Our hopes for Gaelcon 33 changed as the news changed from week to week, but we have decided that we must have an online event. Various things influenced our decision:
- The news about the pandemic and the vaccination rollout changes from week to week
- We don’t know when we might have certainty about the numbers possible in the venue – we can’t predict when we might actually have solid information on which to base a plan for a physical convention.
- Our intended venue is now part of the hotel quarantine system, and no one can predict when that might end. There is a plan for the civil service to have a team managing the process for 12 months, so that doesn’t bode well for us.
- Given the rising cost of venues and the uncertainty about the pandemic and its aftermath, there is a significant financial risk if our numbers were to be limited – in fact, this cost is going to be an issue in the future, venue costs are the bulk of the cost of running Gaelcon, and and if they continue to spiral as they have, we may have to bump up the weekend price in future years
- A hybrid event is technically possible, but in practice complex, and we weren’t willing to gamble the success of the convention and the enjoyment or accessibility of it trying to make major event of the year on making hybrid work successfully. That said, hybrid is the next challenge to overcome, and we might run some smaller, experimental hybrid events when we have enough people with the skills and time, without detracting effort from Gaelcon.
- Several other events in the Fall have already opted to go online; the broad consensus seems to be that in-person events won’t be possible before December.
We have two main threads of ideas for themes, and we need to pick one soon, but I’m open to suggestions. Two strands were suggested: Resurrection/Rebirth/Renewal/Renaissance and Gaelcon with some sort of digital/online theme like Gaelcon-nected? Gaelcon Matrix, or Gaelcon Infinite. The VIP ticket holders lead on this choice, but your opinions and ideas are welcome.
I have some people already “volunteered” for the committee, and I will be approaching some other folks, but I am open to offers of help with preparing the con, whether on the committee, as writers or simply as staff. I have a form here for folks who’d like to get in the loop early, whether you want to help out form now, or just put a name down for helping on the weekend
In other news, the formal company registration to register the IGA as a Company Limited By Guarantee has been filed and accepted. Obviously, something which would in normal times have taken an hour in an office was stretched out over some time, and we have a few things to do yet like new bank accounts, but we will be able to have a genuinely open body with a wider membership. This wider membership means that we can move forward with more events and a broader range of things happening than we’ve been able to do in the past with our limited committee.
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