I love conventions. I’ve gone to them most of my life. I used to love going to San Diego Comicon before it got so horrendously overcrowded and when they brought Wondercon to town, I immediately switched to that convention because it’s a great venue, not as crowded and apparently, they do really, really well in Orange County. It’s been a win-win for everyone.
Now, I’m not so sure.
They’ve talked about moving the convention back up to San Francisco, but it’s so successful here, the rumor has been that they’ll split it into a Wondercon North and a Wondercon South, which seems to be the best of all worlds, even though it’ll be twice as much work. That said though, we’ve been waiting since last year to find out what they’re going to do. Months passed and while there was a ton of chatter from the convention-going fandom, Wondercon itself was tight-lipped about what was actually going to happen. Finally, and I heard about it in mid-November, they announced that once again, they were having the con in Anaheim over Easter weekend. Great! Or is it?
So far, although they have established dates and have been letting vendors sign up as “interested in attending”, they haven’t actually put tickets on sale. This is for a convention that happens in less than 3 months. I got an e-mail today from Comicon that professional registration is open. I get to go to these things for free because I occasionally do work in the industry, but honestly, I’m getting nervous. It shouldn’t take this long!
Major conventions like Wondercon need to make decisions early because people need to be able to structure their lives around them. People need to ask for vacation time well in advance of these conventions. Once, decades ago, conventions could pop up with a couple weeks notice and people would scramble to get to them. Today, it’s big money and people need significant lead time. This does not bode well for the stability of this year’s Wondercon, I’m afraid. While it has been very successful the past two years, this isn’t filling me with a lot of confidence.
So what’s going on, Wondercon? They haven’t released any statements, official or not. Comicon is on schedule, getting the professionals registered a good six months before the convention, moving to regular registration in late February or early March and the complete sellout of every hotel in the city in 5 minutes after official hotel registration starts in early April. Why is Wondercon so slow on the uptake? They weren’t last year. What’s going on?