I know, you’re thinking “What does that have to do with Westercon?”
We’ve had a lot of recent Westercons that have been, as it were, picked fresh from the tree.
We have green Westercons that haven’t engaged in the retail politics of bidding. Getting out there, sitting fan tables, throwing parties, engaging the site selection electorate, building support with online fan communities, driving site selection participation. This takes time, money and a lot of work. But it’s work that has to be done.
We have ripe Westercons, seated committees, that haven’t differentiated Westercon from their local conventions. They haven’t built a program that showcases the richness of both the local F&SF community and the regional diversity of western F&SF. They haven’t promoted regionally, showing fans why it’s worth traveling to the convention. They haven’t shown local con-goers why it’s worth registering for and coming to another convention, one that’s not the convention they go to every year. They haven’t reached out to local fans who don’t already know about conventions.
That’s the double-whammy. What if you threw a Westercon and nobody came?
Programming and pros bring new fans to the convention, and it’s the fans that make the convention.
If we don’t have the costumers, the filkers, the party hosts, the fanzinistas, the engaged fans attending panels and events, it doesn’t matter how good the scheduled on-site events are. Masquerades with no entries stink. Filk circles that are filk triangles just aren’t fun. Night life that only consists of spending time in the bar gets tired and expensive. Panels with more people at the table than in the audience are sad. It’s going to be a dull, bitter Westercon, and the fanwriters aren’t going to have fun until it comes time to savage it in their next ‘zines.
All we have left then is the summer SMOFcon, and while it’s fun to spend time with the folks who are too busy working at other conventions, that’s not enough of a reason for Westercon to continue.
Let’s be honest here. The Granzella’s Inn in Olive Country bid is not going to file with the business meeting. We do not have a hotel contract. Our location is an hour from the nearest airport in Sacramento. But we still think we’re the #1 bid for Westercon 2013.
So ask yourself:
Who do you vote for?
Do you vote for a bid that stirs up excitement? Do you vote for a bid that engages the fans? Do you vote for a bid that questions what Westercon really is, what Westercon should be? Do you vote for an ineligible bid and perhaps make the Westercon business meeting take action?
Or do you vote a bid picked fresh from the tree #1 on your ballot?