Before I began producing the odd little event, I thought it was all pretty much like wedding planning. It is, but give me a wedding any day: the church isn’t likely to back out at the last minute and if any guests don’t appear, that’s one less family row to worry about.
I have found it profoundly satisfying to sit in an audience knowing that this thing around me is happening because of me. Other people are hosting it, my work is entirely done – until afterwards, anyway, when you start settling up the bills – I can just enjoy it like everybody else.
But I can’t imagine the difficulties of organising the a weekend-long event with very many star guests and a hoped-for 3,500 attendees. The makers of Dashcon 2014, a convention devoted to but not in any way endorsed by Tumblr, don’t seem to have imagined the difficulties either.
It only took a few hours for DashCon 2014 to degenerate into the most catastrophic fan convention in recent memory.
Over the course of one weekend, the organizers took $17,000 from conventiongoers as part of an emergency fundraising drive, failed to pay any of their high-profile guests, and attempted to compensate disappointed ticket-holders by offering them an “extra” hour in a children’s ball pit. The ball pit only fit around six people. There was apparently not a very long queue.