June will be communicated as soon as we have it. Should you be unable to attend the new dates or have any additional queries please contact our Customer Services team at MCMBirminghamMarch@reedexpo.co.uk

Our thoughts go out to everyone affected by the COVID-19 virus in what is an incredibly challenging time. We remain dedicated to creating a positive and safe environment to celebrate comics, cosplay and pop culture and look forward to a fun weekend in Birmingham in June.

So far the MCM Comic Con London, scheduled for the end of May, has not suffered the same fate.  We’ll see if that actually happens.  I’m incredibly doubtful.  I feel like the summer convention season is going to have mass cancellations announced in just the next couple of weeks, just like spring.  We may not actually get a decent convention season until the fall.  I hope I’m wrong!

Meanwhile, the London Gaming Market is going to continue, much to the surprise of many potential attendees.  

They stated that they “believe at present, given the very low numbers of confirmed cases in London and the relatively small size of the market, any risk to health is extremely minimal.”  I vehemently disagree with that statement, but I’m just a random blogger on the other side of the planet, so that doesn’t matter too much I guess. 

Good luck, attendees.  Please watch my safety video before heading out to the market.

Meanwhile stateside, All-Con, which I’ve also been tracking closely, pulled the plug when I wasn’t looking.  Today would have been the second day of the con, and when I checked in on them yesterday none of their social media indicated anything was amiss.  However, the front page of their website now reads “Event Ended by Judicial Order from County of Dallas due to county-wide public health concerns.”

A Facebook post has the following vague announcement:

Dallas County has issued an edict closing all events with more than 500 participants as of March 13th, 2020 at 11am. Due to this, ALL-CON will be closing. We are sorry for any inconvenience this may cause. All content MUST end by 11am March 13th, 2020.

Since I’m not there in person and only have social media to go by, it LOOKS like they were able to have their first day without disruption, but got ordered to stop late last night.  If true, this marks the first convention that I’ve been tracking to have the plug pulled partway through the event.  However, if someone from Dallas wants to chime in and correct the assumptions I’m making based on social media, feel free to do so!

Other cancellations in Texas include AggieCon Hall of Gaming in College Station scheduled for March 21st, Texas Pinball Festival scheduled for March 27th-29th, and Fan Expo in Dallas scheduled for March 27th-29th.

Another con that we’ve been tracking (since yesterday, anyway) is Conageddon in Boston for the weekend of April 3rd-5th, which went from being alarmingly hostile towards attendees expressing concern, to understanding this is a pretty major health crisis and choosing to postpone the event.

The original kerfuffle on Twitter is now on locked accounts, so who knows what’s going on there. But the event isn’t happening and that’s the important bit.  Whatever tension was going on between attendees and con organizers is secondary now to the fact that the right move is being made to help mitigate the outbreak in the United States.

ClexaConA convention that’s very near and dear to our hearts here at the Geekiary, ClexaCon, has also been impacted.  The con was originally set for April 16th-19th in Las Vegas, but they are postponing the event to an unknown later date. 

We’ve been covering ClexaCon since it began and planned on attending this year, but sadly it’s just not to be.  We’ll see if we can make it to the potential rescheduled date. 

For the record, this marks the third convention we planned on attending this year that’s been impacted, and I can almost guarantee you that it won’t be the last.

Then we have a bunch of stuff happening in New York, which is turning into a massive hot spot in the United States.  Or, at least they are finally testing and we can see that they are a hot spot now.  I’m sure it’s bad in a lot of places by now, but the lack of testing is making it hard to determine the reality of the situation.

Tora-con in Rochester, New York, which was scheduled for March 21st-22nd and UBcon in Buffalo, New York, which was supposed to happen April 24th-26th, have both been canceled. Albany Comics & Toy Show scheduled for March 29th has been postponed.  We also have Arirondacon, a tabletop gaming convention in Glen Falls, New York, getting canceled. 

The Tribeca Film Festival, scheduled for April 15th-26th in New York City, has been postponed, which is a fairly huge deal.  This announcement came out yesterday, but there was so much news yesterday we kind of missed it.  As soon as all that theme park news started breaking, my attention drifted to that instead, so sorry about the late reporting here!

Down in New Jersey, Monster-mania, which was scheduled to start today in Cherry Hill, has also been postponed.  They will put on their show in August.  Hopefully, we have our crap together by then and it doesn’t get postponed twice, though I’m getting nervous as heck about the summer season.

