I remember as this was going down having a flood of messages about it. It was clearly just a pure case of unqualified organizers imo, with no conspiracy beyond that. By the end of the ordeal I almost felt bad for them, but it was pretty amusing.
It's a story that's very common - a bunch of fans decide The Man (i.e. people who run successful cons with lots of people) are keeping them down by not giving every single guest that they want now now now, and that running a con is as simple as booking a few names and the money rains in. People think you can just start a convention with 4000+ attendees in year one, and with very rare exceptions it doesn't happen; PAX springs to mind, but they had a dedicated fanbase for years, as does Anime Boston, which got 4k people in their first year by being a major urban area several years behind the trend of other cities having one.
I can think of four cons right off the top of my head in my local area that were started out of spite by inexperienced people promising the world in guests, and the only reason they didn't fail as visibly as DC was because
1) They didn't attract any high-profile guests in the end
2) They garnered mostly local attention but still failed hard
3) They predated super-easy access to and a strong online focus on conventions
Dashcon survived the weekend - I've seen a con go bankrupt on Saturday night.
Also, this guy clearly has an axe to grind, so I'd be suspicious of his numbers, "sources" and estimates. I think they were your garden variety kids who want to start a con and think it's easy and it's just those old meanie-heads who won't let them have their fun.
Not to say they didn't spend lavishly on themselves prior to the con, but I'm sure all along they believed the big money was coming.
It would have gone over much better if it was called Applecon.
For fun and because I'm bored at work, here's a list of reasons I know that drove people to start their own con:
- A guy who was angry he didn't win an award in the costume contest; his proposed con had a grand prize that was tailored to his justification why he should have won
- A vendor who tried to buy all the dealer space at a con under different names and started his own con (that ran a week before) in revenge when they banned him
- Someone who wanted the costume contest to have longer stage times and microphones, and couldn't understand why they wouldn't get them (because giving 14-year olds an open mic and ten minutes on stage is fucking stupid)
- Someone who was booted from another con for not being allowed to bring his weapons as part of his costume
- A band who also staffed a con who were miffed their shitty garage band weren't supplied with pro level equipment for their concert and the con wouldn't front the high five-figures needed for Japanese bands they liked.
- A guy who had his "cosplay guest" status revoked at another small con because it turned out all his "qualifications" were fraudulent, so he ran a con against it
And that doesn't even cover people who've never staffed who just want everything and think we're not supplying it because we're busy partying in the back on beds of money with the guests.
And this doesn't even cover the cases of corporate dickery, just individual dickery.
cena: I think try tried to call it tumblrcon first but tumblr wisely put a kibosh on that really quickly.
Starting a con to get revenge is like voting for revenge, it really doesn't work out.
MacGyver Style Bomb
I've had plenty of convention experience to not be surprised by any of that.
What's really fun is when the webmaster goes rogue and and turns the con's page into a smear blog.
"A band who also staffed a con who were miffed their shitty garage band weren't supplied with pro level equipment for their concert and the con wouldn't front the high five-figures needed for Japanese bands they liked."
This is a legitimate complaint, if you are putting on an event that charges money and has music it is your responsibility to provide at minimum a PA system appropriate for the size of the venue. If you can't handle something as simple as that you shouldn't be booking bands.
Even free basement shows usually provide a house PA.
I'll clarify that one:
All of the live stage venues have full lighting and sound plus techs baked into the room (capacity of about 800 people at the time), provided by the AV company. This was a "band" made of staff members wanting to be not only provided with PA (reasonable but already there) but sound gear beyond what the venue normally had plus instruments as well, despite not even having so much as a demo to back up what their performance would be.
In short, they were a bunch of people with dreams of being famous and hoping that the event would give them all the trappings and top billing despite not having done any actual music.
Sadly this isn't an uncommon thing - I've lost count of the number of times we've had to field "I'm totally new at DJing/singing/dancing/comedy but in the spirit of doing something different I think you should have me headline your Saturday night event!" emails. We generally offer them a smaller event to perform at and half the time the refuse or flake out of performing, or in the one case I remember seeing the result their "Idol group spectacular show" because a single dance number and were never heard from again. Again the magic of people not realizing you need to build something organically instead of expecting instant success.
Oh, and for the Japanese bands there was neither the money nor the profile to book a A-list band, especially when this particular explosion took place (early 2000s); they were looking to land "they're my favorite; you've probably never heard of them" bands which frankly offered zero value added for any money, let alone the tens of thousands of dollars to get them over here.
My favorite convention nightmare story is Las Pegasus Unicon, the MLP convention which may or may not have been an Ocean's 11-tier scam designed to rob hundreds of nerds in a casino.
You know that Simpsons gag in the Itchy and Scratchy Land episode where Homer buys $1100 worth of "Itchy and Scratchy money" only to find out none of the park vendors accept it? That happened, only backwards. Convention vendors were required to accept pony-themed play money which con guests had to buy from the con organizers. No one wanted to use it but it was the only way to purchase anything. The con organizers promised that when the con was over, vendors and guests could exchange their pile of worthless "unicorn bits" for real cash..but then the con organizers mysteriously vanished the night before the con ended, leaving everyone screwed. Friendship is magic!
|Caminante Nocturno |
That ball pit, that cheap inflatable pool sitting in an empty convention hall, is like a piece of installation art depicting broken dreams and unfulfilled expectations.
I'd just like to say that I favorited this before I'd watched it all and didn't realize the guy who made this is a big a turd as the subjects of the video, if not moreso.
Of course it failed. None of the porn showed up.
To comment on the argument that Dashcon was just mismanaged, it may be true that *during* the con might have been the case, but the behavior of the organizers afterwards to were basically openly taunting their critics and essentially insulting the people who paid money into it etc. definitely confirms that if it wasn't a scam initially, they certainly transformed it into at least a type of scam.
I will never grow tired of hearing and reading the story of Dashcon again and again. Sometimes when I'm bored I look up the Dashcon ED page and reread it. I can't do it without laughing. The more I think about what a monumental failure it was the more it amazes me it ever even reached the point of being an actual convention.
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