It is with a heavy heart and much sadness that I must announce that the Maltese Fur-Con 2015 is being canceled this year. Due to financial constraints and extremely low pre-registration numbers, we are unable to support the operating costs of this convention.
By this time last year, we had over 120 pre-registered individuals. However, despite spending twice as much on marketing this year, the number of pre-registered attendees at this point is less than 10% of the total number of last year’s total attendees. (At just over 200 visitors to the convention last year, you can work out just how many people that is.) We have been working over the last month to see if there was any way for us to run this event, even in a limited capacity, or even at another venue, in order to drive down costs, but the reality of the situation is that it’s just not possible.
I will be personally issuing refunds over the next 90 days to anyone who has pre-registered for our marketplace or to be an attendee to the convention, with priority given to our dealers first, then to attendees who are sponsor-level and higher, and then to general admission attendees. As these refunds will be coming out of my own pocket, we ask that you be patient during this process. It is not my personal intention, nor the intention of the Maltese Fur-Con, Rourkeshire Entertainment Coordination, or any of its affiliates to keep your payments, and will do everything we can to issue refunds as soon as possible. (We expect to have everyone paid back before this 90 day period, but also want to set realistic expectations.)
Please do not send a refund request or claim through PayPal. This will actually delay the process, and will prevent the Maltese Fur-Con from being able to refund you properly. We understand that you have a right to your payments, but if there is an outstanding claim, we cannot issue a refund due to the claims process until the claim is processed, which will hold up the convention from making any payments to you.
As always, I am available to be contacted by email for any questions or concerns about this process at Rourkie@maltesefurcon.com but ask you please read the Question and Answer section below before sending an email. (We will be keeping our twitter feed open, but you may not receive an immediate response from that venue.)
While I would have liked to close this letter at this point, I do want to address an important issue that has come to our attention along this bumpy and winding road. It is particularly distressing that a major reason why our pre-registration was so low this year is that there is a local organization associated with the furry fandom (whom we actually tried to reach out for cross-promotion and embrace as allies) which has been working since our conception to drive our convention into the ground because they saw us as “competition.” Most of the people we have spoken to directly about our convention have told us flat out that they would not be attending simply because this organization told them that our event “sucked, and wasn’t worth the time and money.” They’d never seen our website, didn’t know or speak to anyone who attended last year, simply that this other group had told them not to come.
I am saddened and infuriated by this fact because the fandom is supposed to be a community which supports and encourages togetherness, yet this organization has gone out of their way to prevent our convention from occurring. What’s worse, is they have started doing the same thing to other local conventions; actively encouraging others not to attend any other event but theirs. We built our event to provide the Boston-area and New England with a way to come together and celebrate the anthropomorphic community together. This organization has worked from the start with an attitude of “being the best” (and eventually the only) local event New England has to offer, a mindset that goes directly against what this fandom should be about.
I have heard a couple of conventions are starting up this year in the area, and ask that no matter what you hear about them, to at least give them consideration. It takes a lot of time, effort, and money to run an event, and in a world where furries are still considered social outcasts, we should be doing everything we can to help one another instead of fighting.
We should be working together to build up this fandom, not aiming to break it apart.
Daniel “Rourkie” O’Rourke
Maltese Fur-Con Chair
Questions and Answers:
(This section will be updated as more questions are addressed.)
You took my money, and now there’s no convention! What the heck?
It was never our intention to cancel this event. After a very successful first year, we were looking forward to many more years of Maltese Fur-Con. Unfortunately, this year, it just didn’t work out. We were counting on this year to be a milestone year, and instead it fell flat.
When can I expect my refund?
Refunds will be issued over the next 90 days, with priority given to our dealers first, then to attendees who are sponsor-level and higher, and then to general admission attendees. We ask that you be patient during this process, as we will issue them as quickly as possible.
The event didn’t run, why can’t you pay me now? Why are the refunds being paid out of pocket?
We’d like to issue refunds to everyone immediately, but there is more to an event than just the venue cost. What little revenue we generated went into marketing, promotional materials, and helping to pay last year’s remaining debts. We will issue refunds as quickly as we can, within reason.
Is the Maltese Fur-Con completely over? Are you coming back at all?
Eventually, we might put on another event. We have at plots planned for at least 3 more events, which would have tied in together and tied back to the first event we ran. Maybe someday we’ll put on another event, but for now, we have no concrete plans.
What’s to stop this all from happening again? Don’t get our hopes up for another event.
It was never our intention to “get people’s hopes up” and then not deliver an event. There was a lot of discussion that occurred before the decision was made to cancel the event, and even then, only after we’d considered options to scale it down or change the venue. We were counting on a much higher response from previous attendees to pre-register for this year. If we run another event, we will have more funding secured ahead of time from outside sources, but even still, there was no way we could have predicted such a low turnout after last year’s successful start.
I’m looking for pictures from last year’s convention. Where are they?
You can access the photo gallery for last year’s event here.
What about the T-Shirts you promised? I never got mine from last year!
About half of the T-Shirts were delivered thus far. We intended revenue from pre-registration to be used to send the rest out, which clearly never happened. Once refunds have been issued, we will be sending out the rest of the t-shirts. As mentioned before, any and all costs at this point are coming directly out of pocket, so you will receive them, but not until all other refunds are issued.