Yesterday exhibitors, guests and panelists found out Universal FanCon had been postponed a week out from its scheduled April 27-29 dates at the Baltimore Convention Center. Late Friday evening, the organizers of Universal FanCon released an official statement about why the convention had been postponed.
The TL:DR of the statement appeared to be caveat emptor, let the buyer beware. The official statement reads as an attempt to indemnify themselves against claims of legal or monetary responsibility. It did little to address the needs and frustration of fans, creators and artists who had purchased non-refundable tickets to attend the convention. Few felt comforted by the promise that tickets would be honored at some time in the future.
Many exhibitors and creators are out not only the fees they paid to table at Universal FanCon but the potential profit and ability to recover the cost of tabling and travel through sales of their work. There’s the added complexity of trying to recoup money for travel and lodging a week out from a planned trip. Generally speaking, cancellation policies are at the discretion of each hotel and airline and sadly. Few hotels or airlines will offer full refunds this close to a planned trip. This has placed many guests, attendees, creators and artists in a precarious financial position. Thankfully, there’s been an outpouring of people looking to help out creators recuperate some of their financial loses. We’ve listed some ways you can help and will update this post with additional information as we become aware of it.
— Kamikaze (@KamikazeComic) April 20, 2018
2. Learn About the Creators
There are so many examples of those on social media who have been using their status and followers for good. Below are some examples of people who are working to retweet and boost the work of creators and vendors. You can also find creators by doing a Twitter search, there’ll be some extraneous Tweets but many creators are using the hashtag #UniversalFanCon to link their work or other ways you can help support them.
I am 100% not involved with or affiliated with #UniversalFanCon, but since I know what it means to have such a late cancellation for vendors & performers, if you tweet me your store, patreon etc links I will boost them. Add in pics, show off your work & hopefully make some money
— Mikki Kendall (@Karnythia) April 20, 2018
If you were a vendor, guest, or panelist who was going to attend #UniversalFanCon and want to get some promotion, please either Tweet at us or contact us through our site. Happy to promote you all. #FanCon
— Graphic Policy (@graphicpolicy) April 20, 2018
If you see someone who had a table at #UniversalFanCon/#FanCon tweeting with those hashtags this weekend, maybe throw a few bucks in their Ko-fi/Paypal or check out their online store. I guarantee they're out of pocket right now and could use a boost.
— Iron Spike (@Iron_Spike) April 20, 2018
— Blair Imani (@BlairImani) April 20, 2018
— BARNES & NOBLE SIGNING TODAY!!! (@MizTeeFranklin) April 20, 2018
Yesterday was a disappointing day for many in our unique fandom. It is our hope that @UniversalFanCon will have a future should its fans want it to. But in the present we hope the below letter, and offer in it, can help ease the pain of this unfortunate situation. #GetURGeekOn! pic.twitter.com/5YeCsTVozS
— Philly Comic Con! (@PHLCC) April 21, 2018
The postponement of #UniversalFanCon so close to the actual dates of the convention is painful to hear about.
We’d also love to give anyone who was going to exhibit/table/sit on panels some attention in the next few weeks. @ us! https://t.co/HAkSvsjzUV
— NERDOPHILES (@nerdophiles) April 20, 2018
3. Link to Resources, Share Your Knowledge
The best thing about the mission of Universal FanCon was its goal of inclusion and support of every geek and nerd out there. It’s why so many rallied behind the convention. Now that it is cancelled, we still get to witness the incredible support and kindness of our community. We’re all rallying together to find ways of supporting each other in any way we can. This means sharing our knowledge and helping others who are still traveling to Baltimore come up with a list of activities to do while in town.
— Alicia // Yori (@AnAmazingFeat) April 21, 2018
ATTENTION: if you are an artist or exhibitor who had planned to attend #FanCon & unable to rearrange your travel arrangements, please contact us. We are working feverishly with our friends at @BHMatter to secure a venue for a pop-up next weekend. Our DMs are open.
— The Nerds of Color (@TheNerdsofColor) April 20, 2018
— T'Cherra (@WildYoungCharm) April 21, 2018
Hey, if you were planning to go to #UniversalFanCon and you bought your plane tickets etc with a credit card, it's likely it came with built-in travel insurance. You may be able to recoup some costs through your CC provider.
— Annalee Flower (@leeflower) April 21, 2018
The situation is unfortunate, there’s no way around that. Thankfully, we have the ability to help. We can spend time raising awareness and making purchases to support the talent of the many creators, performers and artists who had planned to attend Universal FanCon. This community is vastly talented and I for one will be spending my weekend learning more about these creators and making purchases. Consider financially supporting a creator this weekend and if that’s not feasible for you, just take some time to learn more about the folks who planed to share their knowledge and love of fandom with us next week.
UPDATE: The organization Black Heroes Matter has rallied with several other organizers to finalize the location of their pop-up convention. Details can be found below.
We've secured a massive space for an all day PopUpCon – Saturday 4/28! Location is the Wicomico Building – about a mile from the ConventionCenter. We've dubbed it #WICOMICON & are opening our doors to any vendors negatively affected by the FanCon fiasco. It's on! Spread the word! pic.twitter.com/Zc8iLAfhUh
— Black Heroes Matter® (@BHMatter) April 21, 2018
Andrea Ayres writes about comics, video games, and representation in pop-culture.