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May. 9th, 2011 @ 05:52 pm ZONIECON CANCELLED
About this Entry
Telling it like it is
roycalbeck:
To those who have been interested in attending ZonieCon, I'm afraid I must announce that we are cancelling the event for general lack of interest.


PROMOTION PROBLEMS
In large part, this is simply because we have done very little, as a convention, to promote ourselves. And that, in large part, is because I personally do not have the resources as one of the millions of long-term unemployed in this country, to pay for significant advertising out of pocket. Frankly, most of what I've been able to spend has been limited to flyers, plus gas money distributing those around the Phoenix Metro area.

Nor have the flyers been moving in any significant numbers. At Further Confusion earlier this year, I brought 500 flyers to distribute across the numerous areas where they were allowed, but despite an attendance of some 2500 furries, less than 100 flyers moved. Many of those were handed out at a dealers' room table by GoH Mitch Beiro and convention staffer Ted Sheppard.

Locally, there has even been active hostility against the idea of having an Arizona furry convention from other Arizona-based furries. In furry-frequented places where our flyers have been provided, they have subsequently been trashed, and artwork has been posted indicating hostility towards myself (in one prominent instance, dismemberment). I have no idea if this is just a few people or many, since no one has actually communicated any problems to me, but since the flyers are all I can personally do, it's effectively hamstrung my efforts at getting word out.


LACK OF WEBSITE
Flyers, however, were not planned to be our big advertising venue. We were supposed to have an active website up by the end of February, and with this I was planning to network banners with other conventions and popular furry websites. I had said that, if we could not find someone to do the job, I would do it myself, but that my HTML skills are stuck in 1995. In response to this, I was told by one of our core convention staff that they had a qualified volunteer for the website, and I breathed a sigh of relief.


LACK OF COMMUNICATION
As March rolled past without any sign of such a website or even any confirmation of who exactly was supposedly working on it, I began asking for updates on this and other progress issues from certain of our convention staff --- such as contact information for the volunteers our staff had rounded up. Weeks would pass, and then I would get a "I've been busy" notice, no response to my previous progress queries, and then silence again. Phone calls would go to voicemail and I would never get a callback. IMs went ignored.

I have to admit I was concerned from the outset this might happen: I'm unemployed and in Phoenix, whereas the rest of the convention staff are in Tucson. I do not have the money for gas, or even a Greyhound ticket, just for purposes of finding out what I should be able to learn from a two-paragraph IM or email. And in the past, communications with the same convention staff have been difficult even when I lived in the Tucson area because all of them are used to face-to-face meetings and otherwise easily distracted by the needs of day-to-day life.


LACK OF ATTENDEES
Because we have no website and have not moved any significant number of fliers, we currently have exactly two pre-registrations (money orders which will be refunded within the week), and NO hotel room block reservations. Unless things were to dramatically turn around in the next month or so, this convention was nothing but a nose-dive into many of the same problems ZonieCon has always had in the past. And I saw no such indication in the offing.


I therefore contacted our beneficiary, Eric Bitton, to let him know how things stood, and recommended we pull the plug. After mulling the possible options over, Eric agreed. There is simply no reason to rent a hotel at the cost of thousands of dollars for a convention that could just as easily be held at a Denny's.

Given that all of this happened because I once said I would run ZonieCon again given the time and money, I am now retracting that statement. I do not see a future for an Arizona convention which does not have a stronger and more active commitment towards building attendance, or which has a chairman, like myself, unable to provide for its needs.

I would like, nonetheless, to thank everyone who has invested what time and effort they were able. But ZonieCon is simply not to be.
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From:xianjaguar
Date:May 9th, 2011 10:05 pm (UTC)
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Aw, that sucks. I was hoping it'd work out.

As someone who is stuck "near" Arizona (still over 500 miles away from the Tucson/Phoenix area tho), I had a feeling the Con would tank, due to lack of furries in the general area. If you were to draw a 500 mile radius around the Tucson/Phoenix general area, there are relatively very few furries that live within the radius (as opposed to many other areas with successful Cons). With so few furries available to staff the Con, it'd be near-impossible to run, as you've found out.

But, it was really generous and noble of you to try...Thank you.
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From:roycalbeck
Date:May 10th, 2011 12:14 pm (UTC)
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Actually, we had a fair number of volunteers. But they were all organized through furries local to Tucson, and those simply did not communicate well. One of those has since announced that they will be running their own local-to-Tucson furrycon for 2012.

I wish him well.
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From:profhauke
Date:May 10th, 2011 05:42 am (UTC)
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That's definitely a shame...I was going to try hard to be there.

Do you have any more information about the hostile response?