Also in New Jersey, Dark Side of the Con in Parsippany-Troy Hills scheduled for March 27th-29th, and the New Jersey Horror Con in Atlantic City, have both been postponed. 

At this point, let’s start looking at cancelations and postponements by region in North America.  There is an absolutely absurd amount of cons, so I won’t be going as into detail as I usually do.  But at this point, that’s almost impossible.  Buckle up and let’s dive into the northeast first.

Northeast Comic Con, scheduled to begin today in Boxborough, Massachusetts, is also being canceled.  It seems they’ve been forced to do so by the Board of Health, even though they were trying their best as recently as Wednesday to keep the show going.  

Other conventions in the northeast that have had sudden cancellations or postponements include GalactiCon scheduled for March 14th in Middletown, Delaware, Annapolis Comic Con, also scheduled for March 14th over in Annapolis, Maryland, ConnCon in Stamford, Connecticut scheduled for March 20th-22nd, and CT Gamer Con scheduled for March 21-22, 2020 in Uncasville, Connecticut.  Conbust on March 27th-29th in Northampton, Massachusetts has also been canceled. 

You tired yet? I am.  But I’m not done yet.  Let’s move over to a different region of the United States.  The Midwest!

Fatasticon in Toledo, Ohio, scheduled for March 14th and 15th has been canceled. 

And so has Brickworld in Indianapolis, Indiana, Zenkaikon in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, Evillecon in Evansville, Indiana, Cleveland ConCoction, all scheduled for the same weekend of March 20th-22nd.  Animarathon, scheduled for March 28th-29th in Bowling Green, Ohio has also been canceled. 

And then we have California, where all events over 500 people have been banned for a while, as you may recall from the theme park shut down posts from yesterday.  This has forced many conventions to shut very suddenly, so again, I’m not going to get super detailed but just list them.

The weekend of March 20th-22nd has a ton of California cancellation including San Diego Rocket Con, Ani-Me Con in Fresno, Clockwork Alchemy, and Arcade Expo in Banning.  The Southern California Retro Gaming Expo scheduled for March 27th-29th has also been postponed. 

Up in Oregon, we have a few cancellations with GameStorm scheduled for March 26th-29th in Portland and Border Town Comic Con in Ontario both getting the ax.  Then up in Washington, which has been the most impacted state thus far (though New York is rapidly catching up), we have Norwescon scheduled for April 9th-12th in Seattle closing down.

Moving on down south!  Because this absurd list of canceled and postponed cons isn’t done yet!

Louisiana Comic Con, scheduled for March 14th and 15th in Lafayette has been canceled.  Atlanta Sci-Fi and Fantasy Expo, also scheduled for this weekend in Decatur, Georgia, has been postponed.  IconicCon in Suffolk, Virginia, scheduled for March 28th, has also been postponed.  

Then we have Lexington Comic & Toy Convention has been postponed to May 14th-17th, but I’m not so sure that’s going to actually happen either.  It’s an optimistic reschedule date, but it feels too soon considering conventions out in June have been canceled already.

And then we have Florida, which has already been slammed with theme park closures, and now we have some announcements from a few of their own conventions through the end of March.  The Orlando Book Fair, scheduled for March 26th, Miami Comic Con scheduled for March 14th, and SwampCon scheduled for March 14th-15th in Gainesville, are all canceled. 

Canada has also joined the ‘Cancelled Con party.’  Affected cons include Costume-Con scheduled for March 13th-16th in Montreal, Kelowna Fan Experience scheduled for March 20th-22nd, Capital City Comic Con scheduled for March 20th-22nd in Victoria, Nadeshicon scheduled for April 3-5th in Quebec, and Toronto Comiccon scheduled for March 20th-22nd, have all been impacted. 

Did I miss a convention? I can almost guarantee you that I have.  Today’s update has been an almost impossible task, as you can tell by my shift from detailed breakdowns and commentary to almost a pure list of names, locations, and dates.

I will be updating our Coronavirus Convention and Theme Park Impacts page as soon as I can, but as you can see from today’s update, that’s going to be a while before that’s complete. You can expect that outline to be out of date for a few hours at least, but we are definitely going to update it with every single convention mentioned here, as well as any cons you bring to our attention. 

Stay safe. Wash your hands. Stay home if you’re sick even if it sucks.

Author: Angel Wilson

Angel is the admin of The Geekiary and a geek culture commentator. They earned a BA in Film & Digital Media from UC Santa Cruz. They have contributed to various podcasts and webcasts including An Englishman in San Diego, Free to Be Radio, and Genre TV for All. They identify as queer.

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