And I didn't know you lived in Phoenix now...
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From:roycalbeck
Date:May 10th, 2011 12:19 pm (UTC)
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Well, when I went around to remove ZonieCon flyers from places that still had them, one place --- which had declared an interest in sponsoring the convention, but subsequently waffled --- had a person manning the front desk who actually stifled a not-well-hidden smile when I told him I was removing the flyers because ZonieCon was cancelled.

One of the actual managers was there, so I began telling him as well, since I didn't want anyone from the store ending up driving down to Tucson by mistake because they didn't get the word. Front-Desk Guy immediately interceded, claiming all of that was handled by someone who wasn't in and that they'd personally relay the info. The manager looked confused, as if he'd heard nothing about any of this.

So I'm figuring that Front-Desk Guy was the person with enough of a burr up their tail to actively sabotage a convention. Why, I don't know, and it's not worth finding out about.
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From:roycalbeck
Date:May 10th, 2011 12:22 pm (UTC)
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Oh, and I've been in the Phoenix area for most of the last decade now. -:)
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From:obonic
Date:May 11th, 2011 07:35 am (UTC)
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THat sucks. there was quite a few of us that wanted to go.
It is hard to get it going with out some better planing. ung. Sorry to hear that. maybe we can try again another time.
From:ridict
Date:May 26th, 2011 12:59 am (UTC)

Dam

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I was really hoping to get and try this out for once, due to my excessive shyness and not having any knowledge of the local meets other then where they hold them, that this would take a load of my mind and actually get to talk, in person to person with other furs. But there will be other chances to come! Sorry to hear it somewhat sabotaged!
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From:obonic
Date:June 2nd, 2011 01:33 am (UTC)

Re: Dam

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are there any meets in Tuscon? I know there are in phoenix.
From:ridict
Date:June 3rd, 2011 02:37 am (UTC)

Re: Dam

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yes there are
Furizona.org
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From:lionmage
Date:July 5th, 2011 10:49 pm (UTC)

Meets in Phoenix?

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I've been far enough out of the local scene that I no longer know of any local furry events in Phoenix. Care to share, or at least point to a resource where I and others can get more info?
From:pocyfox
Date:May 30th, 2011 08:25 am (UTC)

does it have to be the end ? what about changing the scope?

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Hello everyone, I am a Tucson Fur, I just this weekend (at Phoenix Comicon) heard from another Tucson based furry that Zoniecon was being brought back. So when i got home and looked it up on the web i just now found you. Its too bad that looks like its a non starter.

However, Maybe for this year we can re-gear this to a something smaller scale like a furmeet. Something that we can do low key, something like a bowling party or something that would not require a huge cash outlay or anything.

We could also potenitaly use this as a launching off point to continue to build interest in bringing back zoniecon...

I would be able and willing to volunteer some time and effort to making this work over the long haul. For example i would be willing to print and distribute fliers at Anthrocon promoting the idea of trying to resurrect Zoniecon at some future date.

I could potentially also help with other things i could definatly chip in on the website etc...
So perhaps zoniecon 2011 is dead but 2011 could possibly be just the first step in rebuilding ?

What do you think?
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From:secret_wolf_fur
Date:June 2nd, 2011 12:49 am (UTC)

Re: does it have to be the end ? what about changing the scope?

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I am of the opinion that the problems may stem from inadequate communication of those planning to go but currently unable to preregister to indicate interest to those planning the event and the fact the groups are fractured so much in AZ as far as i know currently there is azfurs.com then a group on live journal, Second Life, FA, artspots, and at least one google group maybe even more some groups share members but we need to consolidate so everyone is on the same page! yes i know there would be some drama lamas :) but at least there would be common communication
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From:lionmage
Date:July 5th, 2011 10:46 pm (UTC)

Re: does it have to be the end ? what about changing the scope?

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I second that motion (i.e., consolidation of groups to facilitate communication).
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From:lasharra
Date:July 4th, 2011 10:37 pm (UTC)

No rooms reserved?

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I'd like to go on record that yes, there was in fact a room reserved. Maybe they did not document it correctly, but we reserved one with a hot tub. :/ Kinda sucks to not only be missing out on a con we were looking forward to, but an awesome room that we now have to cancel.
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From:secret_wolf_fur
Date:August 9th, 2011 01:51 am (UTC)

Re: No rooms reserved?

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your not the only one i know of whom had a room reserved
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From:jeff_ringtail
Date:July 7th, 2011 12:03 am (UTC)
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Aww! CRUD! I had put a few days vacation off on that date to go to the con!
Since I lived in Tucson, it would be a better option, since it's hard for me to go to cons that are either in California or the East Coast! =(